Fordecades, the mechanisms through which human beings absorbinformation, store it, and relate the ensuing behaviors associated tothis storedinformation have been one of the most explored scopes of experimentalpsychology. Although the mechanisms are still not quitecomprehensible, many scientists and scholars have endeavored toelucidate on the exact mechanisms through which human beings learneverything from speech to emotional responses. Consequently, thethousands of scientists that have ever tried to explain themechanisms of human learning have been grouped into categories,contingent on the classification of their theoretical concepts. Thispaper explains why psychologists are in the samecategory of associationistic theorists, on the basis of their systemsthat recognize cue and response association as the fundamental unitof human learning. What’s more, this paper will also discuss theconceptual differences in the systems advanced by both psychologists.
Itis not surprising that psychologists Ivan Pavlov Pertrovich and EdwinRay Guthrie were grouped into the same category of associationistictheorists. These distinguished psychologists are in the same categorybecause their systems of explaining how human beings learn encompassa process of association. In other words, the learning theories ofboth propose a stimuli-response association.Therefore, they are in the same group because they put forth learningsystems that have a similar core belief in conditioned response.
Toexplain the similarities in both learning systems, it will be helpfulto understand the elementary building blocks of each psychologist’stheory of learning. Pavlov is known for his conditional experiment heconducted on a hungry dog using meat. The dog’s production ofsaliva was considered an unconditioned reflex, with the meat actingas the unconditioned stimulus. He then added another stimulus, abell, which he combined when he was presenting the food. Aftersometime, he noticed that if the time relationship was timelyrepeated, the sound of the bell made the dog salivate even in theabsence of meat. The sound of the bell became the conditionedstimulus, and the dog’s new response was referred to as theconditioned reflex. Pavlov then proposed that this new link hereferred to as the conditionedreflexis the fundamental unit of learning. In simple terms, Pavlov’stheory proposes that if two stimuli are linked together, they producea new learned response in an animal or person (Pavlovianconditioning).
Guthrie’sbasic principle of learning can be explained by his contiguity theoryof learning, where he describes the contiguity of cue and responsefrom which everything concerning learning becomes understandable.Basically, Guthrie states his law of learning as a combination ofstimuli that is supplemented by movement that will most likely befollowed in similar settings. Just like Pavlov’s theory oflearning, Guthrie’s also points out the fact that the process oflearning emanates from the association of a conditioned stimulus anda conditioned response. Evidently, both these psychologists belong tothe same class of associationistic theorists because their systems oflearning postulate a cue and response conditioned reflex as thefundamental unit of human learning.
Inas much as these psychologists’ systems propose a similar cue andresponse learning concept, there are some slight conceptualdifferences as well. First, Guthrie’s theory of learning does notfactor in the principle of repetition or frequency, which explainswhy his theory is dubbed the contiguitytheory. According to him, learning does not necessarily require theconcept of repetition, but the law of association of contiguity.Secondly, Pavlov’s theory is centered on the concept ofpredetermined timing, while Guthrie’s theory believes in contiguitynotwithstanding the time interval between a conditioned stimulus anda conditioned response. To Guthrie, the process of conditioning isnot dependent on the original stimulus unlike in Pavlov’s theory,where it is a crucial factor in the process of learning. Third,Guthrie’s theory does not say anything about unconditioned stimuliand unconditioned response factors that are clearly highlighted inthe Pavlovian theory of conditioning. These are the conceptualdifferences between the systems of learning postulated by theseeminent psychologists.
Unquestionably,both are some of the world’s most renownedpsychologists for their participation in trying to unearth theprocess through which animals and human beings learn. Both thesepsychologists are grouped as associationistic theorists because theirsystems of learning objectively rest on stimulus and responseassociation as a fundamental unit in human learning. In as much asthey are both are associationistic theorists, Pavlov’s andGuthrie’s theories of learning have conceptual differencesemanating from the fact that Guthrie’s theory is not as expansiveas Pavlov’s because it does not factor in concepts like repetition,timing, and unconditioned stimuli and unconditioned response.
Themechanism through which animals and humans learn has always been afascinating topic in the world of psychologists. As such, thousandsof psychologists have engraved themselves with getting to discern howanimals and humans learn. are some of the greatestcontributors in this part of psychology. Through the lens of Pavlovand Guthrie, this paper has discussed how psychologists are grouped,contingent on their theoretical concepts. Both psychologists are inthe same group because their systems rest on cue and responseassociation as the fundamental unit in human learning. Also, thispaper has discussed the conceptual differences in the systemsadvanced by both psychologists. Thanks to the efforts of theseeminent psychologists, people now have a better comprehension of howanimals and human beings learn.