Learning (1971)

This informative, imaginative film explores a wide range of human and animal behavior. It opens with a definition of species-specific behavior and then shows some of the more humorous attempts of man to fly like a bird and swim like afish. It discusses sign stimuli research involving gulls, and illustrates the basic paradigm of experiments performed by Hess on the imprinting of ducks. It shows an infant learning to control the movement of a doll through a conjugate reinforcement procedure.

The basic principles of classical conditioning are dramatized in a clever vignette produced in the form of an old silent movie. The concepts of conditioning, reinforcement, stimulus generalization, and extinction are all illustrated in an entertaining and memorable way. An interview with Richard Malott helps to clarify the distinction between classical and operant conditioning. Here the basic principles of operant conditioning are demonstrated with the shaping of a rat's behavior in a Skinner box and also with an animated sequence that satirizes the shaping of political rhetoric.

The efficcy of tangible reinforcers for influencing behavior is demonstrated by showing a child with severe learning disabilities who receives tokens on successful trials of a learning task and exchanges the tokens for a reward. Tangible reinforcers are also used to train a pigeon to differentiate between pictures of people and pictures of
objects.

The film deals with the use of aversive stimuli as well. Nathan Azrin discusses the effectiveness and the consequences of aversive conditioning while the viewer watches scenes of prisoners in San Quentin and of two rats that become more and more aggressive toward each other as they are punished with electric shocks. After a brief comment from B. F. Skinner about the cultural implications of conditioning, the film concludes with a rather cursory view of David McClelland's work on achievement motivation.

The film is probably best suited for students who already have some familiarity with the most basic concepts of classical and operant conditioning. The amount of terminology and the rate of development would seem to be too much for those students lacking any such familiarity. While the film does not attempt to deal with the cognitive family of learning theories or to explore in much depth the influence of motivation on learning, it does an excellent job of developing and refining the essential concepts of conditioning. It also shows important applications of learning principles in a wide range of behaviors, and it does so in a lively, engaging format.

Shows experiments in learning. B.F. Skinner and Richard Malott deal with operant conditioning. Nathan Azrin demonstrates aversive conditioning. Jack Hailman deals with sign-stimuli, and G.P. Baerends demonstrates super-normal conditioning. Explains the work of David McClelland on motivation training, and the work of Lewis Lipsitt on infant learning.

Carroll, J. G. (1976). A Rare Learning Experience. Teaching of Psychology, 3(1), 44–44. doi:10.1207/s15328023top0301_12


Produced by: CRM Productions/CRM Educational Films
Published by: McGraw-Hill Film
Source: unknown
Language: English
Tags: #bfskinner #behavior #behaviorism #behaviorology


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