Issues and Debates: Learning

Ethical issues in research (animal and human); looks at animal experiments in the methods section, covers Pavlov’s dog, Thorndike cats, Cooke and Mineka’s phobias studies use monkeys

Practical issues in the design and implementation of research: covers observation and content analysis as research methods in the methods sections

Reductionism in the explanation of behaviour:

Comparisons of ways of explaining behaviour using different themes: 

Psychology as a science: covered in the methods section for this topic.

Cultural and gender issues in psychological research: Conditioning and observational learning can explain how gender and cultural differences develop, as a consequence of differential reinforcement histories.

The role of both nature and nurture in psychology: We looked at the nurture side of the argument on substance abuse when we looked at operant conditioning.

An understanding of how psychological understanding has developed over time: We looked at the development of the debate regarding expose to violent media from the early work of Bandura through to the most recent studies on violent gaming such as the key study, Bastien et al (2012).

From the initial studies of classical conditioning, e.g. Pavlov, we have now moved on to brain imaging studies such as Karekan et al which looks at the links between classical conditioning and localisation of brain function, now that we have access to brain imaging technology we can find out more about the physiological mechanisms that underpin associative learning in the brain.

We also looked at ideas about phobias from the original work of Watson and Rayner through to more recent studies such as Olsson et al at using fMRI brain scanning to look at brain activity linked to the social learning of phobias.

The use of psychology in social control: We looked at the use of aversion therapy with aloholism and conversion therapy with people who are gay who have sought help to change their sexuality. Also, looked at token economy.

The use of psychological knowledge in society: Token economy, flooding, implosion, systematic desensitisation, restrictions of violent video game exposure, e.g. bans in China.

Issues related to socially-sensitive research:

Learning: Phobias

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