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Encyclopedia > Edward Thorndike

Edward Lee Thorndike (August 31, 1874 - August 9, 1949) was an American psychologist who spent nearly his entire career at Teachers College, Columbia University. His work on animal behavior and the learning process led to the theory of connectionism and helped lay the scientific foundation for modern educational psychology.[1][2] is the 243rd day of the year (244th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1874 (MDCCCLXXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link with display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Saturday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... is the 221st day of the year (222nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1949 (MCMXLIX) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Psychology (from Greek: ψυχή, psukhē, spirit, soul; λόγος, logos, knowledge) is both an academic and applied discipline involving the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. ... Teachers College, Columbia University (sometimes referred to simply as Teachers College; also referred to as Teachers College of Columbia University or the Columbia University Graduate School of Education) is a top ranked graduate school of education in the United States. ... Comparative psychology, taken in its most usual, broad, sense, refers in to the study of the behaviour and mental life of animals other than human beings. ... Learning is the acquisition and development of memories and behaviors, including skills, knowledge, understanding, values, and wisdom. ... Connectionism is an approach in the fields of artificial intelligence, cognitive science, neuroscience, psychology and philosophy of mind. ... Educational psychology is the study of how humans learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational interventions, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organizations. ...

Contents

Connectionism

Among Thorndike's most famous contributions were his research on how cats learned to escape from puzzle boxes and his related formulation of the law of effect.[2][3] The law of effect states that responses that are closely followed by satisfying consequences become associated with the situation, and are more likely to recur when the situation is subsequently encountered. Conversely, if the responses are followed by aversive consequences, associations to the situation become weaker.[3] The puzzle box experiments were motivated in part by Thorndike's dislike for statements that animals made use of extraordinary faculties such as insight in their problem solving: "In the first place, most of the books do not give us a psychology, but rather a eulogy of animals. They have all been about animal intelligence, never about animal stupidity."[4] The law of effect is a principle of psychology described by Edward Thorndike in 1898. ... Look up Insight in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ...


Thorndike meant to distinguish clearly whether or not cats escaping from puzzle boxes were using insight. Thorndike's instruments in answering this question were 'learning curves' revealed by plotting the time it took for an animal to escape the box each time it was in the box. He reasoned that if the animals were showing 'insight,' then their time to escape would suddenly drop to a negligible period, which would also be shown in the learning curve as an abrupt drop; while animals using a more ordinary method of trial and error would show gradual curves. His finding was that cats consistently showed gradual learning. The learning curve refers to a relationship between the duration of learning or experience and the resulting progress. ...


Thorndike interpreted the findings in terms of associations. He asserted that the connection between the box and the motions the cat used to escape was 'strengthened' by each escape. A similar, though radically reworked idea was taken up by B. F. Skinner in his formulation of operant conditioning. The associative analysis went on to figure largely in behavioral work through mid-century, and is now evident in some modern work in behavior as well as modern connectionism. Hellomoto Burrhus Frederic Fred Skinner (March 20, 1904 – August 18, 1990), Ph. ... Operant conditioning is the use of consequences to modify the occurrence and form of behavior. ... Connectionism is an approach in the fields of artificial intelligence, cognitive science, neuroscience, psychology and philosophy of mind. ...


Thorndike also studied auxiliary languages and influenced the work of the International Auxiliary Language Association, which developed Interlingua.[5] An international auxiliary language (sometimes abbreviated as IAL or auxlang) is a language used (or to be used in the future) for communication between people from different nations who do not share a common native language. ... The International Auxiliary Language Association that existed from 1924 to 1954 was a notable proponent of international auxiliary languages. ... Interlingua is an international auxiliary language (IAL) published in 1951 by the International Auxiliary Language Association (IALA). ...


Selected works

  • Educational Psychology (1903)
  • Introduction to the Theory of Mental and Social Measurements (1904)
  • The Elements of Psychology (1905)
  • Animal Intelligence (1911)
  • The Measurement of Intelligence (1927)
  • The Fundamentals of Learning (1932)
  • The Psychology of Wants, Interests, and Attitudes (1935)

See also

The law of effect is a principle of psychology described by Edward Thorndike in 1898. ... The halo effect refers to a cognitive bias whereby the perception of a particular trait is influenced by the perception of the former traits in a sequence of interpretations. ... Robert L. Thorndike (1910-1990) was a psychometrician and educational psychologist who made significant contributions to cognitive ability testing. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... Educational psychology is the study of how humans learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational interventions, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organizations. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Saettler, 2004, pp.52-56
  2. ^ a b Zimmerman & Schunk, 2003
  3. ^ a b Curren, 2003, p.265
  4. ^ Thorndike, 1911, p.22.
  5. ^ Esterhill, 2000

References

  • Curren, Randall R. (2003), A Companion to the Philosophy of Education, Blackwell Publishing, ISBN 0631228373.
  • Esterhill, Frank J. (2000), Interlingua Institute: A History, Interlingua Institute, ISBN 0917848020.
  • Saettler, L. Paul (2004), Evolution of American Educational Technology, IAP, ISBN 1593111398.
  • Thorndike, Edward Lee (1911), Animal Intelligence, Macmillan, <http://books.google.com/books?id=LC7GeCzw0lQC>.
  • Zimmerman, Barry J. & Dale H. Schunk (2003), Educational Psychology: A Century of Contributions, Lawrence Erlbaum Associate, ISBN 0805836829.

External links

  • Edward Thorndike biography
  • Classics in the history of Psychology - Animal Intelligence by Thorndike

  Results from FactBites:
 
Human Intelligence: Edward L. Thorndike (0 words)
Thorndike's Law of Exercise continued this line of thought; a) Stimulus-response connections that are repeated are strengthened, and b) Stimulus -response connections that are not used are weakened.
Thorndike and his students used objective measurements of intelligence on human subjects as early as 1903.
Thorndike rejected the idea that a measure of intelligence independent of cultural background was possible.
Psychology History (0 words)
Edward Lee Thorndike was a son of a Methodist minister in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Edward L. Throndike's pioneer investigations in the fields of human and animal learning are among the most influential in the history of Psychology.
Thorndike's setup of the puzzle boxes is an example of instrumental conditioning: An animal makes some response, and if it is rewarded, the response is learned.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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