Human Learning

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  • Edition: 5th
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-01-01
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
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This best-seller covers a wide range of theories--conditioning, social-cognitive, information processing, and social constructivism--while providing solid material on the psychology of motivation. The author's lucid prose demonstrates how different concepts of learning relate to one another; dozens of proven examples emphasize meaningful learning and the implications of the latest research. Clearly and entertainingly written, this book covers the following topics: learning and the brain; behaviorism and classical conditioning; effects of aversive stimuli; social-cognitive theory; long-term memory; complex learning and cognition; and motivation. An obvious resource for teachers of students of all ages and backgrounds, this book can be an interesting read for those involved in any facet of the learning process; as well as psychologists and therapists.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Human Learning
Perspectives on Learning
Learning and the Brain
Behaviorist Views of Learning
Behaviorism and Classical Conditioning
Instrumental Conditioning
Applications of Instrumental Conditioning
Social Cognitive Theory
Social Cognitive Theory
Cognitive Views of Learning
Introduction to Cognition and Memory
Long-Term Memory I: Storage
Long-Term Memory II: The Nature of Knowledge
Long-Term Memory III: Retrieval and Forgetting
Developmental Perspectives
Developmental Perspectives on Cognition
Complex Learning and Cognition
Metacognition, Self-Regulated Learning, and Study Strategies
Transfer and Problem Solving
Social Processes in Knowledge Construction
Motivation and Affect
Cognitive Factors in Motivation
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.


Human learning is a fascinating process, and psychologists discover more about it every year. Yet I am saddened and frustrated by how little nonpsychologists seem to know about how they themselves learn and about how they can best help others learn in instructional settings. Research is clear on this point: How something is taught, studied, and thought about definitely doesmake a difference in what people learn, how well they understand it, how long they remember it, and how readily they apply it to new situations and problems. I have written this textbook with particular students in mind: students who would like to learn about learning but often do not have much background in psychology. Such students may benefit from studying the historical roots of learning theories but prefer to focus their energies on studying contemporary perspectives and ideas. These students might find learning theories fascinating but lose patience when they cannot see the relevance of those theories to everyday practice. These students are capable of reading a dry, terse textbook but probably learn more effectively from a book that shows how different concepts relate to one another, provides numerous examples, and, especially, emphasizes meaningful learning--true understanding--of the material it presents. In This Edition This fourth edition of Human Learningindifferent in many ways from the third edition of 1998. A new Chapter 2 introduces readers to the anatomy and physiology of the brain, speculates about the physiological bases of learning and memory, and dispels common myths about brain functioning and development. Behaviorist views of learning have been condensed from four chapters into three, with closer attention to how early behaviorists built on one another's ideas. The contents of the "old" Chapter 13 (expository instruction, teaching concepts, mnemonics, etc.) have been integrated into other chapters, where various instructional strategies can be more closely tied to the principles and theories on which they are based. And the virtual explosion of research on human motivation in recent years has made it necessary to expand my discussion of motivation to three chapters. In addition to the discussion of the brain in chapter 2, many new topics appear throughout the book. Examples include measures of learning (Chapter 1); noncontingent reinforcement as a means of reducing undesirable behaviors (Chapter 4); effects of high-stakes testing (Chapter 5); functional analysis (Chapter 5); collective self-efficacy (Chapter 7); phonological loop and visuospatial sketchpad (Chapter 9); the generation effect (Chapter 10); acquisition of procedural knowledge (Chapter 10); confirmation bias (Chapter 11); false memories (Chapter 12); theory of mind, intentional learning, and epistemic doubt (Chapter 13); near versus far transfer (Chapter 14); visual imagery in problem solving (Chapter 14); the social nature of learning (Chapter 15); technology-based discussions (Chapter 15); arousal and relatedness as basic human needs (Chapter 16); performance-approach, performance-avoidance, work-avoidance, social, and career goals (Chapter 17); dispositions (Chapter 17); interrelationships among motivation, affect, and self-regulation (Chapter 17) process versus product goals (Chapter 17); entity versus incremental views of intelligence (Chapter 18); intrapersonal versus interpersonal attributions, and cultural differences in attributions (Chapter 18). And, more generally, I have rewritten every chapter to reflect the latest developments in learning theory and research.

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