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Learning and Behavior

A Contemporary Synthesis

Second Edition

Mark E. Bouton

Publication Date - March 2016

ISBN: 9780878933853

576 pages
7 x 9.5 inches

In Stock

Demonstrates how the study of animal learning has a central place in psychology


Research on fundamental learning processes continues to tell an important and interesting story. In the second edition of Learning and Behavior: A Contemporary Synthesis, Mark Bouton recounts that story, providing an in-depth but highly readable review of modern learning and behavior theory that is informed by the history of the field. The text reflects the author's conviction that the study of animal learning has a central place in psychology, and that understanding its principles and theories is important for students, psychologists, and scientists in related disciplines (e.g., behavioral neuroscience and clinical psychology).

Almost all of the chapters are organized to illustrate how knowledge is accumulated through the systematic development of theory and research. The book opens with a brief history that connects the modern issues with their philosophical and biological roots. Chapter 2 addresses the idea that basic learning processes are designed to help an organism adapt to a changing world; in the process, it introduces the reader to a wide range of interesting examples of learning. After analyzing some fundamental phenomena in Pavlovian learning, the book then provides a very clear and readable review of modern conditioning theories since the Rescorla-Wagner model, discusses memory retrieval and behavior-system processes that govern performance, and addresses the question of whether the laws of learning and behavior uncovered in the laboratory maze and Skinner box have generality-by studying learning in honey bees and categorization and causal judgments and proposition learning in humans. Instrumental learning is then discussed from various perspectives in chapters on behavior and its consequences (research in behavior analysis and behavioral economics), how stimuli guide instrumental action (a survey of the field of animal cognition), and how motivation influences instrumental action. The final chapter reviews and integrates the major themes of the book, describing avoidance learning, learned helplessness, and related examples of learning before reviewing the modern cognitive and synthetic perspective on instrumental action.

Lively and current, Learning and Behavior: A Contemporary Synthesis, Second Edition, engages students while illustrating the interconnectedness of topics within the field and the excitement of modern research.

For Students

Companion Website

The Learning and Behavior, Second Edition, Companion Website includes resources to help students learn and review the content of each chapter and test their understanding of the concepts presented in the textbook. The site includes the following resources:

- Chapter Outlines
- Chapter Summaries
- Flashcards
- Glossary
- Online quizzes

For Instructors

Instructor's Resource Library
(available to qualified adopters)

The Learning and Behavior, Second Edition, Instructor's Resource Library includes the following resources:

* Textbook Figures & Tables: All of the textbook's figures (including photos) and tables are provided in both JPEG (high- and low-resolution) and PowerPoint formats. All images have been formatted and optimized for excellent legibility when projected.

* Instructor's Manual: The Instructor's Manual includes the following sections for each chapter of the textbook:
- Chapter Outline
- Learning Objectives
- Class Discussion and Critical Thinking Exercises
- Suggested Additional Resources
- Key Terms

* Lecture Presentations: New for the Second Edition, these ready-to-use PowerPoint presentations cover all the key material in each chapter, and include selected figures and tables.

* Test Bank: A comprehensive set of exam questions is provided for each chapter of the textbook, in both multiple-choice and short-answer formats (Companion Website online quiz questions also included). New for the Second Edition, each question is referenced to Bloom's Taxonomy and to textbook sections. The Test Bank is provided in several formats:
- Word files, by chapter
- Diploma test creation program (software included). Diploma makes it easy to create quizzes and exams using any combination of publisher-provided questions and your own questions. Diploma also exports to a wide range of formats for import into learning management systems such as Blackboard, Moodle, and Desire2Learn.
- Blackboard files, for easy import into your Blackboard course

Online Quizzing

The online quizzes that are part of the Learning and Behavior, Second Edition, Companion Website include an instructor administration interface that allows the quizzes to be used as assignments. Instructors also have the ability to create their own quizzes and add their own questions.

New to this Edition

  • Over fifty new chapter-end Discussion Questions engage the student in reviewing and integrating the chapter material
  • In addition to new figures, all of the art has been digitally enhanced and updated to full color
  • New and expanded coverage of topics such as metacognition in animals, behavioral economics, hybrid attention theory, consolidation and reconsolidation, the motivational control of instrumental behavior, and action and habit learning
  • More illustrative studies that focus on human participants
  • All material has been thoroughly updated, with 279 new references cited

About the Author(s)

Mark E. Bouton is the Robert B. Lawson Green & Gold Professor of Psychology at the University of Vermont. He is a leading researcher in the field of animal learning, cognition, and behavior. He received his B.A. from Williams College and his Ph.D. from the University of Washington. For many years, his research has investigated the relationships between context, conditioning, memory, and motivation, with a special emphasis on inhibitory processes like extinction. Some of his scientific writing has focused on the connections between modern learning theory, neuroscience, and issues in cognitive behavioral therapy (e.g., panic disorder, fear and anxiety, relapse after therapy). He has been a Fulbright Scholar, a James McKeen Cattell Scholar, a University Scholar at the University of Vermont, and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford), and he is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the Society of Experimental Psychologists. He was Editor of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, the field's most prestigious journal, from 1998 until 2003. He has taught an up-to-date course in Learning, which is given away in his book, for over three decades.

Previous Publication Date(s)

October 2006

Table of Contents


    Chapter 1. Learning Theory?What It Is and How It Got This Way
    Philosophical Roots
    Are people machines?
    Associations and the contents of the mind
    Biological Roots
    Reflexes, evolution, and early comparative psychology
    The rise of the conditioning experiment
    A Science of Learning and Behavior
    John B. Watson
    B. F. Skinner
    Edward C. Tolman
    Computer and brain metaphors
    Human learning and animal learning
    Tools for Analyzing Learning and Behavior
    Learning about stimuli and about behavior
    Crows foraging at the beach
    Human eating and overeating
    Kids at play
    People using drugs
    Relations between S, R, and O
    Discussion Questions
    Key People and Key Terms

    Chapter 2. Learning and Adaptation
    Evolution and Behavior
    Natural selection
    Adaptation in behavior
    Fixed action patterns
    Innate behavior
    Adaptation and Learning: Instrumental Conditioning
    The law of effect
    Adaptation and Learning: Classical Conditioning
    Signals for food
    Territoriality and reproduction
    Conditioning with drugs as the outcome
    Sign tracking
    Other Parallels Between Signal and Response Learning
    Timing of the outcome
    Size of the outcome
    Discussion Questions
    Key Terms

    Chapter 3. The Nuts and Bolts of Classical Conditioning
    The Basic Conditioning Experiment
    Pavlov's experiment
    What is learned in conditioning?
    Variations on the basic experiment
    Methods for Studying Classical Conditioning
    Eyeblink conditioning in rabbits
    Fear conditioning in rats
    Autoshaping in pigeons
    Appetitive conditioning in rats
    Taste aversion learning
    Things That Affect the Strength of Conditioning
    Novelty of the CS and the US
    Intensity of the CS and the US
    Pseudoconditioning and sensitization
    Conditioned Inhibition
    How to produce conditioned inhibition
    How to detect conditioned inhibition
    Two methods that do NOT produce true inhibition
    Information Value in Conditioning
    CS-US contingencies in classical conditioning
    Blocking and unblocking
    Relative validity in conditioning
    Discussion Questions
    Key Terms

    Chapter 4. Theories of Conditioning
    The Rescorla-Wagner Model
    Blocking and unblocking
    Extinction and inhibition
    Other new predictions
    CS-US contingencies
    What does it all mean?
    Some Problems with the Rescorla-Wagner Model
    The extinction of inhibition
    Latent inhibition
    Another look at blocking
    The Role of Attention in Conditioning
    The Mackintosh model
    The Pearce-Hall model
    A combined approach
    What does it all mean?
    Short-Term Memory and Learning
    Priming of the US
    Priming of the CS
    What does it all mean?
    Nodes, Connections, and Conditioning
    Wagner's "SOP" model
    Sensory versus emotional US nodes
    Elemental versus configural CS nodes
    What does it all mean?
    Discussion Questions
    Key Terms

    Chapter 5. Whatever Happened to Behavior Anyway?
    Memory and Learning
    How well is conditioning remembered?
    Causes of forgetting
    Remembering, forgetting, and extinction
    Other examples of context, ambiguity, and interference
    Can memories be erased?
    Interim Summary
    The Modulation of Behavior
    Occasion setting
    Three properties of occasion setters
    What does it all mean?
    What is learned in occasion setting?
    Configural conditioning
    Other forms of modulation
    What does it all mean?
    Understanding the Nature of the Conditioned Response
    Two problems for stimulus substitution
    Understanding conditioned compensatory responses
    Conditioning and behavior systems
    What does it all mean?
    Discussion Questions
    Key Terms

    Chapter 6. Are the Laws of Conditioning General?
    Everything You Know Is Wrong
    Special Characteristics of Flavor Aversion Learning
    One-trial learning
    Long-delay learning
    Learned safety
    Hedonic shift
    Compound potentiation
    Some Reasons Learning Laws May Be General
    Evolution produces both generality and specificity
    The generality of relative validity
    Associative Learning in Honeybees and Humans
    Conditioning in bees
    Category and causal learning in humans
    Some disconnections between conditioning and human category and causal learning
    Causes, effects, and causal power
    Discussion Questions
    Key Terms

    Chapter 7. Behavior and Its Consequences
    Basic Tools and Issues
    Reinforcement versus contiguity theory
    Flexibility, purpose, and motivation
    Operant psychology
    Conditioned reinforcement
    The Relationship Between Behavior and Payoff
    Different ways to schedule payoff
    Choice is everywhere
    Impulsiveness and self-control
    Nudging better choices
    Behavioral economics: Are reinforcers all alike?
    Theories of Reinforcement
    Drive reduction
    The Premack principle
    Problems with the Premack principle
    Behavioral regulation theory
    Selection by consequences
    Discussion Questions
    Key Terms

    Chapter 8. How Stimuli Guide Instrumental Action
    Categorization and Discrimination
    Trees, water, and Margaret
    Other categories
    How do they do it?
    Basic Processes of Generalization and Discrimination
    The generalization gradient
    Interactions between gradients
    Perceptual learning
    Mediated generalization and acquired equivalence
    Another Look at the Information Processing System
    Visual perception in pigeons
    Working memory
    Reference memory
    The Cognition of Time
    Time of day cues
    Interval timing
    How do they do it?
    The Cognition of Space
    Cues that guide spatial behavior
    Spatial learning in the radial maze and water maze
    How do they do it?
    How do they do it?
    Discussion Questions
    Key Terms

    Chapter 9. The Motivation of Instrumental Action
    How Motivational States Affect Behavior
    Motivation versus learning
    Does Drive merely energize?
    Is motivated behavior a response to need?
    Anticipating Reward and Punishment
    Bait and switch
    The Hullian response: Incentive motivation
    Another paradoxical reward effect
    Partial reinforcement and persistence
    Motivation by expectancies
    General and specific outcome expectancies
    What does it all mean?
    Dynamic Effects of Motivating Stimuli
    Opponent-process theory
    Emotions in social attachment
    A further look at addiction
    Discussion Questions
    Key Terms

    Chapter 10. A Synthetic Perspective on Instrumental Action
    Avoidance Learning
    The puzzle and solution: Two-factor theory
    Problems with two-factor theory
    Species-specific defense reactions
    Cognitive factors in avoidance learning
    Learned helplessness
    Summary: What does it all mean?
    Parallels in Appetitive Learning
    The misbehavior of organisms
    Superstition revisited
    A general role for stimulus learning in response learning situations
    Summary: What does it all mean?
    A Cognitive Analysis of Instrumental Action
    Knowledge of the R-O relation
    Knowledge of the S-O relation
    S-(R-O) learning (occasion setting)
    S-R and "habit" learning
    Discussion Questions
    Key Terms

    Author Index
    Subject Index

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