Instrumental Conditioning/Trial And Error Learning/Operant Learning
Learning Behaviors. When an animal learns a response to a stimulus after many tries, it is known as trial-and-error learning.
This learning occurs through experience and the animals are faced with naturally occurring rewards or punishments.
The American psychologist BF Skinner placed a rat in a Skinner box.
Where the rat was running feverishly here and there but once it pressed a lever, a plate of food would appear.
At first, the rat ignored it and continue to run, but once the rat was hungry, it ate the food and whenever it felt hungry, it learned to press the lever to obtain food and satisfy its hunger.
When an animal learns a response to a stimulus in its routine life without any reward or punishment, this type of learning is called latent learning.
The American psychologist K.L Lashley put a rat in the maze and also placed the food somewhere, the first time, the rat was not hungry so it ignored the food and went its way to solve the maze.
But it was put again through the maze when the rat felt hungry and it quickly recalled its previous experience and went through the way to find the food and satisfy its hunger.
Learning Behaviors. Insight learning is much more complex as it includes the mental processes to solve the problem.
Animals have to analyze the possibilities for the solutions to a problem before setting out to tackle it.
German psychologist Wolfgang Kohler was the first one to describe this learning in the 1920s.
He placed the chimpanzees in a Kohler cage where he placed a bunch of empty boxes and hung bananas out of the reach.
The chimpanzees were able to think it through and stacked up the boxes to reach the bananas.
No previous experience was provided but still, those species were able to use insight to solve the problem.
This learning is common among primates, few mammals, and birds only.