Describe how one or more of these areas may be connected to your future career goals.

The primary goal of the Learning and Cognition Handbook assignment is to integrate concepts from the discipline of learning and cognitive psychology into a usable and professional guide that is designed for a specific audience based on your career goals. The purpose of this handbook is to share helpful strategies and apply what you have learned from the course to six major topics in the field. You will incorporate your findings from required sources and the relevant sources you researched in the Week 2 Discipline-Based Literature Review, as well as those from the Week 3 Assignment: Choosing Your Focus.

To complete this assignment, you may utilize the Learning and Cognition Handbook template or create your own using the template as a guide. Your handbook should include the sections listed below, incorporating a minimum of one visual (e.g., table, figure, or image (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.) with a maximum of five visuals per section. Each image must be retrieved and cited based on current copyright laws. You may wish to use the Where to Get Free Images guide for assistance with accessing freely available public domain and/or Creative Commons licensed images.

Handbook Sections:

Table of Contents List all sections and subsections included in the handbook with the applicable page numbers.

Preface (100 to 150 words) Provide an overview of the handbook and its potential use by your chosen audience.

Introduction to the Major Topics (200 to 300 words) Provide an introductory summary of the six topics listed below and discuss any careers in psychology specifically related to at least one of them:

  • Traditional learning theories: Operant and classical conditioning
  • Traditional learning theories: Behaviorism and social learning theory
  • Attention and memory
  • Decision-Making
  • Language acquisition
  • Organizational and lifelong learning

Describe how one or more of these areas may be connected to your future career goals.

Major Topics (1 to 2 pages for each major topic) Communicate the extent to which the six major topics of learning and cognition affect related sub-topics by synthesizing the course learning principles and/or theories. Consider how these sub-topics may be related to your future career goals. For instance, if you intend to become an applied behavior analyst, behaviorism and related technique for learning may be directly connected to your future role. For each major topic, apply basic research methods and skeptical inquiry to explain the theoretical perspectives and empirical research that substantiate the relationship between the topic and at least two related sub-topics. In your review, consider how these topic and sub-topics are directly connected to evaluations and interventions in psychology practice in various fields. Focus on the areas most related to your future area of practice, paying particular attention to how theories are examined in research studies. The following are some sub-topics to consider:

  • Comprehension
  • Operant and classical conditioning
  • Behaviorism
  • Social learning theory
  • Problem solving
  • Memory development/retention
  • Lifelong learning
  • Individual and group learning
  • Organizational learning
  • Mentorship
  • Apprenticeship models of learning
  • Effects of demographic differences (e.g., gender, socioeconomics, religious affiliation, race) on learning

Although creative liberties are encouraged, all information incorporated should be supported and professionally presented through the consistent application of ethical principles and adherence to professional standards of learning and cognition psychology as applied to the chosen audience.

Conclusion (200 to 300 words) Summarize the importance of the topics within the learning and cognition domain and their applicability within the psychology profession for the chosen audience.

Attention Students: The Masters of Arts in Psychology program is utilizing the Pathbrite portfolio tool as a repository for student scholarly work in the form of signature assignments completed within the program. After receiving feedback for this Learning and Cognition Handbook, please implement any changes recommended by the instructor, and go to Pathbrite (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. to upload the revised Learning and Cognition Handbook to the portfolio. (Use the Pathbrite Quick-Start Guide to create an account if you do not already have one.) The upload of signature assignments will take place after completing each course. Be certain to upload revised signature assignments throughout the program as the portfolio and its contents will be used in other courses and may be used by individual students as a professional resource tool. See the Pathbrite (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. website for information and further instructions on using this portfolio tool.

The Learning and Cognition Handbook

  • Must be 12 to 15 pages in length (see instructions and rubric for each section and sub-topic) following the Learning and Cognition Handbook template as a guide. Although a handbook differs from a written paper, all citations and references must be formatted according to APA style (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
  • Must include a title page with the required information from the handbook template:     
    • Title of handbook
    • Student’s name
    • Institution’s name
    • Course name and number
    • Instructor’s name
    • Date submitted
  • Must use at least six scholarly sources in addition to the required resources.     
    • The Scholarly, Peer Reviewed, and Other Credible Sources (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. table offers additional guidance on appropriate source types. If you have questions about whether a specific source is appropriate for this assignment, please contact your instructor. Your instructor has the final say about the appropriateness of a specific source for a particular assignment.
  • Must include the sections and subsections required as indicated in the handbook template.
  • Must address the topics with critical thought and substantiated assertions.
  • Must document all sources in APA style as outlined in Citing Within Your Paper (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..
  • Must include a separate references page that is formatted according to APA style as outlined in Formatting Your References List (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..


Discipline-Based Literature Review (Learning and cognition)

Lendora Ogunbode

PSY: 620 Learning and Cognition


May 28, 2019

Discipline-Based Literature Review (Learning and cognition)


Before an in-depth comprehension of the topic of discussion, it is essential to define the concept of cognition and learning. Concerning the above, cognition has reference to the acquisition and comprehension of knowledge via factors such as senses, experiences, and thoughts. On the other hand, learning focuses on the process of individuals acquiring knowledge via teaching, studying, and experiences. The concept of learning and cognition are similar in several ways. Their main similarities comprise of experiencing and acquiring knowledge as discussed above. The learning process requires cognition. Cognition entails the process of learning — any person who either hears or sees something new experiences cognitive processes. The above processes result in learning.

Cognition and learning are explained via elements such as operant and classical conditioning, behaviorism, and social learning theory (Looi et al., 2017). The above elements involve different ways through which learning occurs. It consists of using the environment as a critical platform through which the acquisition of knowledge occurs. Rewards and punishments may be used to instill specific behavior among individuals. This may be done through the use of a stimulus to support knowledge acquisition and promote certain behavior. About the above, the paper discusses behaviorism, social learning theory, classical, and operant conditioning.

Discussion on the Literature Review

Attention serves as the first process involved in the learning process. For students to start learning, they have to pay attention to the stimuli they are experiencing. Attention is not unlimited. This means that it may be quite fleeting. According to educational psychologists, an average individual may hold about two/three learned tasks depending on their attention at the same time. An average individual may attend to one complex activity at a time. It is almost impossible for a person to undertake simultaneous tasks at the same time. The information that one acquires undergoes a process through which it is put into memory through the storage process (Sokolov, Miall, & Ivry, 2017). The mind comprises of different levels of memory. The levels involve the aspect of information traveling with them to ensure the process of learning. To understand the concept of learning and cognition, it is essential to evaluate the following:

Operant Conditioning

Operant conditioning is a learning approach developed by B.F Skinner. The method occurs via the use of both rewards and punishments to support the development of specific behavior. Operant conditioning has a close association with a consequence and a behavior. Behavior that originates from pleasant consequences has a high likelihood of experiencing repetition and vice versa. Reinforcement occurs when a behavior is repeated. An unpleasant behavior may be extinguished. Skinner uses a box and some rats as an experiment to understand reinforcement and its relationship to behavior. As per the comprehension of the method, there are three primary responses associated with it; punishers, reinforcers, and natural parents. Neutral parents include the responses that fail to increase/decrease the possibility of the repetition of behavior (Neuringer, 2014). Reinforcers have a high probability of repeating the behavior. The existence of reinforcement may either be negative or positive.

The last response includes punishers. These are responses that originate from the environment that decrease the possibility of the repetition of a behavior. It has a high possibility of weakening behavior among individuals in society. Positive reinforcement is a strengthening factor when it comes to the development of behavior. The main reason is that it provides individuals with a consequence that they find rewarding. An example may include a teacher providing $ 5 whenever someone completes an assignment. Students will have a good record time when it comes to clearing assignments.

On the other hand, negative reinforcement comprises strengthening behavior (Budiman, 2017). It may involve the removal of a negative stimulus with a less rewarding status. It removes an unpleasant experience among individuals. An example includes a teacher demanding $ 5 whenever a student fails to complete an assignment. In the above situation, it becomes easy for the student to do the homework due to avoiding the $ 5 given to the teacher. Punishment tends to weaken behavior. It serves as an opposite of reinforcement and may eliminate a response. It either introduces an unpleasant stimulus or removes a rewarding one. This is to ensure someone develops a specific learning behavior.

Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning is a learning method that includes biologically potent stimulus. There is a pairing between a previously neutral stimulus with the learning procedure. The neutral stimulus is the one who is responsible for eliciting the desired response. Classical conditioning is comprised of some examples that are associated with its comprehension. The components include the biologically potent stimulus, which is the food while the neutral stimulus comprises of the bell, and the elicited response is the saliva. Pavlov, a famous Russian physiologist, discovered the theory. It comprises of two different stimuli that are connected to ensure the production of new learned responses among individuals. Three main stages are involved when it comes to classical conditioning. The stages each have stimuli and responses, with different scientific terms. The first stage comprises of the situation before the actual conditioning.

The stage involves the unconditional stimulus producing an unconditional response in a person. This means that a stimulus tends to develop a response which an organism fails to learn. This serves as a natural response which individuals have not been taught. An example includes a stomach virus which leads to nausea. It may also involve a neutral stimulus which may lack effect when it comes to the environment. The second stage comprises a situation that involves conditioning. The stage involves the stimulus failing to produce a response (Jensen, Kirsch, Odmalm, Kaptchuk, & Ingvar, 2015). It has a close association with the unconditional stimulus, which may be known as conditioned stimuli.

An example may include the stomach virus being associated with specific foods. For effective classical conditioning, the conditioned stimulus should come before the unconditioned stimulus. The third phase includes conditioning situations. The phase involves a close association between the unconditioned stimulus and the conditioned stimulus. An example maybe a close association with a nice perfume, that people find attractive because of its scent. People may be attracted to something because of its nature.


Behaviorism refers to behavioral psychology. It refers to the learning theory that focuses on the origin of behavior from conditioning. Conditioning occurs via the interaction between individuals and the environment around them. Responses to their environments shape the actions of individuals. The study of behavior occurs in an observable and systematic manner concerning internal mental states. Strict behaviors tend to originate from an aspect of individuals receiving training in the performance to tasks. This is not limited to personality traits, internal thoughts, and genetic backgrounds. It requires the introduction of the right conditioning. John B. Watson is the philosopher who came up with the theory of behaviorism in 1913.

There are different types of conditioning. The first conditioning includes classical conditioning. It comprises of a technique that is used in the training of behavior among individuals (Glenn et al., 2016). It uses the pairing of a neutral stimulus with an occurring stimulus. The neutral stimulus comes to influence similar responses in stimulus that naturally occur. This may occur even without the presence of the occurring stimulus. The stimulus that is associated with a situation as the one above is known as conditioned stimuli. The learned conditioned may also be known as the conditioned response. Operant conditioning is an approach regarding learning that is determined by punishments and reinforcements. Operant conditioning creates a close relationship between behavioral consequence and behavior. There is a repetition of behavior when the desired result comes after an active and vice versa.

Social Learning Theory

Albert Bandura is the person behind the development of the social learning theory. It is the same as the operant and classical conditioning theory in its explanation of the concept of cognition and learning. Despite the relationship, two extra issues surround the development of the theory. The first issue includes the mediating process that is related to responses and stimuli. The second one includes learning process undertaken via observational process learning. Children are careful about their surroundings. Most of them observe the environment around them in some ways. Models refer to individuals who undergo observation. Children are surrounded by several models that are influential in their lives. These include their family members, TV characters, friends, and teachers in their learning environments (Illeris, 2018). The above models are significant to observe because of the power they have towards influencing the development of behaviors among children.

Children are individuals that observe and imitate the behavior. Children are always attentive to their surroundings as a way to encode their behavior. The copying of other people’s behavior is crucial to support their maturity towards developing behaviors. Children may learn to copy any behavior, even when it is inappropriate, and this may influence personalities in their later lives. The behavior may also be imitated through punishment and reinforcement. Consequences of reading among children may lead to the repetition of the behavior. Punishment may also lead to the removal of incentives that influence a child to stop imitating a behavior. The environment that surrounds a child is crucial in supporting the process of learning.


In conclusion, it is crucial to note that the process of learning and cognition is complex and requires reinforcements and punishments to ensure behavioral development. The social learning theory, classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and behaviorism are relevant frameworks to be used in explaining the development of behavior. Knowledge acquisition exists as a result of individuals learning from their environments. The presence of a stimulus may cause a child to develop specific behavioral outcomes. It is essential for the surrounding to be developed using a desirable stimulus to allow children to establish desired behavioral traits. This is because children learn through observations. If rewards are introduced, they may repeat a behavior and vice versa. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the reward/punishment is in a way that leads to positive behavior.


Budiman, A. (2017). Behaviorism and Foreign Language Teaching Methodology. ENGLISH FRANCA: Academic Journal of English Language and Education, 1(2), 101-114.

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Illeris, K. (2018). A comprehensive understanding of human learning. In Contemporary theories of learning, 1-14.

Jensen Karin, Kirsch Irving, Odmalm Sara, Kaptchuk Ted J., & Ingvar Martin. (2015). Classical

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(2017). Transcranial random noise stimulation and cognitive training to improve learning

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