Theories Of Human Learning And Cognition


Write 5–6 pages in which you examine two or three conceptual approaches to a learning- and memory-related research question.

Psychologists need to understand three conceptual approaches to memory and learning: neurological, behavioral, and cognitive.

By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:

•    Competency 1: Use information technology and tools to identify information in the domain of learning and cognition. ▪   Summarize scholarly research articles. 

•    Competency 2: Assess the important theories, paradigms, research findings, and conclusions in human learning and cognition. 
 ▪   Apply different approaches to learning and cognition to a particular research question. ▪   Explain how research findings apply to a particular research question. 
 ▪   Describe the conceptual approach being used in a particular research article. 

•    Competency 3: Analyze the research methodology and tools typically associated with the study of lifespan development. 
 ▪   Describe the methods and measures used in different conceptual approaches to learning and cognition research. 

•    Competency 5: Apply knowledge of theory and research in learning and cognition to inform personal behavior, professional goals, and values in order to understand social policy. 
 ▪   Apply knowledge of theory and research in learning and cognition to inform personal and professional behavior. 

•    Competency 6: Communicate effectively in a variety of formats. 
 ▪   Write coherently to support a central idea in appropriate APA format with correct grammar, usage, and 
mechanics as expected of a psychology professional. 

 In this first assessment, you will explore conceptual approaches to learning and memory. John Dewey (1910), in his influential text How We Think , and in response to the question “What is thought?” suggests: 
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 No words are oftener on our lips than thinking and thought . So profuse and varied, indeed, is our use of these words that it is not easy to define just what we mean by them. … In the first place, thought is used broadly, not to say loosely. Everything that comes to mind, that “goes through our heads” is called a thought. To think of a thing is just to be conscious of it in any way whatsoever. Second, the term is restricted by excluding whatever is directly presented; we think (or think of) only such things as we do not directly see, hear, smell, or taste. Then, the third, the meaning is further limited to beliefs that rest upon some kind of evidence or testimony. Of this third type, two kinds—or rather, two degrees—must be discriminated. In some cases, a belief is accepted with slight or almost no attempt to state the grounds that support it. In other cases, the ground or basis 


for a belief is deliberately sought, and its adequacy to support the belief is examined. This process is called reflective thought; it alone is truly educative in value, and it forms, accordingly, the principle subject of [learning and cognition]. (pp. 1–2)

As Dewey (1910) and W. Scott Terry (2009), point out, you already know a great deal about learning and cognition because you are alive and you think. But, what is it about the concept of learning—its principles, laws, and heuristic rules—and how can this knowledge be usefully and realistically applied (Terry, 2009)?


Dewey, J. (1910). How we think . Boston, MA: D.C. Heath.
Terry, W. S. (2009). Learning and memory: Basic principles, processes, and procedures . Boston, MA:

Allyn and Bacon.

Questions To Consider

To deepen your understanding, you are encouraged to consider the questions below and discuss them with a fellow learner, a work associate, an interested friend, or a member of the business community.

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•    What are the differences between learning, memory, cognition, and performance? 

•    Where do our ideas on learning and cognition come from? 

•    Why do we study human learning and cognition? 

•    What conceptual approaches and research methodologies are employed to study learning and cognition, and how 
have they changed over time? 

•    How does our worldview influence the way we think about learning and cognition? 
 Resources Suggested Resources 
 The following optional resources are provided to support you in completing the assessment or to provide a helpful context. For additional resources, refer to the Research Resources and Supplemental Resources in the left navigation menu of your courseroom. 
 Capella Resources 
 Click the links provided to view the following resources: 
• APA Paper Template . Show More 
 Capella Multimedia 
 Click the links provided below to view the following multimedia pieces: 
• Timeline – Introduction to Learning and Cognition | Transcript . Library Resources 
 The following e-books or articles from the Capella University Library are linked directly in this course: 
• Koltko-Rivera, M. E. (2004). The psychology of worldviews . Review of General Psychology , 8 (1), 3–58. 
• Boesch, C. (2007). What makes us humans (homo sapiens)? The challenge of cognitive cross-species 
 comparison . Journal of Comparative Psychology , 121 (3), 227–240. 
• Garcia-Marques, L., Santos, A. S., & Mackie, D. M. (2006). Stereotypes: Static abstractions or dynamic 
 knowledge structures? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 91 (5), 814–831. Course Library Guide 
 A Capella University library guide has been created specifically for your use in this course. You are encouraged to refer to the resources in the PSYC-FP3500 – Learning and Cognition Library Guide to help direct your research. 


Bookstore Resources

The resources listed below are relevant to the topics and assessments in this course and are not required. Unless noted otherwise, these materials are available for purchase from the Capella University Bookstore . When searching the bookstore, be sure to look for the Course ID with the specific –FP (FlexPath) course designation.

• Terry, W. S. (2009). Learning and memory: Basic principles, processes, and procedures (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

▪   You may find Chapter 1 particularly relevant to the topics in this assessment.

Assessment Instructions

Memory and learning can be complex. Have you ever been surprised by the fact that you can remember a song you learned years ago? Or have you struggled to remember a name you learned minutes ago? Consider the different challenges or successes you have experienced remembering information you need—for example, trying to recall names and faces, dates, computer passwords, or math equations.

There are many different ways that psychologists can understand how people learn and remember. Three conceptual approaches are the focus of this assessment: neurological, behavioral, and cognitive. The neurological approach focuses on the relationship between changes in neural function and brain structures and their interaction with the experience of memory. The behavioral approach focuses on the relationship between patterns of stimuli and how they are associated with observable behavior (for example, the names we speak when interacting with individuals, the passwords we type, et cetera). The cognitive approach focuses on the relationship between the content of our thinking and our ability to recall information.

In preparation for this assessment, research the relationship between learning, cognition, and memory, as well as the three conceptual approaches (neurological, behavioral, and cognitive).


For this assessment, complete the following:

1. Describe one research question you would like to explore related to learning and memory. 

2. Choose two of the three conceptual approaches listed above. Compare and contrast how these approaches address 
your research question. 

3. Find three or four scholarly sources, such as peer-reviewed research articles or textbooks, that are related to this 
research question. Describe what you learned from these sources regarding your research question, and explain how 
this knowledge contributes to your understanding. 

4. Identify which conceptual approach best fits the approach of each of the authors of the scholarly sources. 

5. Describe the methods and measures used in each of the three conceptual approaches. Different approaches will 
measure memory or learning in different ways based on the conceptual approach. For example, the neurological approach would focus on physical changes in the brain, while the behavioral approach would focus on observable changes in behavior. 

6. Describe the practical impact reading these articles might have on your personal or professional life. 

Strive to be as concise as possible and limit the length of your completed assessment to no more than 5–6 pages, excluding the title page and reference page. Support your statements and analyses with references and citations from at least three resources.

Additional Requirements

• Include a title page and a reference page. • Use at least three resources.
• Follow APA format.

▪   Note : You may use the APA Paper Template linked in the Resources. This resource is not required. • Use 12-point, Times New Roman font.

• Double-space your paper.


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