Chapter Summary

Behaviourism was a major influence in the development of psychology as a science. It provided a radical view of what it means to be human and its influence can still be felt today. However, as influential as the behaviourist approach is, if we want a full understanding of learning, we must also consider how the external environment influences our internal environment, especially how we feel and how we think. Key cognitive processes such as memory and visual attention can shape learning, we can reflect on our experience in order to learn, we can undertake certain training and, of course, we can learn from others. Much of what we do, either explicitly or implicitly, will involve some aspect of learning, and as such, learning will be discussed in some way in other chapters, (e.g. Perceptual learning in Chapter 5; Language acquisition in Chapter 7; and Development in Chapters 17 and 18). In this chapter, hopefully, you would have grasped a sense of the complexity of learning, yet also its fundamental importance in everyday life.