Thursday, August 15, 2013

Is learning the result of instinct or experience? Provide two examples to support your viewpoint.

            Learning is often considered a relatively lasting change in behavior, which is a result of experience, however I think learning is a result of both instinct and experience. Therefore, some behaviors are not learned while other behaviors are the result of learning. Instinct refers to complex behavior patterns that are genetically determined (Olson & Hergenhahn 2013). When behavior occurs that is genetically determined or occurs as a result of instinct then it generally ensures that a species survives. An example of an instinctive behavior of humans is the flight or fight response in the presence of danger or potential danger. Experience refers to an instance, thing, or event that modifies or change behavior, therefore, learning also occurs as a result of experience and behavior changes occur, which may include physical, overt, intellectual or attitudinal changes. An example of how learning is a result of experience goes back to flight or fight, therefore through experience one recognizes signals of flight or fight activation and can avoid excessive reactions to fears and circumstances that do not pose a threat to life.  
Olson, M. H. & Hergenhahn, B. R. (2013). An introduction to theories of learning (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

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