later says 9X7 is 67, when called on by the teacher for the answer to
9X7 be will make no reply in most cases, or wildly guess. To
strengthen a bond requires then that no comneting bonds be formed at
the same time. After a bond has been well developed, however, a new
bond may be developed without any great injury to the old one. Herein
lies one of the reasons for teaching the addition combinations first and
then the multiplication combinations afterwards. If they were taught
at the same time there would be great confusion. After the first have
been well learned then the latter can be readily learned. But even here
LESSON 1 8 ^7
it is an advantage to keep them apart in the school work until both
are fairly well developed.
Distraction is another phase of interference. The playing of a piano
in the next room intereferes with my studying. Here there is compe-
tition between situations, i. e., "music" and "algebra" rather than be-
tween the responses to the same situation.
Intensity: (a) intense stimulation. Of two repetitions the one
that is the result of the greater stimulation will result in the greater
development of the bond. A tiny bum on the skin will not make us
leave the hot radiator alone like a large burn. A fact learned under
quiet conditions will not be remembered so well as one which is inti-
mately connected with strong emotional excitement. In physiological
terms the release of a large amount of nervous current by stimulation
of the sense organs will more materially affect the nerve connections
than will the release of a small amount of current. This is the basis for
the factor of intensity as it aflFects the strength of a bond. In our ex-
periment there was no adequate example of a violent stimulation. If
there had been that combination would have been exceedingly well
remembered. This might have been accomplished in the experiment by
having exposed a combination twice or three times as long, or by hav-
ing the instructor call out the combination as he showed it. But
neither of these are comparable to the intense stimulation we experi-
enced when we caught a bee the first time. Thruout life that one
experience of being stung is remembered and we markedly differen-
tiate bees and other insects. The artificial production of great stimu-
lation is extremely difficult to accomplish in influencing others. The
orator tries to bring it about by arousing our emotions and driving
home his point thru this added excitement. It is done sometimes thru
punishment. But after all it is difficult to do and seldom done in a
very effective manner. What is actually done is to employ, v/hat has
been called here, contrast effects.
Intensity: (h) primacy. Primacy in the sense of the "first response
to a situation" derives its strength from lack of interference. When
once a child has pronounced a word incorrectly or has named an object
incorrectly it is a very much more difficult task to correct the error than
to teach a new word. Often primacy is confused with intensity, as in
the case of catching a bee. In the experiment, "G-56" can hardly be
construed as an example of primacy as this is not the first time a re-
sponse has been made to "G."
Intensity: (c) contrast. The contrast factor has reference essen-
tially to a difference which is not a vital part of the bond to be devel-
oped. For example, "G-56" occupying first place in the list is reniem-
88 INTRODUCTORY I'SYCHOLOCY I^OR TEACHRRS
bcred better than "D-84", occupying an inconspicuous place in the list.
Position is not intimately tied up with the bond connecting G with 56
or D with 84. The same is the case with the combinations "Q-15" and
'â€¢W-62," which had colored backgrounds. The contrast factor of dif-
ference in background is not intimately a part of the bond to be de-
veloped connecting Q with 15 or W with 62. These contrast eflfects do
tend to single out the particular combinations so favored and because
they are singled out they are more intensely noticed and so retained.
But this additional gain amounts to only a few per cent, in most cases.
The fact that different degrees of stimulation do affect the strength
of the bond must not be overlooked. But, as already pointed out, this
is difficult to accomplish. What generally is resorted to is contrast.
And this is often of no particular value. Sometimes, it is worth while,
but it does not compare in value with the factor of reorganization.
Reorganisation: (a) use of old bonds. Reorganization is also a fac-
tor in strengthening a bond. It is not a factor in the development of a
really new bond, of course, but from the practical point of view of
learning it is a most important factor since a great deal of our learning
consists of linking a situation with a response by means of already es-
tablished bonds. To link "hund" with "dog" by means of the ele-
ment "hound" is just as truly learning as to connect them directly
Two degrees of reorganization may be recognized, (a) thru the use
of old bonds, or (b) thru the use of old bonds combined in a new
way (novelty). Both are most effective but the latter is the better of
The case of learning "C-ioo" thru linking up "C" with "Roman no-
tation" is an excellent example of the use of old bonds. So also is that
of learning that "hund" means "dog" thru utilizing "hund-hound" and
"hound-dog." The old, old adage in education of "going from the
known to the unknown" in teaching covers this point because when we
start in to teach a new thing and first consider all of its phases which
are already known, the child connects it up with old bonds and .so util-
izes them in learning.
Reorganization: (h) novelty â€” new combination of old bonds. In
this type of reorganization we use old bonds as in the cases just dis-
cussed, but we go farther and present them in a new or novel com-
bination. The writer was lecturing one hot day just after lunch, upon
this subject and the students gradually became more and more list-
less and inattentive. Now either contrast or reorganization could be
utilized to get their attention. The writer could have talked louder, or
paced up and down the room, or written on the board, etc. All these
LESSON 1 8 89
would be contrast effects and would have some effect. Instead he
described in his ordinary tone of voice an advertisement entitled some-
thing like this, "How does (an actor) make a cat yawn on the
stage every night?" Immediately, the class was awake and paying at-
tention. Why? Because a situation made up of details with very old
and well developed bonds was presented. And the combination was
new. The words "cat," "yawn," "stage," and "night," have very
strong bonds. Such a novel reorganization of old, familiar situations
will always attract attention (i. e., be responded to) and will easily be
There is a profound difference between learning a new thing and
learning a nczv combination of old things. The former is most unin-
eresting and difficult to "get a hold of," despite the popular notion.
Consider how uninteresting the first lesson in physics or algebra was,
or how little you read of foreign countries you have not visited. On
the other hand, consider with what interest the expert milliner reads
over technical discussions of the latest styles, or a botanist seizes upon
a new flower, or you read descriptions of places you have visited. The
average visitor to Niagara Falls or Yosemite is very often disap-
pointed at first. The scene is too new to make an impression. But as
he continues to drink in the scene for several days it grows and
grows on him because he has commenced to link it up with his other
experiences. A big dog is a contrast to an ordinary sized dog. It
arouses some notice and is more likely to be remembered than the
average dog. But a dog with a pipe in his mouth is a novelty â€” a new
combination of two old familiar things (dog and pipe). That dog
draws a crowd.
In teaching, in advertising,' or in any field where one desires to
create an impression and have it retained, that impression can be most
easily and efficiently accomplished by linking up the parts of the new
impression thru the use of old bonds, old ways of thinking. A novel
presentation (i. e., one capable of reorganization by the learner) accom-
plishes most. And it is efficient just in the degree that the
old is utilized by the learner in connecting the new together. Contrast
effects, such as increasing the size of the type in an advertisemer.t or
the size of the advertisement itself, or giving it a colored background,
or yelling at the class, or writing an assignment in pink chalk, or
wearing a florid necktie, do not aid particularly in developing the new
bonds presented in advertising, teaching, or salesmanship, and some-
(1) See H. L. Hollingworth. Advertising and Selling, 1913, Chapters V and VI for
an extended discussion of the factors of contrast and novelty as utilized in adver-
90 INTRODUCTORY PSYCHOLOGY FOR TEACHEP^
times they positively interfere thru distraction (interference).
When the lesson can only be learned thru the development of new
(actually new) bonds, then drill (repetition) is the only solution. This
does not mean that the lesson need be recited over and over in the
same way. No. Proper drill is repetition carried on in various ways
so that the learner will not tire of the monotony, but will be stimulated
by changes in the performance ; and where nevertheless the essential
part is repeated again and again until mastered.
Recency. The experiments in relearning the alphabet and vocabulary
have clearly demonstrated that we forget, that our bonds do deteriorate
if they are not used. The more recently we have performed an act
the better can we do it again.
Effect. In addition to the foregoing five factors which affect the
strength of a bond. Thomdike lists a sixth â€” that of effect.' When
we make a response to a situation and feel satisfied or pleased, then the
bond is strengthened because of the satisfyingness. When the re-
sponse is followed by dissatisfaction, the bond is weakened because of
the dissatisfyingness. Moreover, the closer or more intimate the re-
lationship between the performance and the satisfaction or dissatisfac-
tion the more pronounced is the effect upon the strengthening or
weakening of the bond.
Psychologists are not all agreed upon this point. Some, like Wat-
son^, deny the existence of such a factor. Others, like the writer, are
not agreed that Thorndike's explanation is correct but accept the prac-
tical results as stated by him. This is not the place to consider the
technicalities of the controversy. From our standpoint, the practical
implications are true.
Effect influences learning because the resulting satisfaction or dis-
satisfaction establishes, first, a standard in terms of which successful
movements are repeated and unsuccessful ones discontinued, and sec-
ond, the organism continues a process which gives him pleasure and
discontinues a process which gives him displeasure. All of Watson's
experiments in which he rewards the correct movement and punishes
the incorrect ones bear this out. His rats choose the former because
they are so constituted that they go toward food and not away from
it, avoid an electric shock instead of seeking it. We develop habits
which result in our being able to do what we enjoy and we do not form
habits which result in unpleasantness.
The Law of Effect which we add to our five other factors means,
then, that learning is dependent ( i ) on the presence of some standard
(I) E. L. Thorndike. Educational Paycbolofy, 1913, Vol. II., p. 4.
<2) J. B. Watson, BÂ«havior, 1914. Chapter Vll.
LESSON 1 8 91
which determines when the learning process (random movements) is
ended, (and it is ended when we obtain a more satisfactory state than
before, or are completely exhausted) and (2) on the fact that we will
continue pleasant responses but will not continue unpleasant ones.
The second thought in Thorndike's statement is also important. The
sooner after the movement has been made that we know we are on the
right track or on the wrong track (i. e., experience pleasantness or
unpleasantness), the greater is the value of this factor in learning. If a
cliild has spelled incorrectly or disobeyed his mother then immediate
punishment is far more efficient than delayed punishment. In fact, in
teaching animals or small children only immediate praise or punish-
ment is worthy of consideration. As one grows older one can profit
from satisfaction or dissatisfaction after much longer intervals be-
tween the execution of the act and the resulting realization that one has
performed the act correctly or incorrectly. Nevertheless the shorter
the interval of time the greater the value of this factor of "effect."
Conscientious high school or college teachers of English labor for
hours making detailed corrections in grammar, etc., in themes and
then wonder why the same mistakes are made again and again. One
reason is undoubtedly that the correction follows so long after the
act. Immediate correction would accomplish wonders here as con-
trasted with this long delayed arousal of dissatisfaction. Grammar
school teachers, on the other hand, require each child to write his les-
son on the board and call upon him to defend it before the class. Here
the intei^al between execution and realization is reduced to a minimum.
MISCELLANEOUS FACTORS AFFECTING LEARNING IN GENERAL.
Individuals differ in ability to learn, as we shall see in lessons to
follow. Some are bright and quick, others are dull and very slow.
The age of the individual is a factor. Experiments prove that we im-
prove in learning capacity as we advance from childhood to maturity.
General health also affects learning, altho not so much as is popularly
supposed. A hard cold interferes because it makes us loath to work.
Probably, if we tried as hard, we would learn just about as well.
The next class-hour (the 19th) will be devoted to a review of Lessons
1-18, followed by a written examination during the 20th class-hour.
Read over Lesson 19 in connection with the review.
92 INTKODUCTORY PSYCHOLOGY FOR TEACHER*^
LESSON 19â€” THE LEARNING PROCESS IN GENERAL
SOME BONDS ARE UNLEARNED, OTHERS ARE LEARNED.
All acts of behavior involve a response to a situation. And this
condition postulates the existence of a bond between situation and re-
sponse. It is evident from the experiments which have been performed
that bonds are formed â€” that at one time in a person's life certain
bonds did not exist which later came into existence. Such changes
are what is meant by learning â€” the development of new bonds.
A still closer study of man's behavior, especially when he is an infant,
leads us to realize that there are some bonds which do not develop thru
the process of learning. Such bonds develop naturally : just as natur-
ally as do man's teeth, hair, blood vessels, or digestive system. Situa-
tion-bond-response combinations which develop naturally are referred
to as reflexes or instincts. Combinations, on the other hand, which
are developed thru learning are termed habits.
Reflexes and Instincts. A reflex is an act in which there is a single
situation as the cause of the stimulation followed by a simple response,
the bond or connection between sense-organ and muscle being un-
learned. Reflex acts are such as, jerking the hand away from a hot
stove, winking when an object suddenly comes toward us, coughing
when the throat is irritated, etc. An instinctive act, on the other hand,
is one in which there is a more complex situation, ordinarily, followed
by a more complex response, the bond being also unlearned. Instincts
would be illustrated by such behavior as a mother's interest in her
baby, fear and flight from a large animal, a boy's interest in girls, etc.
There can be no sharp line of demarcation drawn between reflexes
and instincts any more than all men can be divided into two groups
of short and tall men. Some men are undoubtedly short or tall, just as
some of these unlearned acts are clearly reflexes or instincts. But
most men are neither decidedly short nor tall. In the same way most
unlearned acts can be classified either as reflexes or instincts depending
upon the definitions set up. In a general way, reflexes are simple acts,
involving little or no consciousness of what is being done and seem-
ingly an action carried on by only a part of oneself, as my hand, my
eye, etc. Instincts are more complex, consciousness is involved, and
I feel that I myself am involved, as when I pet a baby, or run irom a
bull, or get interested in a girl.
The most important point to note in all these cases is that the re-
sponse is always one that is made naturally without any training. In
other words, the bond connecting situation and response is unlearned.
It is not a part of this treatise to consider the subject of man's in-
LF.SSO . l<.) 93
stincts. The subject is large enough and important enough to warrant
an equal amount of space to it as is given here to the learning process.
But it should be realized that man is equipped by nature, thru his re-
flexes and instincts, to respond in certain definite ways to thousands of
situations which will confront him in life. This means that nervous
connections are already formed between sense-organs and muscles, 80
that when man is confronted with certain situations he responds .lUto-
matically, immediately and without conscious guidance.
Habits. On the other hand, habits are situation-bond-response com-
binations which have been developed thru training. At one time there
was no bond. Unless such new bonds were formed man would not
advance beyond the limits of his reflexive and instinctive equipment.
HOW ARE NEW BONDS FORMED? THE LEARNING PROCESS
Associative Shifting. A habit may develop from a combination of
two already formed situation-bond-response combinations. This proc-
ess we have called associative shifting. (See Lesson 14.)
Trial and Error. The second method of learning involves those cases
in which we are confronted with a situation to which we do not have
the correct response. Either the movement or movements which are
required for the appropriate response have never been made at all or
the particular grouping of movements has never been made. So we
learn thru random movements. For example, I may learn to wag my
ears altho at the present time I cannot move them. Or I may learn to
trace a diagonal line in the mirror after practice. In this case I must
make not a new movement itself but a new combination of two more-
ments in response to an old situation. Suppose the line appears like
this in the mirror .-^^ Ordinarilv I would trace between these
lines by moving my hand to the right and away from my body. But in
the experiment I must move my arm to the right and toward the body.
This new combination must be learned thru "trial and error," par-
ticularly when I am not aware of just what the situation is. Even if I
did know the above facts, altho that would aid me decidedly, still I
should have to learn to make the new combinations thru "trial and
As a seven-weeks' baby lies in its basket it will be observed to kick
its legs, turn in a twisting manner, draw up its arms, cry, wrinkle its
face, kick again, turn its head, etc., and possibly once in an hour of such
strugj^ling emit a single vowel sound. All of these movements are
parts of its repertoire of movements, all belong to this or that reflex or
instinctive movement soon to ripen into the complete smooth working
reflex or instinct. The single vowel sound is a part of the reflex ac-
tion of crying but in a sense it is not a part of that reflex w^hen occur-
94 INTRODUCTORY PSYCHOLOGY FOR TEACHERS
ring all alone. Occurring all alone it is an accidental happening : part
of the crying reflex was stimulated but not all. In early life, particu-
larly, the nervous system generates an excess of energy^ which activates,
because of the excess, not only the appropriate muscles connected with
the stimulations of the moment but also other muscles which do not,
of course, produce movements in perfect keeping with the stimulation.
Thus because of this overflow of energy from time to time other move-
ments than reflex and instinctive movements take place. In this way
the vowel sound appears. Once having occurred alone, separate from
crying in general, according to the laws of practice, it is likely to occur
again. And so as we watch the baby develop we find the single vowel
sound occurring more and more often until finally it becomes a regular
part of its total repertoire. (Review here again Lesson 17 as it refers
to this point.)
If a situation to be properly reacted to requires a new movement,
the learning must take the form of "trial and error."
PERCEPTION ANOTHER TERM FOR HABIT.
A perception is a type of learned performance where the emphasis
is not upon the muscular response but upon the content we have in
consciousness. For example, I meet a baby on the street. When I
smile, enjoy the cunning baby, etc., the response is mainly instinctive.
When I call out, "Hello, what are you doing?" the response is mainly
habitual (I learned to talk and to salute babies that way). When, on
the other hand, I mainly contemplate the baby and am conscious of its
pretty hair, bright eyes, pink dress, dirty face and hands, etc., the re-
sponse is termed perceptual â€” the emphasis is not upon what I do
(whether instinctive or habitual) but upon what is in my consciousness.
The term perception is used so extensively in psychology and educa-
tion that it is important to understand its use.
Consider this case of the development of a percept. It is learned
both thru associative shifting and random movements. A rattle is
placed before a baby.
eyes focused on object (i. c, re-
flex movements of muscles
controlling lens, convergence
Rattle near by (retina of eye of two eves, movements of
stimulated) head, and possibly much of
the upper body) (Visual sen-
sation in consciousness)
reaches for rattle (leading to
LESSON 19 95
fingers close about rattle
(touch sensations in con-
sciousness), followed by fur-
ther cutaneous' and kinxsthe-
Fingers touching rattle tic^ stimulations being aroused
(skin stimulated) which in turn bring about new
manipulatory movements, which
cause new visual stimulations,
also auditory stimulations.
head turned so as better to hear
noise (i. e., reflex movements
Noise of rattle of muscles which turn head
(ear stimulated) and possibly upper part of the
body) (auditory sensations in
After a short time it is clear that any one of the stimulations thru
touch, vision, or hearing would immediately call up any one or all of
the responses listed above. In this way thru continued experience what
we call the perception of a rattle becomes established. In other words,
seeing or touching or hearing a rattle becomes associated with how it
appears, feels or sounds so that the sound alone, for example, arouses
in consciousness a percept of how it appears, feels to the touch, and
It is customary to call these learned reactions in the case of the rat-
tle perceptions. They are habits just as much as in the case of saying
"dog" in response to "hund." From continued repetition of certain
situations, together with their responses the various situations become
connected up with the responses of the other situations, as well as with
their own responses. Apparently this process of thus connecting up
new responses with situations is one of the most important functions
of the nervous system.
In reviewing what we have learned concerning the learning process,
it is clear that we started with certain situations whicli are connected
up with certain responses thru heredity or previous experience, and we
have formed new connections by having the parts presented one or
more times together. These new combinations of situation and re-
( 1 ) Cutaneous stimulations are stimulationa affecting the skin, giving one, in tenns of
consciousness, touch, pain, warmth and cold and combinations of these. (Lesson 35 vrill
present the subject in more detail.)
(2) Kinaesthetic stimulations are stimulations afFectinR sense-organs, located in and
about the muscles and joints, giving one, in terms of consciousness, movement, weight,
pressure, etc. (Discussed further in the following lessons.)
96 INTRODUCTORY PSYCHOLOGY FOR TEACHERS
sponsâ‚¬ are habits; they are learned connections in contradistinction to