Skip to main content

Lets's read about 2 more experiments today!

1. Tolman's Rat Experiment 

Tolman is perhaps best-known for his work with rats and mazes. He gave the concept of latent learning. In latent learning, a new behavior is learned but not demonstrated until reinforcement is provided for displaying that particular behavior. Tolman's work challenged the behaviorist notion that all behavior and learning is a result of the basic stimulus-response pattern. He put 2 groups of rats in a maze and gave them an opportunity to explore the maze.

In one group, rats found food at the end of the maze and soon learned to make their way rapidly through the maze. On the other hand, rats in the second group were not rewarded and showed no apparent signs of learning. But later, when these rats were reinforced, they ran through the maze as efficiently as the rewarded group.

Tolman concluded from this that that the unrewarded rats had learned the layout of the maze early. They just never displayed their latent learning until the reinforcement which is the food, was provided.

cog map


2. Kohler's Chimp Experiment

Kohler made a variety of problems for the chimps, each of which involved obtaining food that was not directly accessible.

In the simplest task, food was put on the other side of a barrier. He performed a series of experiments with chimpanzees that involved solving complex problems. n a typical sequence, a chimp jumps fruitlessly at bananas that have been hung out of reach. Usually, after a period of unsuccessful jumping, the chimp apparently becomes angry or frustrated. Tools such as poles and boxes were placed in the enclosure.

The chimpanzees rapidly learned how to use a box to stand on or a pole to move the food in their direction. The chimpanzees would roam about the enclosure for some time and then suddenly would stand on a box, grab a pole and strike a banana, which was out of normal reach above the enclosure. Here, the idea came to the chimps not due to reinforcement or conditioning but as an insight or a sudden solution.

This is why Kohler is also called the pioneer of Insight Learning.

Comparitive Cognition Lab 


                                                                                                                                                                                                                 - Soumya Gulati