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Learning and Behavior: A Contemporary Synthesis


By: Mark E Bouton(Author)

500 pages, 207 illustrations

Sinauer Associates

Hardback | Jun 2016 | Edition: 2 | #228212 | ISBN-13: 9780878933853
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £56.99 $74/€65 approx

About this book

The considerable progress that has been made researching fundamental learning processes tells an important and interesting story. In this new book – written for undergraduates, graduate students, and curious professionals – Mark Bouton recounts that story, providing a strong background in modern learning and behavior theory that is informed by the history of the field. The text reflects the author's conviction that the study of animal learning has a central place in psychology, and that understanding its principles and theories is important for students, psychologists, and scientists in related disciplines (e.g., behavioral neuroscience and clinical psychology).

What's new in the second edition:
- Over 50 new chapter-end Discussion Questions engage the student in reviewing and integrating the chapter material.
- In addition to new figures, all of the art has been digitally enhanced and updated to full color.
- New and expanded coverage of topics such as metacognition in animals, behavioral economics, hybrid attention theory, consolidation and reconsolidation, the motivational control of instrumental behavior, and action and habit learning.
- More illustrative studies that focus on human participants.
- All material has been thoroughly updated, with 279 new references cited.

Mark E. Bouton, one of the most influential figures in modern learning research, has written a book that aims to convey to students the complex reality of his field. It is far more ambitious than the typical textbook because it tries not only to cover the basic facts found in all such works but also to show the reader the theoretical and methodological sophistication found in the contemporary world of learning theory. This book has to be considered a smashing success in both respects.
- Robert L. Greene, PsycCRITIQUES

"In 'Learning and Behavior: A Contemporary Synthesis', Mark Bouton has created a student-friendly textbook for an undergraduate course in animal learning that is both comprehensive and current."
- Darlene Skinner, Canadian Psychology/Psychologie canadienne


1. Learning Theory: What It Is and How It Got This Way
2. Learning and Adaptation
3. The Nuts and Bolts of Conditioning
4. Theories of Conditioning
5. Whatever Happened to Behavior Anyway?
6. Are the Laws of Conditioning General?
7. Behavior and Its Consequences
8. How Stimuli Guide Instrumental Action [Animal Cognition]
9. The Motivation of Instrumental Action
10. A Synthetic Perspective on Instrumental Action

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Mark E. Bouton is the Robert B. Lawson Green & Gold Professor of Psychology at the University of Vermont. He is a leading researcher in the field of animal learning, cognition, and behavior. He received his B.A. from Williams College and his Ph.D. from the University of Washington. For many years, his research has investigated the relationships between context, conditioning, memory, and motivation, with a special emphasis on inhibitory processes like extinction. Some of his scientific writing has focused on the connections between modern learning theory, neuroscience, and issues in cognitive behavioral therapy (e.g., panic disorder, fear and anxiety, relapse after therapy). He has been a Fulbright Scholar, a James McKeen Cattell Scholar, a University Scholar at the University of Vermont, and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (Stanford), and he is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the Society of Experimental Psychologists. He was Editor of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, the field's most prestigious journal, from 1998 until 2003. He has taught an up-to-date course in Learning, which is given away in his book, for over three decades.

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