Learning About Learning

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1998, Vol 43(2), 135-136. Review of The Psychology of Learning: Principles and Process by James Thomas Walker (see record 1995-98802-000). Students may find this textbook an engaging introduction to the psychology of learning and memory in humans and animals, but instructors may be disappointed that some of the material is dated and poorly integrated. A surprisingly large number of topics are included, such as Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning, motor learning, language learning, verbal learning, memory, concept learning, and analogical reasoning. The author's goal is to provide an integrated look at these different forms of learning. Although the text is a reasonable attempt to meet this lofty objective, it falls short of the mark. Walker has a fluid and accessible writing style, but rarely are there large amounts of additional information beyond that contained in an introductory psychology textbook. Frequently, the book fails to make connections between seemingly disparate fields of research. Chapters include information on Pavlovian and instrumental conditioning, behavioral therapies, motor learning, language acquisition, and neural processes in learning. In summary, this volume should appeal to instructors who are looking for a highly readable text that surveys learning and memory in both animals and humans. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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