What is Latent Learning?

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Latent Learning

Latent learning refers to learning that is only manifested after reinforcement is provided. In most cases, people focus on learning that is obvious or one that is manifested immediately. For instance, a rat is taught to run via a maze by rewarding right responses. Students are also taught to raise hands through praising correct behaviors. However, learning is not always apparent. In some cases, learning is more apparent when it is utilized. Latent learning has attracted attention in production of textbooks and is being focused on in research papers. Out of 48 psychology textbooks printed from 1948 to 2004, 36 address latent learning in one way or another. Introductory books look at the importance of assumed limitations and progress in psychology beyond conventional learning behavioral explanations. Learning cognition is seen as one of the advances or limitations. Latent learning is seen to showcase benefits of cognition in knowledge acquisition as well as the behavioral theory limitations.

How Latent Learning Manifests

Past research shows that positive reinforcement leads to improves performance. Latent learning is often expressed in our day to day life. For instance, imagine that you have always observed your mum making cheese and macaroni each week over the years. You haven’t had to make it yourself and nobody has ever requested you to make it either. Then when you turn 13, on a Sunday afternoon, your mum has to rush out in a hurry. She says to you, if you prepare dinner, you are free to go for a sleepover at your friend’s place. You suddenly realize you actually know how to prepare macaroni with cheese. You successfully prepare dinner and are rewarded with a sleepover. The positive reinforcement gets you to generate results the very first time. It is just a manifestation of a behavior you had learned already.

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