- 1) Identical ElementsOne mental function or activity improves others in so far as and because they are in part identical with it, because it contains elements common to them. Addition improves multiplication because multiplication is largely addition; knowledge of Latin gives increased ability to learn French because many of the facts learned in the one case are needed in the other. (Thorndike, 1906, p. 243)2) The Law of Effect and the Law of ExerciseThe Law of Effect is that: Of several responses made to the same situation, those which are accompanied or closely followed by satisfaction to the animal will, other things being equal, be more firmly connected with the situation, so that, when it recurs, they will be more likely to recur; those which are accompanied or closely followed by discomfort to the animal will, other things being equal, have their connections with that situation weakened, so that, when it recurs, they will be less likely to recur. The greater the satisfaction or discomfort, the greater the strengthening or weakening of the bond.The Law of Exercise is that: Any response to a situation will, other things being equal, be more strongly connected with the situation in proportion to the number of times it has been connected with that situation and to the average vigor and duration of the connections. (E. L. Thorndike, 1970, p. 244)3) Associationism Is Not the Only Kind of LearningThe main objection to the prevailing [associationist] theory, which makes one kind of connection the basis of all learning, is not that it may be incorrect but that in the course of psychological research it has prevented an unbiased study of other kinds of learning. (Katona, 1940, pp. 4-5)4) The Classical Boundaries between the Various Kinds of Learning Will DisappearI believe that learning by examples, learning by being told, learning by imitation, learning by reinforcement and other forms are much like one another. In the literature on learning there is frequently an unstated assumption that these various forms are fundamentally different. But I think the classical boundaries between the various kinds of learning will disappear once superficially different kinds of learning are understood in terms of processes that construct and manipulate descriptions. (Winston, 1975, p. 185)
Historical dictionary of quotations in cognitive science. Morton Wagman. 2015.