The Laws of Voluntary Response: Edward Thonrdike

From the textbook, “Third Edition Psychology from Saundra K. Ciccarelli and J. Noland White, it is stated that Thorndike was one of the first researchers to explore and attempt to outline the laws of learning voluntary response, although the field was not yet called operant conditioning. He tested laws by using a hungry cat for an experiment. He placed this cat in a “puzzle box” where the only escape was the lever that was also within the box. Thorndike also placed food outside the box as motivation for the cat to escape the box. He observed how the cat explored around the box, pushing and rubbing up against the walls in an effort to escape. The cat eventually pushed the lever on accident, opening the exit to the box. The cat however, did not learn to push the lever to escape. The experiment was repeated in many trials in different formats of boxes, but with the same tool for escape. The cat spent less time to push the lever through each trial. From this research, he developed the law of effect, which states if an action is followed y a pleasurable consequence, it will tend to be repeated, and if followed by an unpleasant consequence, it will tend not to be repeated.
History of Edward Thorndike was found in the internet, specifically from “”. It was indicated that he was the son of a Methodist minister in Lowell, Massachusetts. He was raised in an age when scientific psychology was establishing its place in academic institutions, attracting college graduates. He grew interest psychology after reading William James’s “Principles of Psychology”. After graduating from Weslyan University, he enrolled to Harvard University to study under William James himself.
After gradu...

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... trial and error.
Contribution of his work and theories were associated with the American school of thought, also known as functionalism. Edward is referred as the father of modern day educational psychology. He also published several books about educational psychology of the following: Educational Psychology, Introduction to the Theory of Mental and Social Measurements, the Elements of Psychology, Animal Intelligence, the Measurement of Intelligence, and the Fundamentals of Learning. In the end, he becomes renowned for his animal experiments and the development of the law of effect.

Works Cited

Third Edition Psychology from Saundra K. Ciccarelli and J. Noland White,

Psychology in Secondary School

Do Fishes Remember

Sex in Education

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