Be on schedule.Score better.


instructions are included  · Respond to at least two (2) peers with 100 words as the minimum peer response Peer 1:

instructions are included 

Respond to at least two (2) peers with 100 words as the minimum peer response

Peer 1: Patyn

Edward Thorndike and Edwin Guthrie had different ideas about how reinforcement works in learning. Thorndike is known for his Law of Effect, which says that if a behavior is followed by something good, it’s more likely to be repeated. On the other hand, if a behavior is followed by something bad, it’s less likely to happen again. He believed that learning happens gradually as behaviors get reinforced over time (Bouton, 2018).

Guthrie had a different take with his Contiguity Theory. He thought that learning happens all at once when a stimulus and response occur together. According to Guthrie, reinforcement isn’t about strengthening the behavior but preventing other behaviors from interfering. He believed that once a behavior is learned in response to a specific stimulus, it sticks right away and doesn’t need repeated reinforcement (Bouton, 2018).

From Thorndike’s point of view, a student who keeps attending lectures in a course they’re struggling in can be explained in several ways:

Hoping for Future Rewards: The student might think that if they keep trying, they’ll eventually get better grades, understand the material more, or feel a sense of achievement. This belief in future positive outcomes can motivate them to stick with it.

Enjoying the Process: The student might genuinely enjoy learning and find satisfaction in gaining knowledge, regardless of their current grades. This intrinsic motivation can be a powerful reinforcement.

External Pressures: Factors like expectations from parents, the need to fulfill academic requirements, or societal norms can push the student to continue attending classes despite doing poorly.

Social Interaction: Being around classmates and engaging in the social aspects of the classroom can provide enough positive reinforcement to keep the student going, even if their grades are low.

While Thorndike believed in reinforcement strengthening behavior over time, Guthrie thought learning happened in one go when a stimulus and response occurred together. Thorndike’s ideas help explain why a student might keep attending a tough class by highlighting the importance of future rewards, intrinsic motivation, external pressures, and social interactions as reinforcing factors.


Bouton, M. E. (2018).
Learning and behavior: A contemporary synthesis (2nd ed.). Sinauer Associates.

Peer 2: Natalia

Edward Thorndike and Edwin Guthrie developed distinct theoretical approaches to reinforcement in learning, each contributing uniquely to psychology. Thorndike’s theory, grounded in his “Law of Effect,” posits that behaviors followed by satisfying consequences are more likely to be repeated, while those followed by discomforting consequences are less likely (Bouton, 2016). His experiments, such as those with cats in puzzle boxes, demonstrated how positive outcomes could reinforce behaviors. Thorndike also emphasized the “Law of Exercise,” which states that practice strengthens stimulus-response connections, and the “Law of Readiness,” which involves the learner’s motivation to respond (Bouton, 2016).

In contrast, Guthrie’s “Contiguity Theory” suggests learning occurs through the temporal association of a stimulus and response, proposing that learning happens in one trial (Bouton, 2016). Guthrie believed reinforcement prevents competing responses rather than strengthening behaviors. He distinguished between “movements” (simple responses learned in one trial) and “acts” (complex behaviors requiring practice due to their composition of multiple movements) (Bouton, 2016).

Comparing these theories reveals fundamental differences. Thorndike emphasized reinforcement strengthens behaviors over time, with satisfying outcomes increasing the likelihood of behavior recurrence. For Thorndike, learning is gradual, requiring repetition and reinforcement (Bouton, 2016). However, Guthrie focused on immediate learning through temporal association, arguing that learning occurs in a single trial, with reinforcement preventing competing responses rather than strengthening the behavior itself (Bouton, 2016).

From Thorndike’s perspective, a student might continue attending lectures despite poor performance due to factors related to his laws of learning. The “Law of Effect” suggests previous positive reinforcement, like understanding topics or receiving encouragement, can outweigh negative reinforcement from poor grades. The “Law of Exercise” implies that regular attendance could become a habit, with repetition strengthening the behavior. Finally, the “Law of Readiness” indicates intrinsic solid or extrinsic motivation to succeed or complete the course can drive persistence despite poor performance. In summary, Thorndike would suggest that the student continue to attend lectures because of cumulative positive reinforcements, established habits, and motivational factors that sustain the behavior despite negative reinforcement of poor academic performance.


Bouton, M. E. (2016). Learning and Behavior (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press Academic US.

Table of Contents


Latest Reviews

Impressed with the sample above? Wait there is more

Related Questions

voluntary organisation

describe the work of a voluntary organisation. what is the social problem   WHAT IS YOUR BUDGET? CHAT LIVE WITH OUR CREDIT CONTROLLER NOW AND

New questions

Don't Let Questions or Concerns Hold You Back - Make a Free Inquiry Now!