Edward Thorndike Psychology

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Edward Lee Thorndike Edward Lee Thorndike was born August 31, 1874 in Williamsburg, Massachusetts. His parents were Edward Roberts and Abigail Brewster (Ladd) Thorndike. Despite his father being a Methodist minister, Thorndike had a passion for science over religion his entire life. Some believe this was a result of his strict religious upbringing. However, the world probably would not have had the privilege of knowing such an outstanding psychologist if it were not for the way he was raised. Thorndike’s early learning came from his enrollment at The Roxbury Latin School located in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. After graduating in 1891 from Roxbury he began his college education at Wesleyan University. There he received his bachelor’s degree…show more content…
One aspect that he is famous for is his use of nonhuman test subjects. Which he used in his theory of connectionism. He developed his theory when he was working on animal behavior. While at Harvard, he set up his famous puzzle box experiment. In this experiment Thorndike created a “puzzle-box” and placed a hungry cat inside of it. He then placed food outside of the cage just out of the cat’s reach. The cat started trying to reach the food by stretching its paws through the bars on the cage. Since the food is not close enough for the cat to reach, it begins to energetically reach for the food. After some time of this action, the cat stops and begins to vigorously move about the cage. Eventually the cat bumps into the latch, allowing himself to escape the cage and reach the food. The cat is put back into the box and the same actions take place. Over and over again the cat is placed back into the box. Progressively the cat stops reaching through the bars to try to get the food and begins searching the cage for the latch. Gradually the cat starts spending all of its time near the latch trying to get out, and finally it easily opens the latch repeatedly. This experiment is what allowed Edward Thorndike to create the Law of Effect (1905). The Law of Effect says that any behavior that is closely followed by a reward will become associated with that situation and more likely to be repeated when that situation happens again and any behavior that is followed by a displeasing action will eventually

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