The influence of extraneous controls in the learning process

Harvey Carr, Helen Koch
1919 Psychological review  
This paper attempts a preliminary comparison of the rate of learning when all possibility of error has been eliminated by means of some extraneous control, as opposed to the usual procedure of learning by the trial and error process. The two methods may be termed 'controlled' and 'free or undirected' learning respectively. The nature of the problem may be more adequately comprehended after a descriptive account of the apparatus and the mode of procedure. A diagram of the problem box is given in
more » ... lem box is given in Fig. I . Its dimensions are 2^x5 ft. It consists of a 10x13 in. food box A, an initial 3 ft. runway C, into which the animals are pushed through the door B, which is then closed, and two diverging paths R and L which finally merge into a common path D which in turn leads to the food box by the door E. These return paths can be closed as desired by sliding doors at X and Y. The problem to be mastered was the habit of alternating choices between the two paths R and L in the definite sequence of R, L, R, L, R, L for each day's test of 10 successive runs. In the controlled learning the animals were forced by the swinging door Z to choose according to the given sequence by alternately closing the entrance into each of the diverging paths R and L. But one path was open at a time; the 287 FIG. 1.-Diagram of problem box.
doi:10.1037/h0075151 fatcat:empzb67cobhqvkymr65j6j5lpq