Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Rick ParenteEmail author
  • Grace-Anna Chaney
  • Maria St. Pierre
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1132


Acquisition of knowledge; Erudition


The cognitive process of acquiring a skill or knowledge. A relatively permanent change in performance that results from practice (Logan and Gordon 1997).

Historical Background

The ability to learn is an innate cognitive function possessed by humans, animals, and plants. Learning does not happen all at once but tends to follow a learning curve, building off of previous knowledge (Schacter et al. 2011). Learning is not the same as performance (Soderstrom and Bjork 2015). Learning is how much permanent change in performance occurs over successive learning trials. Therefore, learning is assumed to go on between trials, whereas performance is measured at each trial. Questions such as “What is learning?” or “What is learned?” have been the impetus for many different theories. We begin our discussion of learning with the classical theories, which provide the backdrop to the more recent theoretical discussions of this elusive concept....
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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rick Parente
    • 1
    Email author
  • Grace-Anna Chaney
    • 1
  • Maria St. Pierre
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyTowson UniversityTowsonUSA