Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

2012 Edition
| Editors: Norbert M. Seel

Discrimination Learning Model

  • Jonas Rose
  • Robert Schmidt
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_343


The term “discrimination learning” refers to the formation of associations between different stimuli and corresponding outcomes or behaviors. It enables animals to choose different responses for different stimuli. Models of discrimination learning address (a) the algorithmic principles underlying the implementation of discrimination learning in the brain and (b) the related neurophysiological processes that enable the implementation.

Theoretical Background

Learning to discriminate objects, stimuli, situations, etc., is a fundamental ability of all animals including humans. Distinguishing good things from bad things is essential for survival and any directed behavior. Scientific research on the governing principles of discrimination learning has a long tradition in neuroscience. Examples include forms of classical and operant conditioning ( differential conditioning), where arbitrary sensory stimuli (so-called conditioned stimuli) and unconditioned stimuli are presented to...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Picower Institute for Learning and MemoryMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA