Insight Learning and Shaping
Thorpe defined insight in his 1964 book “Learning and Instinct in Animals” as: “The sudden production of a new adaptive response not arrived at by trial behavior or as the solution of a problem by the sudden adaptive reorganization of experience.”
Shaping is a powerful animal training method, described by B.F. Skinner, in which a novel behavior (target behavior) or a behavioral sequence is created. It works through successive steps of learning, where one desired behavior at a time is rewarded and learnt. This results in a shaped behavior or in a shaped behavioral sequence.
Complex behavior, or sequences of actions, that lead to particular goals, can be found in many animals. However, it is not possible from just observing such complex behavior to know whether they are a result of genetic programming or of different kinds of learning phenomena. Because the exact same behavior, for...
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