The scientific study of associative learning began nearly 100 years ago with the pioneering studies of Thorndike and Pavlov, and it continues today as an active area of research and theory. Associative learning should be the foundation for our understanding of other forms of behavior and cognition in human and nonhuman animals. The laws of associative learning are complex, and many modern theorists posit the involvement of attention, memory, and information processing in such basic conditioning phenomena as overshadowing and blocking, and the effects of stimulus preexposure on later conditioning. An unresolved problem for learning theory is distinguishing the formation of associations from their behavioral expression. This and other problems will occupy future generations of behavioral scientists interested in the experimental investigation of associative learning. Neuroscientists and cognitive scientists will both contribute to and benefit from that effort in the next 100 years of inquiry.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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