This book traces the development of learning theory in Psychology. Each major theory of the past century is analyzed in detail, and in terms of its evolution from those that preceded it. Theory-building is cumulative, each new idea standing on the shoulders of earlier ones, according to the logical progression of thesis to antithesis to synthesis. On what we learned from the subject of this book, learning, we learned from what was learned before.
A classical example of theory developing by trial and error, fits and starts, blind alleys and flashes of insight is the discovery of the DNA molecule. At least three laboratories, in England and America, were closing-in on the answer at the same time, competing with each-other as they reached the finish-line. Each following its governing theory--for instance, Linus Pauling’s gamble on a triple helix--the lads from Cambridge won the race, and the rest, as they say, is History.
None of the drama of that campaign to find the truth of a natural phenomenon is to be found here, with one exception: the gradual process of one theory morphing into another, on the strength of a new idea, has finally yielded a workable synthesis of how we learn. This result is presented here in precise, simple terms that leave jargon behind.