Maze Learning

MAZE LEARNING 1 MAZE LEARNING Ana Iqbal Mirajkar Bahria University BS-04 MAZE LEARNING 2 Abstract This experiment was conducted to uncover the underlying principles of transfer of training in maze learning. The aim was to see if transfer of training facilitated maze learning. It was assumed that practice of one maze would assist the chances of transfer in another and that participants who had prior knowledge of mazes would perform better. A sample of 56 students was chosen conveniently from Bahria University.

All participants performed the same experiment on maze A and B, which is they traced a maze twice with the experimenter’s help, had a break of ten seconds and then had five minutes to find the goal. The results were analyzed using percentages. The findings of the results indicated that practice of one maze assists transfer of training on the other and that participants with prior knowledge had more successful trials than the ones who did not. Thus, both hypotheses were proved. Key words: maze, learning, memory, cognitive mapping MAZE LEARNING Learning is a relatively permanent change in behavior brought about by experience (Feldman, 2009).

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Peter Gray, a psychologist, defines learning as any process through which experience at 3 one time can alter an individual’s behavior at a future time. Hence learning can be anything that brings about a change in one’s behaviour, or another definition common to all theories of psychology would describe simply a stimulus that generates a response(S-? R) (Herbert Terrace). Learning has been an important area of research in psychology; psychologists have done extensive research on how human beings acquire learning and what factors facilitate learning.

One such experiment is done by Ivan Pavlov where he introduced the concept of classical conditioning and concluded that learning occurs gradually through pairing and association (Pavlov). Whereas a gestalt psychologist by the name of Wolfgang Kohler concluded that new behaviour is learned due to insight. According to Frederic Vestor there are four types of learning. The first being auditive learning which is learning by using the auditory channels that is using the ear to listen and mouth to speak. Second is visual learning that is learning using the eyes.

Haptic learning is the third type of learning which occurs by touching and feeling and the fourth type is learning through the intellect. Training is the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and competencies as a result of the teaching of vocational or practical skills and knowledge that relate to specific useful competencies. Areas that use training extensively are job training such as worker endowment and physical training for sports. Transfer of training was originally defined as the extent to which learning of a response in one task or situation influences the response in another task or situation (Adams, 1987).

While Thorndike and Woodworth (1901) predicted that transfer would occur as long as the aims, method, and approaches used for the learning task were similar to the transfer task. They found support for the generalization of responses when there was similarity in the stimuli and responses in the learning and transfer environment. Types of transfer of training are positive which means previous training facilitates new training such as learning to add numbers in math courses helps when one learns multiplication.

Negative transfer occurs when previous training hinders new training, whereas zero transfer is when previous trainings have no effect on new ones. Wolfgang Kohler would say that learning occurs through sudden insight while Thorndike would contradict by saying that it happens gradually over a long period of time. Generally it is noted that learning is both intentional and unintentional and has no specific time requirements. That is MAZE LEARNING one can learn in a day or can take months. Whereas training is usually intentional and there are certain time boundaries for training.

Furthermore, learning focuses on achieving permanent 4 changes in behaviour while training focuses on the acquisition of new skills and knowledge with training interventions being event driven. Memory refers to the processes that are used to acquire, store, retain and later retrieve information (Kendra Cherry). The process of forming a memory is composed of three components encoding, storage and retrieval. In order for pieces of information to make sense the brain encodes all the information to form memories and stores it.

A memory, when brought into consciousness is known as retrieved memory. Memories can be of three types; sensory memory that is collected from the first hand experiences and is very brief. Short term memory is what is in the conscious awareness, whereas long term memory is what is not in the conscious awareness and might have to be retrieved, according to Freud short term memory would be the conscious and long term memory the unconscious. Ebbinghaus, who was a pioneer of the experimental study of memory, did extensive research on memory, memory formation and memory decay.

Through his experiments he devised the forgetting curve of memory which revealed a relationship between forgetting and time. He suggested that information, initially, is often lost very quickly after it is learned but after a certain point the amount of forgetting levels off. This indicates that information stored in long-term memory is surprisingly stable. (Hermann Ebbinghaus) Labyrinth is a term in Greek Mythology, which basically denotes a maze in which the Minotaur was confined (The Free Dictionary).

The most ancient of labyrinths are Cretan labyrinths that are surrounded by an aura of mysticism and skepticism, this was the elaborate structure designed to hold Minotaur. Next are the Egyptian Labyrinth and the Leminian Labyrinth which are more densely routed and complex than the Cretan Labyrinth. Although the true origins of the mazes and labyrinths probably go back to Neolithic times, the earliest mazes were actually parts of architectural monuments built in Egypt and on Crete about 4000 years ago (Christopher Berg).

Edward Chase Tolman, a pioneer in the areas of learning and motivation, claimed that everything important in psychology can be investigated in essence through the continued experimental and theoretical analysis of the determinants of rat behavior at a choice-point in a maze. A maze is defined by Webster as a confusing, intricate network of MAZE LEARNING 5 winding pathways; specifically with one or more blind alleys. Furthermore, one could perceive a maze as a complex structure with a series of interconnecting pathways that eventually has to be solved by pursuing a goal.

The term is also used to refer to a graphical puzzle that replicates the maze on a two dimensional medium (S. E. Smith). Mazes, in psychology, have contributed greatly to understanding complex human behavior. Moreover, maze studies have helped uncover astounding principles about learning that can be applied to many species, including humans. The fact that researchers have even used mazes to figure out if men and women are different in the way they perceive suggests the important role mazes have played throughout. In this context a study was carried out by B.

Jones that looked at trial and error learning in humans using a virtual maze and at looked at the gender differences where the participants were tested using the Online Psychology Laboratory Maze. Another study which attempted to uncover if multiple trials allow a researcher to determine how ability can develop and change over trials and that the importance of task components fluctuates during the stages of learning (O’Neill, 1978). The findings gave the impression that repeated trail can help the participant develop the knowledge of the maze and make fewer errors.

Yet one more research finding on mazes indicated that no matter how well the maze is learned, the subject will never able to dispense with sensory guidance and that there is throughout this type of functioning a close cooperation between sensory and motor adjustments (Ailene Morris). There are two main categories of mazes which are then further subdivided into various types. A Unicursal maze is without branches, it has no dead ends and there is one path that leads to the end whereas, a multicursal maze is one with branches and dead ends. Among the various types of mazes are Blind Alleys are mazes that have a branch that is a dead end.

Simply-connected mazes have pathways that never re-connect with one another, so every path leads to additional paths, a fork, or to a dead end and there is only one solution to a simply-connected maze. A multiplyconnected maze contains one or more passages that loop back into other passages, rather than leading to dead ends. A more complex form of the multiply-connected maze is the braid maze. A weave maze has pathways that go under and over each other and can be in multiple dimensions, while a logic maze must be navigated by adhering to logical rules in addition to following its passages such as symbols or following colour schemes.

A Plainair maze, however, is a maze on something other than a flat surface. For example, a maze painted on the outside of a cube or sphere. MAZE LEARNING A principle that is derived from the extensive study of mazes is known as cognitive mapping; 6 making a mental picture of one’s physical or spatial environment (APA). A cognitive map allows one to construct and accumulate spatially defined images whose function is to enhance recall and learning of information. This type of spatial thinking can also be used in non-spatial tasks. Chaining is a behaviour technique that involves breaking a task down into smaller components.

The simplest or first task in the process is taught first, and then after this has been learned, the next task can be taught. This continues until the entire sequence is successfully chained together (Kendra Cherry). Maze learning is an example of a successive chaining, when animal runs down a maze it chains the route through the subsequent goals and dead ends all in all the entire stimuli present in the environment gives the animal clues and make his cognitive map (Terrace). The aim of this study is to see if transfer of training facilitates performance.

It is assumed that the practice of one maze will facilitate the chances of transfer of training on the second maze and that participants having knowledge of practical will have more successful trials than participants who do not have any prior knowledge. Method Participants: There were two groups of participants that participated in the study. Group 1 composed of 28 people who had no prior knowledge of maze leaning. While Group 2 composed of 29 participants who had prior knowledge of maze learning. The total sample was that of 56 students who were chosen conveniently from Bahria University.

The design of the experiment was independent measures design. Materials: Match box, scissor, glue, mazes A, stop watch and a blindfold. Two mazes were extracted from the internet and the participants of group 2 constructed the entire maze using match sticks to cover all the branches and boundaries of the maze. It was later discovered that both mazes were multicursal and simply connected. Procedure: The experiment was conducted in the experimental lab, with controlled conditions. In the first phase of the experiment participants from group 1, who had no prior knowledge of maze learning, were tested.

The experimenter blindfolded the participant and traced their finger, twice, along maze A (in some cases a thin object such as a pen or pencil was used). During the whole procedure it was tediously made sure that the participant did not see the mazes. Following MAZE LEARNING 7 this the participant was given a ten second break and then told to complete the maze again with no help from the experimenter this time. After given five minutes to complete this maze, the participant was told to stop and the blindfold was undone for two minutes.

The same procedure was then followed for maze B that is tracing twice with the experimenter’s help, a break and then five minutes for the trial for maze B. Throughout the experimenter observed the errors made and the progress of the participant. In the second phase of the experiment the participants from group 2, who had prior knowledge of maze learning, were tested following the exact same procedure that is tracing twice maze A and then later maze B with an experimenter’s help, a break of ten seconds, then five minutes for the trial for maze A and later maze B.

Results Table I Showing results of Maze A of Group 1 Participants 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Successive Trials 1 3 3 2 4 0 1 1 4 2 5 0 1 4 Errors 0 4 7 3 0 0 3 0 0 1 0 5 14 0 MAZE LEARNING 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 1 4 5 2 1 1 0 0 2 0 1 0 4 0 3 10 4 2 4 0 3 10 8 20 20 7 10 8 8 Total 52 146 Table II Showing results of Maze B of Group 1 Participants 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Successful Traits 5 2 3 1 0 0 0 0 3 Errors 10 0 4 4 0 3 5 2 0 MAZE LEARNING 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2 5 0 8 4 3 2 2 5 2 0 0 0 2 2 2 0 3 2 1 4 13 0 15 0 9 0 20 0 11 3 2 2 25 1 3 2 9 Total 58 148 Table III Showing results of Maze A of Group 2 Participants 1 2 3 4 Successful Trials 5 0 3 3 Errors 1 2 3 3 MAZE LEARNING 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 2 3 1 1 7 7 3 4 3 5 4 3 4 3 1 1 4 1 2 2 2 3 2 0 0 8 4 2 3 1 12 4 1 0 2 2 7 4 5 4 1 1 14 0 1 1 5 0 10 Total 79 91 MAZE LEARNING Table IV Showing results of Maze B of Group 2 Participants 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 Successful Traits 5 0 0 6 4 8 10 1 10 11 7 5 3 7 7 2 8 5 1 4 4 2 1 3 2 4 Errors 0 4 0 4 0 0 0 3 0 1 5 7 0 3 0 0 3 3 0 2 0 2 1 0 5 0 1 MAZE LEARNING 27 28 0 5 3 0 12 Total 125 46 Calculations:- = 41. 7% = 58. 2% = 35. 03% = 64. 96% MAZE LEARNING Graph I Showing results of comparison between Maze A and Maze B 13 Comparison between both the mazes 42% Maze A Maze B 58% Graph II Showing results of comparison between Group 1 and Group 2 (c and d) Comparison between both the groups 35% Group 1 65% Group 2 MAZE LEARNING Discussion It was proved that practice of one maze facilitates the transfer of training on the second maze 14 hich meant that most of the participants performed well on maze B as compared to maze A. An interesting research by Edward Tolman on rats and mazes showed that once the rats knew where there goal in the maze was, they could find their way through the maze. Thus, Tolman’s and this research show that people form a cognitive map of the spatial layout of the situation rather than just leaning to make a series of responses. However, one single most undermining factor that could cause this is the carry over effects the participants might have carried over from maze A.

Furthermore, there might been quite a many extraneous variables present in the environment that the experimenter failed to control; hence, they became confounding variables. These include noise distractions, the close seating arrangement of the participants and experimenter bias. It was further noted that even though both mazes were multicursal participants found maze B relatively easier and more straight forward than maze A, pointing more towards the fact that practicing on one maze improved their performance.

Likewise, the participants who had prior knowledge of mazes performed better than the participants who did not. This meant that hypothesis 2 was also proved. David Ausubel a pioneer in educational psychology who emphasized on prior learning said “If I had to reduce all of educational psychology to just one principle, I would say this: The most important single factor influencing learning is what the learner already knows. Ascertain this and teach him accordingly. The results of this research highlight the importance of prior learning. Nevertheless, the participants of group 2 were also the ones who constructed the maze, which meant that they possibly brought forward transfer effects. Moreover, the participants in group two were in a more comfortable setting than the participants in group one who were not in their comfort zone. Besides, there were four students who were not from the psychology department and might have been anxious because of the new and unfamiliar place and setting.

In addition to this some participants used a pencil, pen or a sharp object to complete the maze instead of their fingers, which meant less tactile experience and learning and might be a contributing factor as to why group 1 performed poorly. MAZE LEARNING References: American Psychological Association. (2013). Dictionary. com Unabridged. Retrieved from http://dictionary. reference. com/browse/cognitive map Ausubel, D. (1968). Educational implications of concept mapping. Joseph D. Novak & D. Bob Gowin (2002). Learning how to learn (pp. 40). UK, Cambridge University Press. Berg, C. 2011). The History of Mazes and Labyrinths. Amazing Art. N/A. Retrieved from http://amazeingart. com/maze-faqs/ancient-mazes. html Cherry, K. (N/A). An Overview of Memory. Memory. N/A. Retrieved from http://psychology. about. com/od/cognitivepsychology/a/memory. htm Ebbinghaus, H. (1885). Memory: A Contribution to Experimental Psychology. Classics in the History of Psychology. N/A. Retrieved from http://psy. ed. asu. edu/~classics/Ebbinghaus/index. htm 15 Eddie, W. L. & Danny, C. K. (2001). A review of transfer of training studies in the past decade. Personnel Review, Vol. 0 No. 1, 102-118. Retrieved from http://www. owlnet. rice. edu/~ajv2/courses/12a_psyc630001/Cheng%20&%20Ho%20(2001)%20 PR. pdf Feldman, R. S. (2009). Psychological Approaches to Learning, 177. Retrieved from http://www. studymode. com/essays/Psychological-Approaches-To-Learning-730466. html Jones, B. (2011). Gender Difference-Mazes, 09. Retrieved from http://www. studymode. com/essays/Gender-Difference-Mazes-774551. html Morris, A. (1994). A Descriptive Study of Maze Learning, 67-69. Retrieved from http://digital. library. okstate. edu/oas/oas_pdf/v25/p67_69. df Terrace, H. (2010). The Comparative Psychology of Serially Organized Behavior. Comparitive Cognition and Behaviour Reviews, Vol. 5, 23-58. Retrieved from http://psyc. queensu. ca/ccbr/Vol5/Terrace. pdf MAZE LEARNING Tolman, E. C. (1953). Edward Tolman and cognitive maps. Douglas Mook (2004), Classic experiments in psychology (pp. 139-142). Westport, Greenwood Press. Vestor, F. (1998). Die Deutsche Schule, 93(2), 186-198. Retrieved from http://www. oecd. org/edu/ceri/34926352. pdf 16 MAZE LEARNING 17 Appendix A: Maze A & B MAZE LEARNING Appendix A 18 MAZE LEARNING 19

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