Cognitive versus stimulus-response theories of learning

Peter C. Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


In his 1948 address to the Division of Theoretical-Experimental Psychology of the American Psychological Association, Kenneth W. Spence discussed six distinctions between cognitive and stimulus-response (S-R) theories of learning. In this article, I first review these six distinctions and then focus on two of them in the context of my own research. This research concerns the specification of stimulus-stimulus associations in associative learning and the characterization of the neural systems underlying those associations. In the course of describing Spence's views and my research, I hope to communicate some of the richness of Spence's S-R psychology and its currency within modern scientific analyses of behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)227-241
Number of pages15
JournalLearning and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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