Learned Creativity and Variability

Beginning in the 1970's, some psychologists began to criticize the use of rewards to promote learning. Tangible rewards, as well as praise and attention, they argued, could interfere with creativity, problem-solving ability, motivation, and enjoyment. Fortunately, these concerns were allayed in the 1990's by careful research and examination of previous research, most notably that

Children can learn to be creative in their drawing; creativity was formerly thought to be outside the domain of learning. (EyeWire)

of Eisenberger and Judy Cameron. Together, they analyzed the results of more than one hundred published studies on the effects of rewards and found that in general, rewards increase interest, motivation, and performance. The only situation in which rewards had detrimental effects was when they were offered independently of performance. In other words, giving "rewards" regardless of how the person does is bad for morale and interest.

Furthermore, several aspects of performance previously thought to be beyond the domain of learning, such as creativity and even randomlike behavior, have been demonstrated to be sensitive to consequences. Children can learn to be creative in their drawing, in terms of the number of novel pictures drawn, using rewards for novelty. Similarly, as shown by the work of American psychologist Allen Neuringer and his colleagues, people and animals alike can learn to engage in strings of unpredictable behavior that cannot be distinguished from the random sort of outcomes generated by a random number generator. This finding is particularly interesting given that this novel behavior has been found to generalize to new situations, beyond the situation in which the learning originally occurred. Learned variability has been demonstrated in dolphins, rats, pigeons, and humans, including children with autism. Learning to be creative and to try new approaches has important implications for many aspects of daily life and problem solving.

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Understanding And Treating Autism

Understanding And Treating Autism

Whenever a doctor informs the parents that their child is suffering with Autism, the first & foremost question that is thrown over him is - How did it happen? How did my child get this disease? Well, there is no definite answer to what are the exact causes of Autism.

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