Logans Micromolar Theory

The American psychologist Frank A Logan (1924- ) formulated micromolar theory, which defines the quantitative aspects of various types of responses - such as speed, volume, and amplitude - where such aspects or dimensions become part of what the person actually learns (cf., correspondence theory/ law - borrowed from the works of the Danish physicist Niels Bohr (1885-1962), this approach states that whatever is true of "molecu lar" behavior is true, also, of "molar" behavior, and that a unifying principle may be discovered ultimately). In the classical view of response parameters, as exemplified in C. L. Hull's macromolar theory, response classes are defined in terms of their achievements (e.g., running a maze, pressing a lever), and variations in the response (e.g., speed and amplitude) during training are taken to be indices of the strength of the "response tendency." Logan's micromolar theory, on the other hand, identifies a dimension (e.g., speed) as containing different responses that are learned selectively and influenced by differential reinforcement. Logan's theory is essentially a utility analysis where the net utility of a particular response, such as speed, is given by its positive utility minus its associated negative utility. The profile of net utility across a particular response (e.g., speed) continuum is used then to calculate the probability distribution of the various responses (e.g., speeds). In experiments within the context of the Hull-Spence stimulus-response incentive theory, Logan found that humans' performance speed (and "learning to learn") is dependent on practice speed. Logan also described the hybrid theory of learning that combines the features of various existing theories into a single system. Among the unique aspects of the hybrid theory is the hypothe-sization of two kinds of learning process: a cognitive-associative process for classical conditioning and a stimulus-response process for operant conditioning. The importance of Logan's micromolar theory has been primarily that of "conceptual housecleaning" within learning theory where several theoretical puzzles connected with the problem of how reinforcement shapes behavior have been unraveled and better understood. See also HULL'S LEARNING THEORY; LEARNING THEORIES/LAWS; PAVLOVIAN CONDITIONING/PRINCIPLES/LAWS/THEORIES; SKINNER'S DESCRIPTIVE BEHAVIOR/ OPERANT CONDITIONING THEORY; SPENCE'S THEORY. REFERENCES

New York: Appleton-Century-Cro-fts.

Logan, F. (1956). A micromolar approach to behavior theory. Psychological Review, 63, 63-73. Logan, F. (1977). Hybrid theory of classical conditioning. In G. Bower (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation. Vol. 2. New York: Academic Press. Logan, F. (1979). Hybrid theory of operant conditioning. Psychological Review, 86, 507-541.

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