Introduction – learning lessons

Learning as a basic instinct

Learning from experience is the most basic of human activities. We all do it – even babies do it. They learn to smile. Through experimentation, through trial and error, and through trial and success, they learn that by manipulating certain muscles in their face, they can get a response from Mum and Dad. A little later, they find further muscle combinations that create sounds that obtain an even greater reward – ‘Baby’s first word’.

Babies are little learning machines, and grow up to be big learning machines. Stimuli and responses from the outside world are acquired, connected via neural pathways to existing mental models held in memory, compared against those models, and the mental ...

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