About this Research Topic
This approach has recently been influential in the field of neuroscience where one such learning operator, the error correction principle, has unified the understanding of the conditions which facilitate neuron activation with the computational goals of the brain with properties of learning algorithms (e.g., Rescorla & Wagner, 1972). In this Frontiers topic, we are interested in a similar but currently developing aspect to learning theory, which is the application of the associative model to our understanding of individual differences, including psychopathology. In general, learning theories are monolithic, the same theory applies to the rat and the human, and within people the same algorithm is applied to all individuals. If so this might be thought to suggest that there is little that learning theory can tell us about the how males and females differ, how we change over time or why someone develops schizophrenia for instance. However, these theories have wide scope for developing our understanding of when learning occurs and when it is interfered with, along with a variety of methods of predicting these differences. We encourage contributions from researchers studying individual differences, including sex differences, age related changes and those using analog or clinical samples of personality and psychopathological disorders where the outcomes of the research bear directly on theories of associative learning.
This Frontiers topic brings together researchers studying basic learning and conditioning processes but in which the basic emotional, attentional, pathological or more general physiological differences between groups of people are modeled using associative theory. This work may involve varying stimulus properties or temporal relations or modeling the differences between groups.
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.