Patterson, Michael M. College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio.
Last reviewed:June 2019
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- Definition of learning
- Relationship between learning and memory
- Physiological processes
- Research methods
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The gathering, processing, storage, and recall of information received through the senses. The mechanisms involved in learning are associated with those processes, activities, structural components, and alterations of the nervous system that produce the behavioral manifestations and changes due to experience and event associations (rather than those due to maturation, fatigue, and other developmental or temporary states). The search for a neural basis of learning, including the areas of the brain involved in learning (Fig. 1), has long been guided by several central issues. For example, in complex learning tasks that require sensory information processing and learning, there are various levels of involvement of the higher brain structures. However, the question of the primary location of various learning processes remains. In addition, certain human brain systems (probably in the frontal lobes of the human brain) may have evolved to support the complex learning of self-awareness and language, which is characteristic of humans. See also: Brain; Human brain evolution; Information processing (psychology); Linguistics; Nervous system (vertebrate); Neurobiology; Problem solving (psychology); Vertebrate brain (evolution)
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