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Edmon Low Library

Charles Abramson

Co-Author of "Mathematical Modeling of the learning curve and its practical applications"

February 6, 2023

Dr. Charles I. Abramson is a Regents Professor and has been at OSU for 30 years. He is an internationally recognized scholar and educator in the area of comparative psychology and is the author of over 300 articles and 22 books/special issue editions. Dr. Abramson is the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Comparative Psychology and has earned numerous awards for his research and teaching including being inducted into both the Oklahoma Educators Hall of Fame and the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame—an exceeding rare achievement. His research and teaching has taken him to approximately 30 countries including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, France, Greece, Japan, Russia, Tanzania and Venezuela. His research is multifaceted and varied including the development of mathematical models, the effect of agrochemicals on behavior, history of psychology, and comparisons of learning across both humans and non-human animals. He has worked with over 30 species of animal including several species of invertebrates, llamas, horses, and the usual laboratory animals such as rats, pigeons and fish.

Mathematical models of learning are not only of scientific interest but also very important from a clinical perspective because memory impairment is a common symptom of many neurological and psychiatric diseases. Surprisingly, no quantitative analysis of the learning curve has ever been applied to such well-known clinical instruments as the California Verbal Learning Test, Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test, and others. The authors present a mathematical model of the learning process based on the first order transfer function and is suitable for practical applications. Their model has the form B3*exp(-B2*(trial-1))+B4*(1-exp(-B2*(trial-1))). The parameters are: B2 — the learning rate; B3 — the value of correct responses at X = 1; B4 — the asymptotic value of correct responses at X = Infinity. Coefficient B3 is designated as “readiness to learn” and B4 — as “ability to learn”. Coefficient B2 is the inverse value of the time constant, so the higher B2 value the faster is the learning rate and fewer trials (repetitions) is necessary to reach the asymptote. The authors also provide a memory test that can be used to assess memory of adults and children. Their model is applicable to many situations including the testing of products presumed to improve memory and the effect of consumer drugs on memory.


Last Updated: 8 March 2023