Maze learning psychology experiment

Hello friends, how are you all? I hope you all are happy and enjoying the rain today. Friends, today I will talk about the use of Maze Learning. 

Maze learning experiment

Introduction– “Learning is the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, attitudes, and preferences.’’

[1] The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals, and some machines; there is also evidence for some kind of learning in certain plants.

[2] Some learning is immediate, induced by a single event (e.g. being burned by a hot stove), but much skill and knowledge accumulate from repeated experiences.

[3] The changes induced by learning often last a lifetime, and it is hard to distinguish learned material that seems to be “lost” from that which cannot be retrieved. 

Theory of Thorndike ,”According to Thorndike’s theory, when an organism is placed in a new situation, it reacts without understanding. His responses are faulty. When that organism is kept repeatedly under the same conditions, then its random and aimless actions are reduced. After many attempts, a stage comes when the organism is kept in those conditions, The organism responds only appropriately. So the mind learns through effort and error.

Experiment of Thorndike,” For an experiment, Thorndike designed a box made of seashells and the door of this box  was opened by pressing a special lever. Thorndike  locked a hungry cat in this box.The cat’s favorite food was placed outside the cage, which was visible to the cat from the vents and this food was a stimulus for the cat. A record of the cat’s overall behavior in each attempt was prepared. The stimulus (food) triggered a reaction in the cat. The cat started jumping around in the cage. His sole purpose of jumping was to get out and get food. 

In the first attempt, during the period of the cat’s useless actions, the door opened by chance due to its paw falling on the lever.When the door opened, the cat came out and got his favorite food. As in the first attempt, the cat was starved in each other attempt and other attempts were repeated as in the first attempt. It was seen in the experiment that as the effort increased, his wasted activities became less and the time also decreased. After several attempts, it was observed that when a hungry cat was put in a cage, it would press the lever and when the door was opened, it came out to get its favorite food.So the cat learned on the basis of stimulus-response relationship.

Name of the experiment-Maze learning 

Purpose: To demonstrate the effect of practice on maze learning.

Hypothesis-The number of errors and time taken by the subject on maze will decrease as the number of trials will increase. 


Independent Variable-Number of trials on maze

Dependent Variable-Time taken and number of errors committed by subject in each trial. 

• Material used -stylus moze, stop-watch, stylus, blindfold, writing material. 

Subject’s details-Name, Age, Sex, Educational Qualification


Preliminary Set up -First of all the paths of the maze were labelled with the help of inserting a paper in the maze. The correct paths were given names in capital letters while blind alleys were named in small letters of the English alphabet. Stopwatch was checked for proper functioning. Observation table to note down the path followed by the subject and time taken in each trial was mode. 

Procedure-  The subject was called and seated comfortably. A rapport was established during which her/his details were sought. Thereafter she was given the following instructions.

I will be blindfolding your eyes and then a maze will be placed before you. It is a wooden board having a starting point and a goal point. It has one correct path and a number of incorrect paths. I will give you a pencil like stylus with the help of which you have to trace your path. You have to move your stylus in the grooved portion of the maze and not take it out from the groove. I will be giving you a signal of ‘ready! Thereafter shortly I will give a signal of ‘start’ at which you have to start moving your stylus. I will be timing you so try and learn the maze as fast as you can. Have you understood everything?

. After ensuring that the subject had understood all what she had to do, she was blindfolded and the maze was kept in front of her. She was made to hold the stylus from the top so that her hand does not touch the maze. The signal of ‘ready’ was given. Thereafter, as soon as the ‘start’ signal was given, stopwatch was also started and the path taken by the subject was carefully noted down. In the first trial the subject took ….min…seconds. Same procedure was followed till the subject learnt the maze. The criterion of learning the maze is three consecutive errorless trials (Retracing & blind alley error). The subject took…trials to learn the maze. 

Precautions-The following were taken care of

1. The subject did not get to see the moze before the experiment. 

2.  It was assured that the subject held the stylus from the top, so that her/his hand may not touch the maze board. 

3. Path followed, time taken and errors committed were noted down carefully.

4. Subject was not allowed to lift the stylus in between a trial. 


The path followed and the time taken by subject in each trial

                     Table 1

Number of trials Path followed by the subject Time taken ( in second)
1 ABCabDEFGHI 80 sec
2 ABCDdEFGHI 45 sec
3 ABCDcEFGHI 28 sec
4 ABCDEeFGHI 30 sec
5 ABCDdEFGHI 25 sec


                      Table 2 

Time taken and errors commited in each trial

Trials Time taken Retracing errors Blind alleys Total error
1 80 sec 0 2 2
2 45 sec 0 1 1
3 28 sec 0 1 1
4 30 sec 0 1 1
5 25 sec 0 1 1
6 13 sec 0 0 0
7 12 sec 0 0 0
8 11 sec 0 0

In the last you have to write the interpretation of the experiment

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