Latent learning and insight learning

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Latent learning and insight learning

Latent learning is a sort of knowledge or learning that occurs when a person has a motivation to display it or an instinct to trigger it. It is a sort of learning that is not immediately apparent; it emerges over time as a result of practice and guidance/reinforcement. In contrast, insight learning is a type of behavioral learning. As a result, it (insight learning) is a sort of learning in which one relies on cognitive experience to image or appeal to a problem and solution within the mind before initiating a behavioral response. Mukherji and Brain, 2005).

Acquisition of knowledge

In latent learning, an individual acquires knowledge through observations but not unveil what they learned until they are inspired or triggered. In insight learning, an individual depends on their cognitive experience and creativity. They do not emulate or learn from others.

Passivity vs Activity

Latent learning is passive in that animals acquire knowledge without intent. Insight learning, on the other hand, is active. Through cognitive experience, the animal manipulates the surroundings to get a suitable and favorable surrounding.

Time frame

In latent learning, knowledge can be acquired over a period. For instance, the continuous reinforcement of a child so the s/he can grasp a particular mathematical concept might take days even months. Insight learning is immediate. For instance, the immediate or instant response to changes within the environment.

Problem-solving and unveiling knowledge

In insight learning, we employ our reasoning and cognitive minds to draw a solution to a problem whereas in latent learning without a trigger or motivation then we are not in a position to unveil what we had earlier learned.


Brain, C., & Mukherji, P. (2005). Understanding child psychology. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes. Retrieved from:

April 26, 2023

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