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The principle laws of association are (1) contiguity, (2) repetition, (3) attention, (4) pleasure-pain, and (5) similarity. The basic laws were formulated by Aristotle in approximately 300 B.C. and by John Locke in the seventeenth century. Both philosophers taught that the mind at birth is a blank slate and that all knowledge has to be acquired by learning. The laws they taught still make up the backbone of modern learning theory.[1]

David Hartley taught that contiguity is the main law of association, and, believing that it is the primary source, Hartley ignored David Hume’s law of resemblance (Warren, 1921).[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Laws of Association - Dictionary of Cognitive Science - Dr. Michael R.W. Dawson and Dr. David A. Medler. Retrieved 8 March 2012.

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