What Is Behaviorism?

Behavioralism, is known as behavioral psychology. It a theory of learning based on the idea that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning, and conditioning occurs through interaction with the environment. Behaviorists believe that our actions are shaped by environment stimuli.

According to this school of thought, behavior can be studied in a systematic and observable manner regardless of internal mental states. Behavioral theory also says that only observable behavior should be considered as cognition, emotions,and mood are far to subjective.

Strict behaviorists believe that any person can be trained to perform any task, regardless of genetic background, personality traits, and internships thoughts- within the limits of the physical capabilities. It only requires the right conditioning.

Behavioralism was formerly established with the 1913 publication of John B. Watson’s classic papers, “ Psychology as the Behavioralists views it.’ It is best summed up by the following quote from Watson, who is considered the father of behaviorism:

Give me a dozen healthy infants, well- formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guaranteed take any one at random and train him become any type of specialist I might select – doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant, chief, and yes, even bigger-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors.””

John B. Watson

Simply put, strict behaviorists believe that all behaviors are the result of experiencing. Any person, regardless of his or her background, can be trained to act I. A particular manner given the right conditioning.

From about 1929 -1950, behavioralism grew to become the dominant school of thought in psychology. Some suggest that the popularity of behavioral psychology grew out of the desire to establish psychology as an objective and measurable science.

During this time, researchers were interested in creating theories that could be clearly described and empirically measured but also used to make contributions that might have an influence on the fabric of everyday human lives.

Types Of Behaviorism

There are two main types of behaviorism used to describe how behavior is formed.

Methodological Behaviorism

Methodological Behaviorism states that observable behavior should be studied scientifically and that mental states and cognitive processes don’t add to the understanding of behavior. Methodological behaviorism aligns with Watson’s ideologies and approach.

Radical Behaviorism

Radical Behaviorism is rooted in the theory that behavior can be understood by environment and the reinforcements within it, thereby influencing behavior either positively or negatively. This behavioral approach was created by the psychologist B. F. Skinner.

Classical Conditioning

Classical Conditioning is a technique frequently used in behavioral training in which a neutral stimulus is paired with a naturally occurring stimulus. Eventually the neutral stimulus comes to evoke the same response as the naturally occurring stimulus, even without the naturally occurring stimulus presenting itself.

Throughout the course of three distinct phases of classical conditioning, associated stimulus becomes known as the conditioned stimulus and the learned behavior is known as conditioned response.

Learning Through Association

The classical conditioning process works by developing as association between an environmental stimulus and a naturally occurring stimulus .

In physiologist Ivan Pavlov’s classic example, dogs associated the presentation of food (something that naturally and automatically triggers a salivation response) at first with the sound of a bell, then with the sight of a lab assistant’s white coat. Eventually, the lab coat elicited a salivation response from the dogs.

Factors That Impact Conditioning

During the first part of the classical conditioning process, known as acquisition, a response is established and strengthened. Factors such as the prominence of the stimuli and the timing of the presentation can play an important role in how quickly an association is formed.

When an association disappears, this is known as extinction and causes the behavior to weaken gradually or vanish. Factors such as the strength of the original response can play a role in how quickly extinction occurs. The longer a response has been conditioned, for example, the longer it may take for it to become extinct.

Operant Conditioning

Operant conditioning, sometime referred to instructional conditioning, is a method of learning that occurs through reinforcement and punishment. Through operant conditioning, an association is made between a behavior and a consequence for that behavior.

This behavioral approach says that when a desirable result follows an action, the behavior becomes more likely to happen again in the future. Conversely, responses followed by adverse outcomes become less likely to occur,

For example Is a child was punished every time they spoke, that child would learn to not talk. And would in turn have poor communication skills.

This behavioral approach says that when a desirable result follows an action, the behavior becomes more likely to happen again in the future. Conversely, responses by adverse outcomes become less likely to occur.

Consequences Affect Learning

Behavioralism B.F. Skinner described operant conditioning as the process in which learning can occur through reinforcement and punishment. More specifically, by forming an association between a certain behavior and that behavior, you learn.

Timing Plays A Role

The process of operant conditioning seems fairly straightforward- simply observe a behavior, then offer a reward or punishment. However, Skinner discovered that the timing of these rewards and punishments had an important influence on how quickly a new behavior is acquired and the strength of the corresponding response.

This makes reinforcement schedules important in operant conditioning and can involve either continuous or partial reinforcement.

  • Continuous reinforcement involves rewarding every single instance of a behavior, it is often utilized at the beginning of the operant conditioning process. Then, as the behavior is learned, the schedule might switch ti one of partial reinforcement.
  • Partial reinforcement involves offering a reward after a number of responses or after a period of time has elapsed. Sometimes, partial reinforcement occurs on a consistent or fixed schedule. In other instances, a variable and an unpredictable number of responses or amount of time must occur before the reinforcement is delivered,

Uses Of Behaviorism

The behaviorist perspective has a few different uses, a couple of which are related to education and mental health.

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