Behaviorist Theory

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Behaviorism used learning concentrates entirely on observing, measuring, and modifying behavior. Since Watson, Pavlov, and Skinner began this theory teacher can better discipline their students. Using operant conditioning teachers can use positive reinforcement to get all the students to behave during class. There are few drawbacks to this theory, but there are drawbacks to everything in life.

Behaviorist theory is that any and all behaviors can be learned, emotional or otherwise. This learning is founded on an impression that all behaviors are developed by the means of conditioning. The behaviorist theory has been affected by many important scientists. The main contributors to this theory are: John B. Watson, Ivan Pavlov, and B.F. Skinner. The two major components of the behaviorist theory are from Pavlov and Skinner and they are classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Watson was “the founder of behavioral psychology the aim of which was to predict and control human behavior” (John, 2011). Behaviorism believes that a person’s behavior is the product of the environment in which the subject is involved.

John Watson is the first psychologist who believed that people could be conditioned. A famous quote of by him shows that he believes that the environment has a major control in human behavior. In this quote Watson says that he can take any child and teach them how to be a specialist. Only in his “own specified world” (Behaviorism, 1930) will he be able to do it. It does not matter if that child has “talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, or vocations” (Behaviorism, 1930). He believes that he can condition a child into anything he wants them to be. He thought it would work just like Pavlov and his dogs.


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