Psychology: History And Characteristics: The History Of Behaviorism

explanatory Essay
956 words
956 words

1. History of Behaviorism Behaviorism is the study of human and animal behavior. The idea behind behaviorism is that behavior is altered by stimuli in the environment and can be reinforced by reward or punishment. Behaviorism can be dated back to the 1800’s and has been studied by many psychologists. But the term behaviorism was known to be brought on by psychologist, John Watson, who wrote the article, “Psychology as the behaviorist views it”, that claimed behaviorism should be considered a natural science, rather than a theory. (Malone 2014) In Watson’s eyes “Psychology should embrace behavior as it’s subject matter and rely on experimental observation of that subject matter as its method” (Moore 2011)
Although John Watson was known as the first advocate for behaviorism, B.F Skinner was one of the most popular and influential psychologists that promoted behaviorism. Initially, Watson’s theory emphasized observability of public behavior only, also known as Methodological behaviorism. (Holland 1989) Methodological behaviorist do not believe that the consciousness of an individual can be measured, therefore not making it a “scientific subject matter”. It wasn’t until 1930, that private behavior, such as …show more content…

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that b.f. skinner was known as the father of operant conditioning.
  • Explains that behaviorism is the study of human and animal behavior, which is altered by stimuli in the environment and can be reinforced by reward or punishment.
  • Explains that radical behaviorism focuses keenly on human behavior, and disregards the mental aspects behind understanding behavior. skinner's theory bases behavior as a response to environmental factors.
  • Explains how skinner's rat in a box experiment was positive reinforcement. it was based on the "pizza hut book it" program, which rewarded students with pizza coupons and stickers.

Radical behaviorists such as Skinner do not incorporate mental or psychological states into their studies on behavior. (cooper) According to radical behaviorists “Private events such as thinking or sensing the stimuli produced by a damaged tooth to be no different from public events such as oral reading or sensing the sounds produced by a musical instrument.” (Cooper Heward 1992) This means behavior is made from coming in contact with an event, known as observing. Skinner states “What is felt or or introspectively observed is not some nonphysical world of consciousness, mind or mental life, but the observers own body.” (Cooper Heward

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