Taking a Closer Look at Behaviorists

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Psychology is a science that focuses primarily on the study of the mind, but it can also be the study of behavior. “Behaviorism is a worldview that assumes a learner is essentially passive, responding to environmental stimuli. The learner starts off as a clean slate and behavior is shaped through positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement. Both positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement increase the probability that the antecedent behavior will happen again." The study of only behavior in Psychology is called Behaviorism. The Psychologists who study the school of Behaviorism go by the title of Behaviorists or Behavioral Psychologists. Behaviorists have their own theories and principles that they follow in their study. Behaviorists believe two specific principles that are different from other studies in Psychology. The first is that Psychology is only the study of behavior, and it has nothing to do with the unconscious mind. The second is that the sources of behavior are observable and external. Behavior cannot be described as a mental event. This means that behavior is not affected by a certain mental state or emotion. Behavior is determined by the subject’s environment and common surroundings. There are five different types of Behaviorism: Watson’s Methodological Behaviorism, Hull’s Neobehaviorism, Tolman’s Cognitive Behaviorism, Bandura’s Social Learning Theory, and Skinner’s Radical Behaviorism. Methodological Behaviorism is the theory that an organism only acts a certain way because of its environment. Methodological Behaviorism does not assume that beliefs or desires affect an organism’s behavior. Methodological Behaviorism played a major role in the research and experimentation done by John Broadus Watson. Wat... ... middle of paper ... ...man of the Psychology department. “B. F. Skinner’s entire system is based on operant conditioning: “the behavior is followed by a consequence, and the nature of the consequence modifies the organism’s tendency to repeat the behavior in the future.” To prove his theory, B. F. Skinner conducted an experiment. A rat was place in a cage that was specially designed by Skinner. The cage was like a normal cage, but it included a large metal bar that served as a pedal. B. F. Skinner called his cage design the “Skinner box.” The pedal was pressed for the rat the first time, and the rat was able to receive a food pellet. After the rat figured out how to retrieve the food, it pressed the pedal several times. The rat eventually had a large pile of food. This experiment proved B. F. Skinner’s Operant Conditioning. The rat would repeat the action it observed to receive the food.

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