Essay on Is Conceptual Critiques Relevant for Psychology?

Essay on Is Conceptual Critiques Relevant for Psychology?

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We shall consider Skinner’s Operant Conditioning theory as another type of example on Conceptual Critiques (Skinner, 1963). His theory states that the best way to understand a behavior is to look at the association made between the behavior and the consequence of that behavior. Although Skinner’s primary interest was in human behavior, most of his research was done on animals using laboratory apparatus well known as the Skinner box.
Hence, in his experiment, Skinner placed rats in the Skinner box and observed its’ behaviors. Initially, these rats would be randomly moving around exploring, and would usually press the bar accidently. At this point, a food pellet would drop into the tray. He observed that if a hungry rat receives a pellet of food when it presses a lever after, maybe 2 minutes have elapsed since the last pellet, then its response rate increases with the passage of time. In other words, after the first incident of the food pellet dropping into the tray, the rate of the rats pressing the bar rises dramatically and remains high until the rats hunger were satisfied. Thus, this study showed a clear association made between the behavior and the consequence of that behavior. In this case, the consequence of a behavior encouraged the repetition of that behavior also known as positive reinforcement.
On the other hand, Anderson, Bothell, Byrne, Douglass, and Lebiere (2004), commented that Skinner did not show interest on why the organism behaved in this way and instead he was satisfied with knowing what kind of behavior could be expected from various organisms including humans when given a fixed-interval schedule. This comment is a misleading distortion as it overlooks Skinner’s efforts to explain the gradual increase in res...


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...ard a richer view of the scientific method: The role of conceptual analysis. American Psychologist , 62 (7), 671.
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Piaget, J. (1964). Part I: Cognitive development in children: Piaget development and learning. Journal of research in science teaching , 2 (3), 176-186.

Roy, B. (1993). Decision science or decision-aid science? European journal of operational research , 66 (2), 184-203.
Siegel, L. (1982). The development of quantiy concepts: Perceptual and linguistic factors. Children's logical and mathematical cognition , 123-155.
Skinner, B. F. (1963). Operant behavior. American Psychologist , 18 (8), 503.
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