The Behaviorist and Cognitive Approaches to Psychology Essay

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The Behaviorist and Cognitive Approaches to Psychology

In this essay I am going to explore two of the major approaches to
Psychology, Cognitive theories and Behaviorist theories. I will
discuss in some detail the two approaches, state how they compare and
illustrate the similarities and the differences between them.

John Watson, one of the founders of Behaviorism, based his theories
on the principles of learning outlined by Pavlov who suggested the
theory known as Classical Conditioning; he trained dogs to salivate
whenever he rang a bell. Dogs have a natural reflex response to
salivate when they see food, Pavlov rang a bell when the dogs were
given food and after several repetitions of this action, the dogs
began to salivate whenever they heard the bell, even when there was
not any food there. This approach rejected the idea of the conscious
mind. Albert Ellis & Aaron T Beck developed the present form of the
Cognitive approach to psychology in the 1950’s. This development
emerged from a growing dissatisfaction with the narrowness of the
behaviorist approach as it neglects complex human activities such as
planning and communication.

Behaviorists emphasize the relationship between the environment
surrounding a person and how it affects a person’s behavior. This
approach has a tendency to ignore mental processes. Behaviorists
believe that studying the brain is not ultimately the best or most
effective way to understand behavior. A person might act oddly in one
particular environment, but normal in others. Whilst cognitive
psychologists agree with the behaviorist theory that the environment
surrounding a person does have some inf...

... middle of paper ...

...hey may be thinking or feeling, if focuses on what
you can see not the emotions. It is difficult to measure the thinking
or feeling of independence and the behaviour of others, as well as the
expectations of others in any particular given situation, for example
John Watson believed that given the right environment anybody could be
made into anything.

Sources of Information

Psychology – A New Introduction by Richard Gross, Rob McIlveen, Hugh
Coolicun, Alan Clamp and Julia Russell (Twelfth Edition)

Hilgards Introduction to Psychology by Rita L Atkinson, Richard C
Atkison, Edward G Smith, Daryl J Bern and Susan Nolen-Hoeksema
(Second Edition)

Basic Psychology by Henry Gleitman (First Edition)

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