Behaviourism Research Assignment
1. Origins of Behaviourism
The origins of behaviourism is dated back to the early 20th century. Although it sounds obvious today, in the early days, it was considered a radical idea. Prior to the formalisation of behaviourism, psychology as a science had stopped progressing. Due to failures used by scientist of self assessment and the information collected was considered subjective. However, this opened up the possibility of using animals to study behaviour, enter Ivan Pavlov and his dog.
At the end of the 19th century, psychology was not a discipline in its own right, but considered an emerging philosophy. A group of professors, mostly in philosophy and theology, were pushing the movement towards practical applications in psychology.
John B Watson was the first to term behaviourism in relation to school of psychology. The theory being behaviourism is that behaviour can be studied and observed independent of internal mental states.
2. The Learning theories supporting behaviourism
The basic understanding of behaviourism is that learning is manifested by a change in behaviour and the environment shapes behaviour. Behaviourist also believed behaviour can be changed by conditioning. During the progression of behaviourism, two learning theories were established to explain how different stimulus affected behaviour. These theories are:
Classical conditioning was one of the first behaviorist model. The basic premise is behavior tendencies are in response to immediate stimuli. The theory identified that behavior which a naturally occurring or reflexive can be induced by pairing a stimulus with a response. After a period of time, it was observed that the previously neutral stimulus eventually evoked the response without the presence of the naturally occurring stimulus.
Operant conditioning refers to the theory that voluntary behaviour can be modified by consequences, either positive or negative. The...