Freud Essay

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Behaviorism (also called the behavioral approach) was the primary paradigm in psychology between 1920s to 1950 and is based on a number of underlying assumptions regarding methodology and behavioral analysis: * Psychology should be seen as a science. Theories need to be supported by empirical data obtained through careful and controlled observation and measurement of behavior. Watson stated that “psychology as a behaviorist views it is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science. Its theoretical goal is … prediction and control” (1913, p. 158). * Behaviorism is primarily concerned with observable behavior, as opposed to internal events like thinking and emotion. Observable (i.e. external) behavior can be objectively and scientifically measured. Internal events, such as thinking should be explained through behavioral terms (or eliminated altogether). * People have no free will – a person’s environment determines their behavior * When born our mind is 'tabula rasa' (a blank slate). * There is little difference between the learning that takes place in humans and that in other animals. Therefore research can be carried out on animals as well as humans. * Behavior is the result of stimulus – response (i.e. all behavior, no matter how complex, can be reduced to a simple stimulus – response association). Watson described the purpose of psychology as: “To predict, given the stimulus, what reaction will take place; or, given the reaction, state what the situation or stimulus is that has caused the reaction” (1930, p. 11). * All behavior is learnt from the environment. We learn new behavior through classical or operant conditioning. The History of Behaviorism * Pavlov (1897) published the results of an experiment on conditioning after originally studying digestion in dogs. * Watson (1913) launches the behavioral school of

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