Psychology Essay

1751 WordsJun 21, 20128 Pages
If your layperson's idea of psychology has always been of people in laboratories wearing white coats and watching hapless rats try to negotiate mazes in order to get to their dinner, then you are probably thinking of behavioral psychology. Behaviourism is different from most other approaches because they view people (and animals) as controlled by their environment and specifically that we are the result of what we have learned from our environment. Behaviourism is concerned with how environmental factors (called stimuli) affect observable behavior (called the response). The behaviorist approach proposes two main processes whereby people learn from their environment: namely classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Classical conditioning involves learning by association, and operant conditioning involves learning from the consequences of behavior. Behaviourism also believes in scientific methodology (e.g. controlled experiments), and that only observable behavior should be studies because this can be objectively measured. Behaviourism rejects the idea that people have free will, and believes that the environment determines all behaviour. Behaviourism is the scientific study of observable behavior working on the basis that behavior can be reduced to learned S-R (Stimulus-Response) units. Classical Conditioning (CC) was studied by the Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov. Though looking into natural reflexes and neutral stimuli he managed to condition dogs to salivate to the sound of a bell through repeated associated of the sound of the bell and food. The principles of CC have been applied in many therapies. These include systematic desensitisation for phobias (step-by-step exposed to feared stimulus at once) and aversion therapy. B.F. Skinner investigated Operant Conditioning of voluntary and involuntary behaviour. Skinner felt that some behaviour could be

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