Theories of Behaviorism Essay

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Theories of Behaviorism For centuries, psychologists have tried to answer why humans respond in particular ways to different stimulus. To understand what drives or motivates humans to respond to different stimulus the way they do, it is essential to compare and contrast the major principles developed to understand conditioned responses, operant responses and Neobehaviorism. By looking at the comparisons and contrasts of each theory, a better understanding of the human condition and how to combat addictions and even phobias can be achieved. Classical Conditioning Classical conditioning is described by Lieberman (2012) to mean an “important event [that] reliably precedes a stimulus; the stimulus often comes to elicit the same behavior as the event it predicts” (p. 44). For example, “if the presentation of a light is repeatedly followed by a puff of air to the eye…then the light on its own would eventually begin to elicit a blink” (Lieberman, 2012, p. 44). What this means is that there are innate responses build into every creature on earth. They are there to protect us—it is not something we have to learn, but is actually a protection device to protect us from particular harm, no matter how slight or severe. Another example would be when the wind blows dust into the air; our eyes will automatically blink and even tear up if a foreign object (dust) enters the eyes. When our eyes tear up to wash the foreign particle out, this is an inborn response that no one has to learn, it is hard coded into each of us. As Lieberman (2012) points out, “Classical conditioning allows us to prepare for forthcoming events” (p.44). Psychologists have spent a great deal of time and effort laying the foot work of classical conditioning that has led to a greater understanding of the learning processes in humans. We are not always aware that classical conditioning has even taken
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