The Behaviourist Approach

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  • Behaviourist Approach
    • Assumptions
      • All behaviours are learnt from our environment
      • Focuses on observable behaviour
      • Animals and humans learn in the same way so behaviourists carry out experiments on animals and apply it to humans
      • Psychology should be scientific and objective - use mainly lab experiments
    • Types of Learning
      • Classical Conditioning is learning through association
        • Pavlov and his dogs - dogs salvate when seeing food, and Pavlov attempted to match this behaviour when a bell rang
        • UCS (Food)-> UCR (Salvation)
        • NS (Bell)
        • UCS (Food) + NS (Bell) -> UCR (Salvation)
        • CS (Bell) -> CR (Salvation)
      • Operant Conditioning is learning through reinforcement, both negative and positive
        • Skinner's Box - Hungry rat placed in cage, when he activated lever a food pelet fell out and the rat learned to go straight to the lever
        • Other Condition - a rat placed in a cage which they were subjected to electric shock when it hit the lever the electric shock stopped and the rats learned to go straight to the lever (negative reinforcement)
    • Evaluation
      • Scientific Credibility - used language and methods that are replicable, objectifiable and measurable by highly controlled lab settings - increasing reliability and credibility
      • Has real life application - practical application - systematic desensitisation based on two process model using both classical and operant conditioning
      • Environmentally deterministic - it dissociates the use of free will within a human and suggests all behaviour is determined by past experience
      • Humans learning is more complex than animals, our brains and the way we see things are more complicated and therefore we cannot apply the research to humans


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