The learning approach-Behaviourism

  • Created by: MollyL20
  • Created on: 21-12-20 12:35
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  • The learning approach- Behaviourism
    • Assumptions
      • Only interested in studying behaviour that can be observed and measured. Early behaviourists such as John B Watson (1913) rejected introspection as it involved too man concepts that were vague and difficult to measure
      • So, behaviourist tried to maintain more control and objectivity within their research and relied on a lab experiment as the best way to achieve this
      • Following Darwin, behaviourists suggested that the basic processes that govern the learning are the same in all species, meaning that in behaviourist studies, animals an replace humans as subjects. They identified 2 forms of learning: classical and operant
    • Classical conditioning- Pavlov
      • Classical conditioning is learning through association and was first demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov
      • Pavlov revealed that dogs could be conditioned to salivate to the sound of the bell if that sound was repeatedly presented at the same time as they were given food.
      • Pavlov was able to show how a neutral stimulus (bell) can come elicit new learned response (conditioned response) through association
    • Operant conditioning
      • BF Skinner (1953) suggested that learning is an active process whereby humans and animals operate on their environment. In operant conditioning there are 3 types of consequences of behaviour
      • Positive reinforcement is receiving a reward when a certain behaviour is performed. Negative reinforcement occurs when an animal avoids something unpleasant. Punishment is an unpleasant consequence of behaviour
      • Positive and negative reinforcement increase the likelihood that behaviour will be repeated. Punishment decreases the chance of repeated behaviour
    • Evaluation
      • Scientific credibility
        • Behaviourism was able to bring the language and methods of the natural sciences into psychology by focusing on the measurement of observable behaviour within highly controlled lab settings
        • By emphasising the importance of scientific processes such as objectivity and replication, behaviourism was inflectional in the development of psychology as a scientific discipline, giving it greater credibility and status
      • Real-life applications
        • Operant conditioning is the basis of token economy systems that have been used successfully in institutions. These work by rewarding appropriate behaviour
        • This kind of treatment have the advantage of requiring less effort from a patient because they don't have to think about their problem
      • Mechanistic view of behaviour
        • From a behaviourist perspective, animals are seen as passive and machine-like responders to the environment, with little or no conscious insight into their behaviour
        • The SLT and the cognitive approach have the emphasis on the importance of mental events during learning
        • These processes mediate between stimulus and response, suggests that people may play a more active role in their own learning, meaning it may apply less to human behaviour


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