Behaviourist approach

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  • The Learning Approach- Behaviourism
    • Assumptions
      • Observable + measurable behaviour
      • No interest in underlying mental processes
      • Basic processes that govern learning are same in all species
      • Use animals
      • Lab experiments
    • Classical Conditioning- Pavlov
      • Dog can be conditioned to salivate due to sound of a bell
      • Before conditioning Food (UCS) -> salivation (UCR)        Bell (NS) -> No response
      • During Conditioning Bell + Food (UCS)-> Salivation (UCR)
      • After Conditioning Bell (CS) -> Salivation (CR)
    • Operant Conditioning- Skinner
      • Learning active process
      • 3 Consequences of behaviour
      • Positive Reinforcement- rewarded when behaviours are performed (strengthens behaviour)
      • Negative Reinforcement- Avoids something unpleasant
      • Punishment- Unpleasant consequences behaviour (Weakens behaviour)
      • Skinners Box- rat activate lever reward with food, conditioned to perform behaviour to avoid shock
    • Evaluation
      • Scientific Credibility
        • Emphasised importance of scientific processes e.g Objectivity and replication , lab studies
        • Brought language and methods of science into psych, great credibility
      • Real-life application
        • OC- Token Economy systems successful in institutions e.g Prisons, Psychiatric wards
        • Treatment of Phobias - Little Albert less effort for patient as don't have to think about problem
      • Mechanistic View of Behaviour
        • SLT + cognitive approach placed emphasis on mental event during learning
        • Suggest humans play more active role in learning than animals.
      • Ethical  + practical issues
        • Animals exposed to stressful + averse conditions- affect reaction Lack   validity not normal


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