All of The Behaviourist Approach

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Theory, evaluation, methodology

Pretty much everyting you need to understand the behaviourist theory

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Behaviourist Approach
Behaviour is learned. Everything to do with your behaviour can be explained by the things you learn.
Behaviourists also believe that you are born a blank slate. They also believe that psychologists
shouldn't be concerned about analysing thoughts and feelings.
Assumption 1: BEHAVIOUR CAN BE EXPLAINED IN TERMS OF CLASSICAL CONDITIONING
New behaviours can be learnt through association. Explained by Pavlov in 1904 with his
salivating dogs
Assumption 2: BEHAVIOUR CAN BE EXPLAINED IN TERMS OF OPERANT CONDITIONING
New behaviours are learnt through reinforcement
At any time, an organism operates on the environment, resulting in positive consequences
(rewards or REINFORCEMENT) or negative consequences (punishments)
Assumption 3: BEHAVIOUR CAN BE EXPLAINED IN TERMS OF SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY
The behaviourists adopt a deterministic approach to behaviour
People have no free will as a person's environment determine their behaviour
Therefore, there is no need to study though, mental structure. All we need to study is
behaviour
Comparison of classical and operant conditioning
There are many similarities between the two types of conditioning, including extinction and
spontaneous recovery. However, there are significant differences, such as classical conditioning
being a passive process whereas operant conditioning is active. The table below summarises the
comparisons:
Classical conditioning: Operant conditioning:
New behaviours are acquired by associative New behaviours are acquired by associative
learning. learning.
Behaviours may become extinct... Behaviours may become extinct...
... and spontaneously recover. ... and spontaneously recover.
Stimulus generalisation and discrimination
Stimulus generalisation and discrimination occur.
occur.
Based on involuntary reflex behaviour. Based on voluntary behaviour.
Learner is the object of experience (passive
Learner is the subject of experience (active learning).
learning).
Effectiveness of conditioning assessed by size Effectiveness of conditioning assessed by frequency
of response. of response.

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Limitations of the behaviourist approach
1. Behaviourism does not see innate behaviours as significant. Animals have a predisposition
to perform some behaviour over others (theory of preparedness) and so will learn some
behaviour more readily than others.
2. The reduction of learning to stimulus-response associations is an oversimplification.
Learning is more about understanding the relationships between events in the
environment.
This notion is supported by Rescorla (1968), who demonstrated that conditioning is most
effective when the CS is a reliable predictor of the UCS.…read more

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The History of Behaviourism
* Pavlov (1903) published the results of an experiment on conditioning after originally studying
digestion in dogs.
* Watson (1913) launches the behavioural school of psychology (classical conditioning), publishing
an article, "Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It".
* Watson and Rayner (1920) conditioned an orphan called Albert B (aka Little Albert) to fear a white
rat.
* Thorndike (1905) formalised the "Law of Effect".
* Skinner (1936) wrote "The Behavior of Organisms" and introduced the concepts of operant
conditioning and shaping.…read more

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Lab Experiments
Stimulus - Response
Little Albert
Classical Conditioning & Operant Conditioning
Edward Thorndike (the cat in a puzzle
Reinforcement & Punishment (Skinner)
box)
Objective Measurement
Skinner box (rats & pigeons)
Social Learning Theory (Bandura)
Pavlov's Dogs
Nomothetic
Bandura Bobo Doll Experiment
Reductionism
Ethical Considerations
Basic Assumptions Areas of Application
Psychology should be seen as a science, to
be studied in a scientific manner (usually in a
laboratory) Gender Role Development
Behaviourism is primarily concerned with Behavioral Therapy (e.g.…read more

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Pavlov showed the existence of the unconditioned resonse by presenting a dog with a bowl of food
and the measuring its salivary secretions (see image below).
However, when Pavlov discovered that any object or event which the dogs learnt to associate with
food (such as the lab assistant) would trigger the same response, he realised that he had made an
important scientific discovery, and he devoted the rest of his career to studying this type of learning.…read more

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Apart from ethical considerations, there are two other issues relating to the use of aversion
therapy.
First, it is not very clear how the shocks or drugs have their effects. It may be that they make the
previously attractive stimulus (e.g. sight/smell/taste of alcohol) aversive, or it may be that they
inhibit (i.e. reduce) the behaviour of drinking.
Second, there are doubts about the long-term effectiveness of aversion therapy. It can have
dramatic effects in the therapist's office.…read more

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SOCIAL LEARNING TECHNIQUE
Imitation
Imitation is copying behaviour and is the fastest type of learning in both humans and animals.
Behaviour may be imitated because it is seen as rewarding, but if positive reinforcement does not
follow imitation will cease.
Study: Bandura (1965) ­ Evidence of the Role of Imitation influencing Gender
Aim: Bandura (1965) conducted a study to investigate if social behaviours (i.e. aggression) can be
acquired by imitation.…read more

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If a child imitates a model's behaviour and the consequences are rewarding, the child is likely to
continue performing the behaviour. If parent sees a little girl consoling her teddy bear and says
"what a kind girl you are", this is rewarding for the child and makes it more likely that she will repeat
the behaviour. Her behaviour has been reinforced (i.e. strengthened).
Reinforcement can be external or internal and can be positive or negative.…read more

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