Behavioural Model Answers.

Model answers for q1a, 1b, 2, 3a, 3b, 4:]

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Behaviourist Approach
Q1) Outline two assumptions of the behaviourist approach. (4 marks).
One assumption of the behaviourist approach is that the environment shapes our actions.
Behaviourists' believe we are born as a `Tabula Rasa' meaning blank slate, and all our
behaviour is acquired through exposure to the environment. Behaviourists assume that both
`good' functional behaviour and `bad' abnormal behaviour can be acquired through learning
from the environment. We are more likely to observe and imitate the behaviour of a role
model. These are people who they see as similar to themselves, for example adults they
admire or powerful people.
Another assumption of the behaviourist approach is that we learn behaviour through
operant conditioning. If a reward is given for doing something then that behaviour is more
likely to be repeated and this is called positive reinforcement. If something unpleasant stops
when we perform a desired behaviour then the behaviour is more likely to be repeated and
this is called negative reinforcement. For example, curfew ending after you have done well in
an exam. If punishment occurs after a piece of behaviour then that kind of behaviour is less
likely to be repeated.
Q1b) Describe the Social Learning Theory Aggression. (8 marks).
The social learning theory suggests that we learn not only by conditioning but also by
observing others. The social learning theory has been used to explain aggression.
We learn aggressive behaviour by observing others. We are more likely to observe the
aggressive behaviour of a role model. These are people who they see as similar to
themselves, adults they admire, powerful people, or people who are rewarded for their
behaviour, for example an older sibling. Aggressive behaviour is learnt through imitating or
copying (observational learning). We are more likely to imitate behaviour if the behaviour is
directly reinforced. For example watching a wrestler get rewarded with money and a medal
after winning a fight can mean we are more likely to imitate the behaviour. We are less likely
to imitate aggressive behaviour if we are punished or we see someone else receiving a
punishment. For e.g. if you were shouting and being violent then your punishment may be to
not being allowed out to play with your friends.
Vicarious reinforcement is learning by observing the consequences of other people's
actions. For example in the Bobo doll experiment children who watched the student get
punished for hitting the doll, were less likely to hit the doll themselves.
Bandura identified four processes that also effect whether we are likely to imitate aggressive
Is the observer paying attention and observing the model?

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Will the observer retain the aggressive behaviour?
Is the observer capable of reproducing the aggressive behaviour they have seen?
Is the observer motivated?
According to the social learning theory, children can learn aggression from watching role
models in the media for e.g. watching an aggressive violent movie. This led to the nine
O'clock watershed on TV.
Q2) Describe how the behavioural approach has been applied Aversion Therapy. (12 marks).…read more

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UCS (Emetic Drug) + NS (Alcohol) UCR (Sickness)
CS (Alcohol expectation) Vomiting UCR (Expectation to vomit)
Research has been carried out to show the effectiveness of aversion therapy. Duker and
Seys treated 12 children with learning difficulties that self-harmed. They were given an
electric shock (UCS) every time they tried to self-harm. This eliminated self-harming in 7 out
of 12 children. On the other hand Bancroft's (1992) research showed up to 50% of patients
drop out of aversion therapy.…read more

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Another weakness of the behaviourist approach is that it focuses on the environment as a
way of shaping behaviour. Therefore the role of nature in determining behaviour is ignored.
For example behaviourist would not consider how our genes could influence personality and
behaviour. Also the role of nurture is exaggerated within this approach. If learning behaviours
was all that mattered then everyone could become a rocket scientist. Internal factors such
as motivation and innate abilities also have an effect on our behaviour and personality.…read more

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Another strength is that animals lack the emotional involvement that may happen in
humans. They do not know what is happening and what the aim of it all is. This means the
problems of participant reactivity in lab experiments with human participants do not apply in
experiments with animal participants. Also the fact that animal experiments are usually
carried out in very scientific environments is a main strength. This type of environment
allows for all the variables to be controlled and are normally objective.…read more


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