Behaviourist Approach Overview

A overview of the behaviourist approach. I am in my first year of A levels and created this to ensure i knew everything i needed to about this approach. My peers also found this useful and this is my reason for sharing this.

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  • Created by: Kasey
  • Created on: 09-02-15 13:48
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Exam questions that will be asked for this approach:
Question Available marks
Outline two assumptions of the Behaviourist approach 4 marks
Describe the Social Learning Theory of Aggression 8 marks
Describe how the psychodynamic approach has been applied in either Aversion Therapy or 12 marks
Systematic Desensitisation
Evaluate two strengths of the Behaviourist approach 6 marks
Evaluate two weaknesses of the Behaviourist approach 6 marks
Explain and evaluate the methodology used by the Behaviourist approach 12 marks
Key concepts of the Behaviourist Approach
The key…read more

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He concluded that the dog's behaviour was because they learnt through association. He came up
with six different terminologies to show this process.…read more

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Bell salivation
Some people questioned the use of Pavlov's theory as dogs are not humans. In the 1920's, Watson
decided to test classical conditioning on `little Albert' ­ a child from an orphanage.
They introduced little albert to a rat. Initially, he liked the rat, but once a loud noise from a metal
bar was introduced, he had associated the scary noise with the rat and he began to fear the rat.…read more

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Loud noise white rat being scared
Conditioned stimulus conditioned
White rat being scared
Watsons study supports the idea that humans can be conditioned, however, a baby (little albert) is
not a fully grown adult and so conditioning may prove to be harder to achieve with adults.
Skinner also belived that behaviour is learnt. He did not believe that behaviour is learnt through
association. Instead he believed it is learnt through reinforcement. He suggested there were two
types of reinforcement; positive and negative.…read more

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In negative reinforcement a certain behaviour is done to stop something bad from happening (e.g.
following the law so you don't have to go to prison). In positive reinforcement, a certain behaviour
is done to gain a reward (e.g. being praised for doing a good thing)
He used a skinner box to show this. The Skinner box holds a rat and every time the rat presses the
leaver it gets a reward (in this case a yogurt drop) this is positive reinforcement.…read more

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THERAPY ­ Systematic Desensitisation
The Behaviourist approach assumes that behaviour is learnt. Therefore abnormal behaviour is due
to faulty learning. Therapy can fix this faulty learning. The type of therapy focused on in this
approach is Systematic Desensitisation.
Systematic Desensitisation focuses on reversion any faulty learning, such as phobias that could
occur and replaces it with more appropriate behaviour.…read more

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This is called a new stimulus-response link. This process lets
the client learn new appropriate behaviour.
Working through each level of the hierarchy can either be real, such a seeing a needle. Or virtual,
such as imagining a needle.
If at any stage in the relaxation process the client becomes too distressed, the therapist will take
them back down a step in the hierarchy.…read more

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Strengths and weaknesses of the behaviourist approach
Strength Weakness
It is scientific. Pavlov's work was used to create an The role of nature is ignored because it emphasises
uninfluenced opinion and was there for scientifically nature and oversimplifies what it actually happening.
approached. This made it possible to analyse and compare Although it is true that the environment effects and
behaviour without having a bias view.…read more


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