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…

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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.

Unconditioned stimulus unconditioned


Food salivation
Unconditioned stimulus + neutral stimulus unconditioned


Food bell salivation
Conditioned stimulus conditioned

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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client to relax the muscles in the body. 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…

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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…


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