Behaviourist Perspective (1)
Assumptions: The main assumption of the behaviourist perspective is that all behaviour is learned and shaped by the environment.Even behaviour which has been natural has still been learned, and that learning is the product of the environment we are in and the presence or absence of external reinforcers. For example in the Bandura et al. study it is demonstrated how aggression is learned and shaped by role models.
Describe how the behaviourist perspective could explain aggression: Bandura et al conducted an observational experiment where children observed male and female role models behaving aggressively or passively towards a Bobo doll (plus a control condition with no role model). Children were then told they could not play with some of the toys to provoke frustration. Afterwards it was evident that the behaviour of the role model had been learned through observation, with researchers witnessing direct imitation of the role model's behaviour and also novel acts of aggression.
Describe how the behaviourist perspective could explain obedience: Milgram's study of obedience focused on the way in which participants obeyed the experimenter because he was seen as a legitimate authority. This is a social explanation, although could also be seen as behaviourist, in that the experiment reinforced their behaviour through the use of verbal prods urging them to continue. It could also be considered as behaviourist as the focus was on observable behaviour, not the underlying thought processes behind it.