behaviourist approach

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  • Created on: 20-02-15 20:16

behaviourist approach


1. the role of the environment

blank slate, nurture side, male and females are fundamentally same at birth, learn gender roles

2. learning through various types of conditioning

classical condition: pavlov, learning through association

dogs salivated to a bell ringing as they associated it with food

operant conditioning: skinner, learning through consequences

rats in skinner boxes, continue pressing the lever as they were positively reinforced with food

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behaviourist approach


Social learning theory (SLT)

learn aggression directly: tantrum = attention = postivie reinforcement

SLT suggests that we can learn aggression indirectly

if a child observes their siblings recieving sweets after acting aggressively, due to this vicariuous reinforcement, the child would copy the aggressive behaviour becuase they also want the consequence which is the sweet

learning from observing and imitating role models and the consequence they receive

bandura: form mental representations of events, expectations of future outcomes are stored

punished or rewarded = increase or decrease the likelihood of them carrying out that behaviour

3 groups- reward/ punish/no consequence- evidence of vicarious reinforcement/cognitive element

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behaviourist approach

Therapy - behaviour is learnt from the environment

Systematic Desensitisation (SD) - Wolpe

aim: to replace a fear response with a relaxation response

link: focus on behaviour through association & abnormal behaviour (phobias can be unleant)

stage 1: functional analysis, hierarchy of fear

stage 2: relaxation training, breathing techniques

stage 3: graduated exposure

counter-condition the fear response with a relation response

2 methods: in vivo- actual/ in vitro- imagines

6-8 sessions

McGraeth et el (1990): 75% od people with phobias improved with SD/ in vivo is more successful

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behaviourist approach

Strengths and Weaknesses

+ practical applications

classical (phobias using SD) and operant conditioning (behaviour modification tenchniques)

ecological validity, improve the world we live in

+ lab experiments are commonly used

bandura social learning theory: imitating role models, scientific, reliable 

- reductionist

assumes all behaviour is influenced by the environment and experiences

ignores the role of genetics, limits treatment offered

- ignores individual differences

not everyone will copy their role model, based on animals, differ qualitatively

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behaviourist approach

Methodology - nomothetic, make general laws of behaviour

lab experiments

objective, IV-DV

bandura: IV(aggressiveness of the adult) DV(aggressivenes of the child)

+ extraneous variables are controlled, standardlised procedures

- artifical environment, demand characteristics

animals learning studies

help us understand human behaviour

controlled conditions/ Pavlov's study on dogs led to classical conditioning

+ no demand characteristic, applied successfully to humans, classical, SD to treat phobias

- human behaviour is complex, ethical problems to rats

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