HideShow resource information
  • Created by: lauren
  • Created on: 08-05-14 13:13


  • ASSUMTION 1: Behaviour can be explained in classical conditioning:
    • new behaviours are aquired through assosiation, Pavlov first described this as classical conditioning in 1904 - from observation of salivering dogs. behaviour is a stimulus-response unit. before conditioning the food is an unconditoned stimulu(UCS) and the salivation is the unconditioned response(UCR). during conditioning a neurtal stimuls(NS) such as the sound of a bell occurs at the same time as the UCS. after conditioning the sound of the bell is now the conditioned stimulus(CS) which produces the salivaion- the conditioned response(CR)
  • ASSUMPTION 2: Behaviour can be explained n terms of operant conditioning:
    • new behaviours are learnt through reinforcement, an organism operates on the envionmenr resulting in positive consequences(rewards) or negative cosequences(punishments) Skinner(1938) showed that an animal in skiner box moves around, occasionly an action will result in a food pellet. food pellet acts as reinforcer=repeat behaviour.
    • reinforcers can be negative reinforcement (escape from unpleasant situation) or positive reinforcement(something pleasant) shaping explains how specific behaiviours are learnt
1 of 7



Albert Bandura belived aggression couldt be explained using traditional learning theory where only direct experience was seen as responsible for the aquisition of new behaviours SLT suggest we learn by observing others

  • observation: watching the behaviour of role models and then imitating behaviour- children also learn about the consequences of aggressive behaviour - reinforced or punished? this is called vicarious reinforcement. by observing consequences they learn what is appropiate - so they learn what behaviours are worh repeating.
  • mental representation: Bandura (1986) claimed that in order for social learning to ake place, kids must have mental representations of events in their social environment- must represent possible rewards nd punishment for aggressive behaviour in terms of expectancies of future outcomes - wil use behaviour in future expecting rewards
  • maintenace through direct experience: if child is rewarded for aggressive behaviour - lkely to repeat behaviour - this direct reinforcement  then influences the value of aggresion for that child.
    • successful bullying=rewarding
2 of 7


  • Bandura showed children learn aggressiveness through modelling - later imitating behaviour
  • arranged for some young children(3-5 years) to watch adult playing with som toys - each child was taken into room with toys.
  • half the children were exposed to models acting aggressive with bobo doll, and half saw no agressive behaviour.  distinct aggressive actions: striking to head with mallet, kicking it around room, verbal aggression - taken to room with bobo doll - children repeated aggressive behaviour, but children who werent exposed to agresive behviour didnt show any.
  • the study doesnt show us why a child would want to repeat behaviour... Bandura and Walters(1963) children divided into 3 groups.
    • group 1; saw model rewarded for showing aggressive behviour
    • group 2; saw model punished for showing aggressive behaviour
    • group 3; observed model with no subsquent conseuenesfor aggressive behaviour
    • group 1=very agressive, group 2=not agressive, group 3=in the middle - vicarious learning
3 of 7


  • Joseph Wolpe deveoped a technique in 1950s where phobias gradually desensitised- based on Massermans research with cats- cats developed phobia of boxes after given shocks when put in a box - but overcome phobia when fed in boxes.
  • Counterconditioning; process begins with learning relaxation techniques, eventually aiming to acquire a new simulus response (from fear to relaxation) =counterconditioning. Wolpe also called this 'reciprocal heirarchy'  because relaxation inhibits the anxiety.
  • Desensitisation heirarchy; gradual steps for patient to work way through phobia
  • Forms of SD; learned to confront fear directly(in vivo) - learning to relax in presence of objects or images that would normally arouse anxiety or imagine it(in vitro) - in vivo techniques are more successful. Comer 2002 - watch someone else relaxed with stimulus. Flooding skips heirachy and used to treat disorders like OCD - exposed to situation that triggers
  • Effectiveness; McGrath et al(1990) claimed 75% effective. Capafons et al (1998) 41 patients with aerophobia were offered free treatment. 21 were put on waiting list, the rest had immediate treatment. EG had lower levels of fear, one patient in CG overcame fear spontaneously and 2 patients in EG didnt improve - not 100% effective.
  • Pavlovs theory of classical conditioning explains how NS can provoke anxiety after a distressing event, counter conditioning reverses classical conditioning - reducing CR by establishing new response to the same CS 
4 of 7


  • Scientific approach; John B Watson recognised Pavlovs work on conditioned reflexes could creat objective, scientific psychology. Behaviourism contributes to science, studying behaviour that is observable and measureable - can analyse, quantify and compare behaviour, conducting experimients has found treatments too be successful.
  • Successful applications; applied in real world, classical conditioning has helped people overcome fears through systematic desensitisation. Operant conditioning = successful teaching strategies, pos reinforcement and punishment had helped shape classroom behaviour. Skinners idea of teaching machine - everyone learns at different rates- student will work at own pace and get reinforcement for right anwser and further help for wrong answer
  • Focuses on here and now; not concerned with peoples pasts, doesnt look for complicated causes but focuses on current symptons and tries to remove them, systematic desensitisation treats undesirable behaviour - teaching new SR- no need to understand why just to remove it
5 of 7


  • Emphasis on nurture; only sees the environment as shaping behaviour, role of nature is ignored, ignores gentic make up influence, the role of external factors are exaggerated - 'learning is all that matters' our behaviour is goverened by internal factors also like motivation, emotion and innate abilities
  • Deterministic approach; believe all behaviour is influenced by the associations we make between certain environmental stimuli (classsical conditioning) or rewards and punishments (operant conditioning) meaning people are controlled by external factors - doesnt considor thought processes that occur before we act, no free will, meaning we have no choice or responsibility over our behaviour - nobody is responsible for wrong doing, we are just punished to change behaviour rather than think responsibly
  • More relevant to animals than humans; behaviourist experiments lie in animals, like Pavlov, Skinner and Masserman. Wolpe (1958) created a phobia in cats by putting them in boxes and giving them electric shocks, they overcame phobia when they were fed in the boxes (recipricol inhibition) but humans dont always respond in same way - wolpe treat women for fear of insects, but this method of SD didnt work. fear was marital problems and SD failed.
6 of 7


LAB EXPERIMENTS: only observable behaviour is worth of study, because we cant confirm what is going on in the mind, as behaviour is shaped by our interactions with the environment, if we manipulate environment we can establish cause to behaviours (refer to Bandura)

  • :) control of ev, replication, validity, easy to analyse results
  • :( no ecological validity, demand characteristics, experimenter bias

USE OF ANIMALS IN RESEARCH: behaviourists believe there are only a few differences between humans and animals, they apply animal experiments to humans - including the work of Pavlov and Skinner (refer to conditioning dog experiments)

  • :) animal learning is applied to human behaviour, classical conditioning and SD has helped people, less emotional involvement in animals, not subject to demand characteristics
  • :( issue of generalisability, humans have higher mental activity, ethical issues, no consent, no right to withdraw
7 of 7


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Approaches resources »