Psychology: The Behavioural Approach

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The Behavioural/Learning Approach

= we are the product of our environment

Assumptions:

All behaviours (normal and abnormal) are learned. Learned responses from environmental stimuli. Study observational behaviour = empirical.

JB Watson (1878-1958) - Father of Behaviourism. Can be taught to be anything, due to environment.

Scientific:

For example, the behavioural approach focuses on what is observable and measureable. This is positive because it allows concepts such as classical conditioning to be demonstrated scientifically- allowing for empirical support for the theory.

Causes:

  • Classical Conditioning- Learning by association
  • Operant Learning- Learning by reinforcement
  • Social Learning- Learning by watching others being rewarded

Classical Conditioning

Creating a new response to a stimulus

(http://edpsych.drsuzycox.com/Modules/08/Media/ClassicalConditioning.png)

Stimulus - response relationships

Classical conditioning - Little Albert

US (Loud Noise) ---> UR (Fear)

US (Loud Noise) + NS (Rat) ---> UR (Fear)

                               CS (Rat) ---> CR (Fear)

Operant Learning

Learning by reinforcement

Reward = encourages certain behaviours (increases chances of them being repeated)

Punishment = Discourages certain behaviours (decreases certain behaviours (decreases chances of them being repeated)

B.F Skinner- rats/pigeons in boxes. Behaviour can be learnt through a series of rewards and punishments. e.g. Skinner taught pigeons to play ping pong.

Skinner (1974)

Demonstrated that…

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