Psychology - Behaviourist approach - Methodology

  • Created by: jkav
  • Created on: 10-05-15 15:13


1. Lab experiments

Behaviourists believe that only behaviour is worthy of study because we cannot conform what is going on in the mind. Early, behaviourists at the beginning of the 20th century believed that if psychology were to be accepted as a science, then scientific methods should be used to study behaviour. Behaviourists therefore advocated an experimental approach to the study of human behaviour - one that is objective and quantifiable.

As behaviourists believe that our behaviour is shaped by our interactions with the environment, it would follow that if we manipulate our environment, we can establish the cause of certain behaviours. One of the main aims of the lab experiment is to establish cause-effect relationships. For example, in Bandura et al's experiment, they manipulated the environment of the children, and observed the effect of this on the childrens behaviour.


  • A lab experiment is the best way to study causal relationships because extraneous variables can be carefully controlled.
  • Lab experiments offer an objective menas of studying human bahviour. As the experimenter will follow set, standard procedure, this means the experiment can be repeated again by other to demonstarte the validity of the findings.
  • As data resulting from experiments can be quantified, it is easier to analyse and make comparisons.


  • The artificiality of the situation. It is unlikely that people will behave the same way in a contrived lab environment as they would


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