May 4, 2011
Behavioral and Social/Cognitive Approaches to Forming Habits
Habit as defined in Webster’s as a: a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance b : an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary (Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online, 2011). Behavior is the manner of conducting oneself or anything that an organism does involving action and response to stimulation. In everyday life habits are formed and intertwined with ones behavior. People are often associated with the way they behave based on the environment they come from and the habits they develop from that environment. Behavioral Theorists believe learning experiences as the development of our personality. During these developmental years the environment has the greatest influence on the personality. This influence is reinforced by positive or negative rewards. Classic conditioning explains many behavioral reaction patterns. When a person receives positive reinforcement of a behavior (reward), they develop this behavior as part of their own. A person will continue to perform a certain action because of the reward at the end of the action. An Actor receives a Grammy for outstanding performance. That actor will try to perform this action again in the next movie they are in. On the other hand, negative reinforcement (punishment) will elicit a response to not perform that behavior again. (Friedman & Schustack, 2009). If you put your finger in an electric socket the electric shock will influence you not to perform this habit again. John B. Watson was instrumental in the development of the behavioral learning approach. Watson believed in the experimental method and if psychology were to be a science, then only the observable behavior was a...