Behaviorism: Psychology and B.f. Skinner

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Celeste Ramos
HS 103
11-29-10

Behaviorism

Behaviorism is one of the many schools of theory within psychology developed to explain and explore observable behavior. Its founders describe it as a subject matter of human psychology and the behavior of humans and animals. Behaviorism argued that consciousness is neither definite nor a useable concept. It also states that only the observable behavior of the organism being studied was the basis of psychology. The founders of behaviorism are John B. Watson, B.F. Skinner, and Ivan Pavlov. They experimented with the physical behavior of an organism. They strongly believed that the behavior was the only reasonable response worth studying within the dominions of psychology. They also established the study of behavior with their experiments, and expanded upon the knowledge already existing from previous notable scientists and scholars in the field of psychology which helped develop behaviorism. A theory of human development initiated by American educational psychologist Edward Thorndike, and developed by American psychologists John Watson and B.F. Skinner.

Behaviorism originated from Edward Thorndike’s basic law of operant learning. He initially proposed that humans and animals acquire behaviors through the association of their responses. He created two laws of learning to explain why behaviors occur the way they do. They were the Law of Effect, which specifies that any time a behavior is followed by a positive outcome that behavior is likely to recur. The Law of Exercise states that the more a stimulus is connected with a response. Ivan Pavlov's work on classical conditioning also provided an observable way to study behavior. Although most psychologists agree that neither Thorndike nor Pavlov were strict behaviorists, their work has concreted the way for the rise of behaviorism.

The birth of modern behaviorism was supported early in the 20th century by John Watson. In his books on Behaviorism, Watson made...
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