Behaviorism, as a theory evolved from around 1930 and fell out of favor around 1960. Here the topic will look at the linear existence of behaviorism in reference to the discipline of psychology, as well as the main influential persons that raised the theory from its infancy to its heights as to the contributions each made. In conclusion, relevance to what is still in use to day as residual as well as what differences have happened: what has changed and what has stayed the same. This investigation of the actual time line in comparison with the various groupings of the base theory as it evolved into various sub-groupings will be looked at particularly.
Behaviorism Time Line and Today's World
To have an idea of the theories involving behaviorism, it becomes crucial to know and understand the vocabulary and background of the terms and theories of the topic being discussed. This is a brief introduction of the theory of behaviorism, as it will be discussed and dissected here in. The evolution of this theory as well as contributions by its various champions will be looked at in a sort of time line to see what has been retained and what has been discarded over time.
Behaviorism is the idea of all learned behaviors find genesis in specific conditioning; and that this conditioning occurs with interaction with the environment (Cherry, 2009). Behaviorism also purports systematic and observable study with little or no consideration of internal mental states (Cherry, 2009). Behaviorism can be broken into two distinct areas, being: classical and operant conditioning (Cherry, 2009).
Classical conditioning consists of pairing a naturally occurring stimulus with a response, followed by the transference of the relationship to a formerly neutral stimulus, thus causing the reaction to the newly transferred stimulus relationship (Goodwin, 2008). Operant conditioning on the other hand consists of the relationship of either a reward or consequence regarding certain behaviors (Goodwin, 2008). This is also referred to as instrumental conditioning and revolves around the consequences of actions taken.
Behaviorism can trace its roots to the empiricism idea of classical association pioneered by John Locke and David Hume as an idea loosely tossed about shortly before the 20th century in consideration of learning in animals and humans linking mental states and perceptual influences (O'Donell, 1986). The earliest reference to behaviorism as an idea in consideration though comes from 1863 when Ivan Sechenov published a paper titled Reflexes of the Brain, where a concept of the mind's responses being inhibited in the central nervous system instead of the brain itself occurs (Cherry, 2009).
Even with this evidenced, the solidification of behaviorism would occur with the publication of the behavioral manifesto by John Watson in 1913 ushered in the realm of behaviorism that flourished from around 1930 until 1960, when it fell out of favor (O'Donell, 1986).
The time line genesis is associated with Watson's manifesto, but other prominent scientists had pending works in place before, such as Pavlov with his classical conditioning research, officially starting around 1910 (Babkin, 1949). This researcher worked with canines in reference to classical conditioning and behavior modification in Russia, and then the Soviet Union as it fell to socialism, which seemed the lesser of two evils: the other being Nazi Germany (Babkin, 1949). His work was bolstered by the bolshevik regime at this time, who thought it would be a good tool for controlling their massive population to keep them in order and so funded Pavlov's research lavishly (Babkin, 1949).
Edward Thorndike published his work Animal Intelligence, which lead to the theory of operant conditioning later in the realm of behaviorism (O'Donell, 1986). Thorndike also went on to carry out the first major scientific study of the adult learner and the learning process used by...