Behaviourist Theory

Topics: Psychology, Behaviorism, Behavior Pages: 2 (344 words) Published: May 1, 2013
Behaviorism: a school of psychology that restricts the study of human nature to what can be observed rather than to states of consciousness.

An alternative to the materialist view is behaviourism.

Behaviourism is the theory that one can observe various physical actions of an individual in order to determine ones inner feelings. For example, if someone is smiling, skipping, and has their head up, one can assume that this person is cheerful or happy.

Some psychology behaviourists believe the states of consciousness cannot be observed, so phychology should not be concerned with them.

The behaviours of other individuals can be determined through some of the sense such as; sight and sound. Our eyes examine body language that one is demonstrating in order to come to a conclusion of mental behaviour. Our ears listen for any words or sounds given off by the individual that can help determine their mental process.

Two main factors that affect one's behaviour is the situation and the environment. If an individual is at a pool party or in class, two completely different behaviours will be portrayed, possibly without recognition from themselves. It's just a habit for most.

As an individual, we posses a conscience which allows us to know our own thoughts and feelings.

Ex. If an individual has crossed arms, ignoring you, and makes no eye contact, one can assume that this person is angry.

For the theory: Gilbert Ryle, a behaviourist philosopher, believes that one's mental activities can easily be interpreted externally through the behaviours that are portrayed. Ryle stated that if an individual knows what a chair is, then it is evident that one will do a particular action with the chair. (Ex. sit on it)

Against the theory: Hilary Putnam, a contemporary philosopher, argued that the behaviourist theory has its faults. She stated that actors or regular humans could easily hide their true emotions that...
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