Case Study of Behavorism and How It Effects the Development of Children

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John Watson
Psyc 210
Suzanne Peniche
Case Study

After reading this case study and looking at the facts concerning this situation, I would definitely have to uphold and agree with the law in its decision that children under 7 years old are not held responsible for crimes. For example, this case study talks about a six year old boy who shot his classmate in the school library. Authorities learned that the classmates had a scuffle in the playground the day before. After the boy shoots his classmate, he throws the gun down and is later found hiding in a corner by the school authorities. Finally, while the boy is waiting for the police to show up, he is in the office drawing calmly. This alarming action of the boy after he has shot someone in cold blood, whether it was a mistake or not, begins to support the principle of the law that children under 7 years old are not held responsible for crimes. When you begin to look at the development of children both physically and mentally, there are several developmental theories that describe the different processes of child development but the one grand theory that stands out the most in this situation is Behaviorism. According to Berger (2007), behaviorism is a grand theory of human development that studies observable behavior. It is also called learning theory because it describes the laws and processes by which behavior is learned (Berger, 2007). John Watson was one of the earliest learning theorists that truly believed that anything can be learned. Watson once said: Give me a dozen infants, well-formed and in my own world to raise them up in and I’ll guarantee to take anyone at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select-doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant chief, and yes even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race. (Berger, 2007, p. 38) Watson, along with other learning theorist such as Ivan Pavlov and B.F. Skinner,...
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