Describe and Discuss the Behaviourist Approach in Psychology

Topics: Classical conditioning, Behaviorism, Operant conditioning Pages: 2 (826 words) Published: December 11, 2012
Describe and discuss the behaviourist approach in psychology

The behaviourists are a school of psychology that believe that behaviour is learned. The behaviourists don’t believe that people have the innate desire to act in a certain way. They think we are born as a blank sheet that is then developed by life experiences. As we develop interactions and life lessons mould us into the person who we become. Behaviourists do not believe that behaviour has any contribution from biology. They dismiss that our biology is a decisive factor in who we are and believe that the idea is nonsense and therefore do not consider this. A criticism of this idea is that it completely ignores nature and the ideas of our biology helping us develop. This means that the behaviourists are ignoring research that shows our biology as playing a part in our development. By not assessing all areas of psychology they are ignoring key features of how we become who we are. Rather than considering the possibility of it being nature or nature and nurture they just claim all behaviour is leaned. Another key feature of the behaviourist they believe we learn by 2 processes these are : Classical conditioning – this is the process of learning by association. Pavlov showed this with dogs. Pavlov found that dogs salivated when shown food. The food originally was the unconditional stimulus which caused the salivation which was the unconditioned response. During conditioning Pavlov continued to ring a bell before showing the dog the food this then led to the dog associating the bell with getting fed. The bell was now the neutral stimulus. Pavlov found that the bell alone was enough to cause the dog to salivate making it the conditioned stimulus and the salivation was now the conditioned response. Here Pavlov proved the behaviourist theory that behaviour is learned. This has benefited us by allowing us to realise that if behaviour can be learned it can be reversed. Classical conditioning has been used in...
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