P1 - Explain the Principal Psychological Perspectives.

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The behaviourist perspective:

The behaviourist perspective is an idea that we can understand any type of behaviour by looking at what the person has learner. This includes personality traits such as shyness, confidence, optimism or pessimism. Behaviourist psychologists explain all human behaviour as resulting from experience. Two key psychologists are Pavlov and Skinner, although these two theorists believed that different processes were involved, they both explained all types of behaviour as being the result of learning. This is everything from shyness to aggression and happiness to depression. Classical conditioning was a theory developed by a Russian psychologist called Ivan Pavlov. He was working with dogs to investigate their digestive system. The dogs were attached to a harness and Pavlov attached monitors to their stomachs and mouths so he could measure the rate of salivation. He noticed that the dog began to salivate when someone entered the room with a bowl of food, but before the dog had eaten the food. Since salivation is a reflex response, this seemed unusual. Pavlov decided that the dog was salivating because it had learned to associate the person with the food. He then developed a theory. Food automatically led to the salivation response, since this response had not been learned, he called this an unconditioned response, which is a response that regularly occurs when an unconditioned stimulus is presented. As food automatically leads to this response, he called this an unconditioned stimulus, which is a stimulus that regularly and consistently leads to an automatic response. Pavlov then presented food at the same time as ringing a bell (neutral stimulus), to see if the dog would learn to associate the bell with the food. After several trials, the dog learned that the bell was associated with food and eventually it began to salivate only when the bell was rung and no food was presented. It therefore had learned the conditioned response of salivation to the conditioned stimulus, the conditioned response is a new, learned response to a previously neutral stimulus that mimics the response to the unconditioned stimulus. The Conditioned stimulus is a neutral stimulus that, when paired with the unconditioned stimulus, produces a conditioned response, just as the unconditioned response used to.

Operant conditioning was a theory created by an American psychologist called Burrhus Frederic Skinner. Skinner worked mostly with rats and pigeons to discover key principles of learning new behaviours. He used a device called a Skinner box, the box contains a lever which, when pressed, releases a food pellet into the box which therefore should reinforce lever-pressing behaviour. When the rat is first placed in the box it will run around and sniff the various items and at some point it will press the lever, releasing the food pellet. When the rat has performed this action several times, it will learn that this behaviour is automatically followed by the release of a food pellet. Because the pellet is reinforcing, this consequence increases the probability of the behaviour being repeated. The two types of reinforcement are positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement is when the consequence following a particular behaviour is experienced as desirable. Negative reinforcement is when behaviour results in a consequence that removes something unpleasant. Skinner tested the negative reinforcement by running a very low electrical current on the floor of the skinner box. The current would be de-activated if the rat pressed the lever. The lever pressing was therefore negatively reinforcing.

Social learning theory:

There are many influences on our behaviour, this comes from peers, siblings, parents, television, sports and celebrities. According to the social learning theory, role models are very important. The likelihood of imitating behaviours is...
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