Watson, Skinner, and Tolman

Topics: Psychology, Behaviorism, Classical conditioning Pages: 6 (1655 words) Published: September 1, 2012
Watson, Skinner, and Tolman
PSY 310/History and Systems of Psychology

Psychological Perspectives Used Today
Over the years psychological perspectives have changed or advanced in modern psychology. Some perspectives from earlier psychologists have diminished or are no longer used in modern psychology. John B. Watson, B. F. Skinner, and Edward C. Tolman are a few psychologists whose perspectives have remained a foundation for modern psychologists. Watson, Skinner, and Tolman’s perspectives advanced the science of psychology in their time, but they were different in many ways. John B. Watson

According to New World Encyclopedia (2008), John Broadus Watson was born in 1878. He came from a poor family but managed to obtain a master’s degree from Furman University at the age of 21. After obtaining his degree, he pursued a career as a teacher. He developed an interest in behavior and went on to obtain a Ph.D. in psychology. Behaviorism

According to New World Encyclopedia (2008), Watson would study under the advisors James Rowland Angell and Henry Donaldson. Before he studied under Angell and Donaldson his mentor was John Dewey. He disagreed with Dewey’s teachings and later changed to Angell and Donaldson. Watson’s advisors were an inspiration to his work in the development of behaviorism. Watson believed psychology should be the science of observing behavior (Cherry, 2012). He is referred to as the “father of behaviorism.”

According to Cherry (2012), “behaviorism, also known as behavioral psychology, is a theory of learning based upon the idea that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning.” Watson believed behaviors could be measured, trained, and changed (Cherry, 2012). Watson would use classical conditioning while experimenting with behaviors. According to New World Encyclopedia (2008), Watson was concerned the external behavior of an individual and his or her reactions in a given situation, rather than his or her internal mental state. Little Albert Experiment

In 1920 Watson performed the most controversial experiment in psychology known as the “little Albert experiment.” He performed the experiment to prove classical conditioning would work. Albert, the small child used in the experiment, was exposed to different animals for an extended period. He did not exhibit any fears for the animals during the time. Watson began introducing different noises, such as loud claps or screams every time a white rat was presented in front of Albert. After the rat was exposed to Albert with the noises a few times, Albert developed a fear of the rat and anything associated with a rat. Watson proved he could condition a fear in an individual with his experiment. Contributions

John B. Watson established the school of behaviorism. His work influenced researchers in different areas of science. His extensive research on animal behavior also influenced scientists to further the work animal behavior. B. F. Skinner

Burrhus Frederic Skinner was born on March 20, 1904. As a child Skinner had an interest in building things (Vargas, 2005). He built a cabin, a flotation system to separate ripe from green berries, and he built a contraption that helped a broom pick up dirt (Vargas, 2005). He built these contraptions before he had graduated from high school. College

B. F. Skinner attended college at Hamilton University. He originally went to college to become a writer. His major was literature. After his attended Hamilton he wrote only a few articles. Skinner later decided to go back to school after reading books by Pavlov and Watson (Vargas, 2005). He enrolled in the psychology department at Harvard (Vargas, 2005). The psychology department at Harvard was immersed in introspective psychology (“A Science Odyssey: People and Discoveries: B. F. Skinner,” 1998). Skinner Boxes

As a student as Harvard, Skinner found himself interested in behaviorism (“A Science Odyssey: People and Discoveries: B. F. Skinner,” 1998). He worked in an...
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