July 9, 2011
Brandi Reynolds, Ph.D.
Behaviorism was introduced to the world of psychology in the early 1900’s. It was a different look at psychology then the traditional school of thought. “In a system of psychology completely worked out, given the response the stimuli can be predicted; given the stimuli the response can be predicted” (Goodwin, 2008). John B Watson, B.F. Skinner and Edward C. Tolman were all a part of the behaviorists school of thought. John B. Watson
John B Watson is often accredited with the introduction to behaviorism. It was in 1913 that he did a talk at Columbia University on a paper he called, Behavior Manifesto. Although behaviorism was showing up in psychology, it was Watson’s paper that began the push for behaviorism. “The developing trends toward objectivity in psychology were beginning to crystallize in the thinking and writing of this young man, and he would shortly become the mouthpiece for the movement that came to be called behaviorism” (Goodwin, 2008). Watson popularized the use of the white rat in experimentation. His dissertation in 1903 voiced his study of animal learning through experimentation on these white rats. In 1915, he began experimentation on humans. “Watson advocated extension of the objective methods used in investigating animal behavior to research with human subjects and, himself, began the study of innate reflexes in newborn babies and conditioned emotional reactions in year-old infants” (Magoun, 1981). Watson’s most controversial, yet well known, experiment, was that which was conducted with a nine month old baby named Albert. Based on Albert’s personality, he was thought to be unemotional. Watson believed that the experiment would not be detrimental to his psyche. It would not affect him as much as a typical, emotional child. At first Albert was put through a series of tests. He was shown different animals, such as a rat, rabbit, dog,...
References: Cautilli, J., Rosenwasser, J. B., & Hantula, J. D. (2003). Behavioral Science as the Art of the 21st Century Philosophical Similarities Between B.F. Skinner 's Radical Behaviorism and Postmodern Science. Behavior Analyst Today, 4(2), p225-264.
Goodwin, C. J. (2008). A History of Modern Psychology. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
Magoun, H. W. (1981). John B. Watson and the Study of Human Sexual Behavior. Journal of Sex Research, 17(4), p368-378.
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