Topics: Psychology, Behaviorism, Operant conditioning Pages: 3 (750 words) Published: January 22, 2014

Behaviorist theorists believe that behavior is shaped deliberately by forces in the environment and that the type of person and actions desired can be the product of design. In other words, behavior is determined by others, rather than by our own free will. By carefully shaping desirable behavior, morality and information is learned. Learners will acquire and remember responses that lead to satisfying aftereffects. Repetition of a meaningful connection results in learning. If the student is ready for the connection, learning is enhanced; if not, learning is inhibited. Motivation to learn is the satisfying aftereffect, or reinforcement. Behaviorism is linked with empiricism, which stresses scientific information and observation, rather than subjective or metaphysical realities. Behaviorists search for laws that govern human behavior, like scientists who look for pattern sin empirical events. Change in behavior must be observable; internal thought processes are not considered. Ivan Pavlov's research on using the reinforcement of a bell sound when food was presented to a dog and finding the sound alone would make a dog salivate after several presentations of the conditioned stimulus, was the beginning of behaviorist approaches. Learning occurs as a result of responses to stimuli in the environment that are reinforced by adults and others, as well as from feedback from actions on objects. The teacher can help students learn by conditioning them through identifying the desired behaviors in measurable, observable terms, recording these behaviors and their frequencies, identifying appropriate reinforcers for each desired behavior, and providing the reinforcer as soon as the student displays the behavior. For example, if children are supposed to raise hands to get called on, we might reinforce a child who raises his hand by using praise, "Thank you for raising your hand." Other influential behaviorists include B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) and James B. Watson...
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