Humanism, Behaviorism, and the Cognitive Theory

Topics: Psychology, Cognition, Mind Pages: 2 (655 words) Published: July 17, 2007
Humanism, behaviorism, and the cognitive theory
Depending on how you look at it humanists, behaviorists, and cognitivists can be very different or very much alike. When looking at the three side by side humanists are the least structured, behaviorists are the most structured, and cognitivists fall somewhere in between.

Each theory has its own ideas and ways of learning. Humanism believes learning occurs primarily through reflection on personal experiences. Cognitivism thinks learning occurs primarily through exposure to logically presented information. Finally behaviorism believes learning occurs primarily through the reinforcement of desired responses (Kramlinger & Huberty, 2003).

Our society is very dependent on rewards such as the behaviorists believe. How can we ever think anything is ever better than behaviorism when we have grown up with it all of our lives. Most people are raised in families that reward children for housework, grades, or good behavior. This rewarding of good behavior has also been carried out in schools. Schools offer grades, stars, and attention based on the way we behave. Even as adults we see rewards in our jobs. Companies pay and provide bonuses to those who follow the rules. This type of behavior though may not be the best. It seems people only change their behavior, challenge what they know or think, or try something new because they know there is a reward in the end. Behavioral instruction offers little opportunity or context to develop independent thought (Learnativity, 2002).

Humanism on the other hand believes in doing everything you do for yourself not for a reward. According to humanists we have choices and responsibilities. Unlike the thinking of behaviorists who believe that we are not responsible for our actions. We are reacting to stimuli and operating on our environment to attain certain ends so anything we do is inevitable (DeMar, 2007). Humanists believe that the goal of life should always be to...

References: All Psych Online, (2004, March 24). Personality Synopsis. Retrieved May 2, 2007, from All Psych Online Web site:
DeMar, G (2007). Behaviorism. Retrieved May 2, 2007, from Forerunner Web site:
Kramlinger, T, & Huberty, T (2003). Behaviorism Versus Humanism. Business Source Premier, 44, Retrieved May 2, 2007.
Learnativity, (2002). A Primer on Educational Psychology. Retrieved May 2, 2007, from Learnativity Web site:
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