Psychology Behaviourist approach

Topics: Behaviorism, Classical conditioning, Operant conditioning Pages: 2 (650 words) Published: December 8, 2013
Describe the behaviourist approach in psychology and evaluate the research methods used by behaviourist psychologists (10 marks) Behaviourists regard all behaviour as a response to a stimulus. They assume that what we do is determined by the environment we are in, which provides stimuli to which we respond, and the environments we have been in in the past, which caused us to learn to respond to stimuli in particular ways. John Broadus Watson revolutionised psychology and established behaviourism. He states the ‘consciousness’ could not be seen or meaningfully defined and therefore should not be studied. He claimed behaviour could be shaped and manipulated, in 1930, he famously said, ‘Give me a dozen healthy infants…and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become…a doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and yes, even beggar man and thief.’ After conducting research on animal behaviour, Watson stated that the laws of learning in animals could be applied to humans. Operant conditioning is learning due to the consequences of voluntary behaviour, through positive and negative reinforcement and punishment. Burrhus Frederic Skinner was an American psychologist. He developed radical behaviourism claiming that feelings and sensations cannot be measured reliably. Instead psychology should focus on behaviour and its consequences. Skinner claimed all behaviour is learnt as a result of consequences in our environment, such as positive and negative reinforcement and punishment. Skinner conducted experiments on rats. In one experiment, he put a hungry rat in a box, and inside the box was a level arch which when pressed would deliver a pellet of food. When the rat pressed the lever, a pellet of food would drop onto a tray. The rat soon learned that pressing the lever would result in food (a reward). Therefore Skinner observed that as a result of its actions,...
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