“All we need to know in order to describe and explain behavior is this: actions followed by good outcomes are likely to recur , and actions followed by bad outcomes are less likely to recur.” - Skinner, 1953
- Behaviorism is a philosophy of psychology, which has a profound influence on the understanding of mental and behavioral aspects of life.
- Behaviorist theory is based on the concept of learning which refers to a relatively permanent change in behavior or knowledge due to experience.
- Behaviorism originated in Russia with Ivan Petrovich Pavlov (1849–1936).
- Behaviorism as a discipline was founded by John Watson (1878–1958).
- Skinner and Thondike extended the theory.
Respondent Learning/Classical Conditioning
- This theory was formulated by a Russian psychologist called Ivan Pavlov.
- It is based on a stimuli-response formula.
- Pavlov presented his theory by his famous experiment, a dog learned to salivate to the sound of a bell, if the bells were rung simultaneously with the presentation of food.
- Developed by B. F. Skinner (1904-1990) and JB Watson.
- "Humans were simply more complicated than animals but operated on the same principles" - Watson
- This theory states that when learning is rewarded, behavior is perpetuated or maintained, while punished behavior is removed.
- In the classic experiment of “Skinner Box”, a rat may receive a food reward every time he presses the bar. He presses faster and faster.
- Techniques in operant conditioning are:
- Positive reinforcement - increasing a behavior by administering a reward.
- Negative reinforcement - increasing a behavior by removing an aversive stimulus when a behavior occurs
- Punishment - decreasing a behavior by administering an aversive stimulus
- Extinction - decreasing a behavior by not rewarding it.
- Several psychotherapeutic interventions have been developed based on behaviorism for conditions such as phobia, anxiety disorders and behavior problems in children.
- These theories have been applied in educational psychology for developing and refining methods of teaching.
- Behaviorism is a developmental theory that measures observable behaviors produced by a learner’s response to stimuli.
- Behaviorist theory influenced the understanding of human activities- acting, thinking, and feeling.
- Skinner BF ( 1974 ) About Behaviorism . Random House , NY, USA .
- Psychiatry, Third Edition. Edrs. Allan Tasman, Jerald Kay, Jeffrey A. Lieberman, Michael B. First and Mario Maj.John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2008.