Essay Sample on Ambiguity Suggested by Different Behaviorism-Sun-Theories

Published: 2023-11-15
Essay Sample on Ambiguity Suggested by Different Behaviorism-Sun-Theories
Essay type:  Definition essays
Categories:  Psychology Human behavior
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 1024 words
9 min read

Behaviorism means that associations between response and stimuli help people acquire new behaviors or behavioral changes (The Peak Performance Center, 2020). Therefore, learning happens due to behavioral changes and acquiring new behaviors. Learning is the process of observable behavioral changes. Operant conditioning, classical conditioning, and contiguity are the three behavioral learning theories (Inankul, 2016). Learning is an internal event that leads to permanent behavioral changes due to practice or experience (Inankul, 2016).

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Ivan Pavlov explained that if antecedent environmental events elicited involuntary behaviors, that was classical conditioning behavioral theory (Inankul, 2016). Therefore, in classical conditioning theory, a stimulus elicited a reflexive response. According to E. R. Guthrie, contiguity theory relies on the association between stimuli and response (Inankul, 2016). Operant conditioning is a voluntary behavior that results from operant conditioning (Inankul, 2016). Each of the three theories of behaviors suggests different meaning but present the definition of learning since there is a permanent change in behaviors. Skinners used pigeons to explain operant behaviors by teaching them how to perform some behaviors (Gl0balElite, 2009). Skinner's invention of a cumulative recorder helped in the measuring of the response rate (Gl0balElite, 2009).

Evolution of the Foundation of Behaviorism

Behaviorism has evolved from the initial view that the basis of behaviors was the observable environmental variables. Behaviorism first evolved to behavior analysis which studied behavior in relation to the functional relationship between environmental and behavioral events. It had three domains; behaviors' conceptual analysis, applied behavioral analysis, and behaviors' experimental analysis (Jung, 2019). The above domains were based on radical behaviorism and were interrelated. Moreover, the foundation of behavioral analysis is radical behaviorism.

Watson proposed that predicting and controlling behaviors was the ultimate goal of the evolution of psychology into a natural science's experimental branch. In the 1940s Skinner introduced radicle behaviorism which defined behaviors as subject to behavioral analysis (Jung, 2019). Researchers experimented with most behaviors in laboratories and field and discovered that only the stimuli-responses connections would be studied since the rest were mere sterile speculations about mental events.

Laws of Learning and (synaptic learning theories) Edward Thorndike’s connectionism theory emerged after behaviorism matured (Joshi, 2020). The learning laws describe people’s learning through behavioral associations. Positive feeling strengthens learning according to the learning law while habitual connections and associations between responses and stimuli help to learn to occur (Joshi, 2020). The association doctrine linked psychological and physiological processes (Joshi, 2020). All knowledge does not rely on ideas and thoughts but on physical sensations. Connectionism evolved to associated doctrine as a law of learning which later evolved to principles of conditioning such as the operant and classical conditioning which are the fundamental foundations of behaviorism (Dawson, 2018).

S-R (Stimulus-response) model

The model embodies the diverse variations of conditioning. One theory suggested that the connection between a new stimulus and a response would be strong only if the response yields results (John, 2015). Unconditional stimuli produced unconditional responses in the classical conditioning theory while neutral stimuli do not elicit responses (Inankul, 2016). Repeating actions may not always desirable consequences and people do not repeat actions with undesirable outcomes (John, 2015). According to Thorndike’s law of effect, a particular stimulus resulted in an established response if a satisfactory result followed a certain behavior (John, 2015). The theory aims to strengthen the stimuli-response connections and the consequences modify their responses. Any behavioral changes attribute to some conjunction of events.

Historical Evolution

Psychological, radical, and molar behaviorisms are the three sub-theories of behaviorism. B. F. Skinner argued that the association between observable responses and stimuli reinforces behavior (Radical behaviorism, n.d.). The reaction between traditional forms of psychology and depth psychology led to the emergence of behaviorism in the 1900s. John Watson developed the first theory of behaviorism in 1913. Skinner later claimed that inner experiences and psychological processes were not part of legitimate psychological research. In operant condition, there is no stimulus-response association since it deals with voluntary behaviors. According to Skinner, the environmental events affected behaviors but internal processes like feelings and thoughts do not affect behaviors (Radical behaviorism, n.d.). In 1945, Skinner developed his radical behaviorism theory and the current behaviorism versions have developed from it (Araiba, 2019).

Arthur Staats proposed psychological behaviorism which held that human behaviors were learned and that observable behavior could explain someone's personality. Psychological behaviorism emerged between 1924 and 2000. The learned behaviors stemmed from environmental, biological, cognitive, and emotional interaction. Rachlin Howard’s molar behaviorism argued that a moment’s events could not help describe behavior but the ultimate cause of history could describe behavior (Meazzini & Ricci, 2016). Each of the three theories of behaviors suggests different meaning but present the definition of learning since there is a permanent change in behaviors.


Behaviorism may be a response to a stimulus depending on the theory. Some behaviors are a result of physical processes rather than emotions and feelings. Most behaviorism theories suggest individual meaning but they all imply that behavior is a learning process.


Araiba S. (2019). Current Diversification of Behaviorism. Perspectives on behavior science, 43(1), 157–175.

Dawson, M. R. (2018). Connectionism. In Issues in Applying SLA Theories toward Reflective and Effective Teaching (pp. 37-48). Brill Sense.

Elite (2009, June 18). B.F. Skinner - Operant Conditioning and Free Will. YouTube.

Inankul, h. (2016). Behavioral learning theories and a review for police basic training. Journal of International Social Research, 9(42).

John, N. M. (2015). Laws of performance. Britannica.

Joshi, P. (2020). Thorndike Learning Theory.


Jung, I. (2019). Connectivism and Networked Learning. In Open and Distance Education Theory Revisited (pp. 47-55). Springer, Singapore.

Meazzini, P., & Ricci, C. (2016). Molar vs. molecular units of behavior. Analysis and integration of behavioral units (pp. 41-66). Routledge.

Psyche Games (2020). Molar vs. molecular behaviorism.

Radical Behaviorism. (n.d.). In's online glossary. Retrieved from:

The Peak Performance Center. (2020). Theories: Learning theories.

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