Paper Example on Behaviorism Theory

Published: 2023-01-12
Paper Example on Behaviorism Theory
Type of paper:  Annotated bibliography
Categories:  Psychology Human behavior
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1225 words
11 min read


Behaviorism is a psychological term that refers to a learning theory that focuses on analyzing the observable behaviors and rejects the independent occurrence of the mind's activities through conditioning which claims that behavior can be studied in a systematic and observable manner while discounting the internal mental states. Behaviorism theorists focuses their theories on either classical conditioning or behavioral conditioning (Watson, 2017). Classic conditioning process occurs when a natural reflex responds to a stimulus implying that a certain environmental or mind caused stimulus will consequently produce a certain response. Also, behaviorism explained by the behavioral condition which refers to the process in which a certain response to a certain stimulus reinforced. This condition is based on the concept that if a response to a certain stimulus is reinforced, the response will be more probable in the future. The theory asserts that behavior can be controlled without the recourse to inner mental states. It considers thoughts to be illusory and that all the behaviors are influenced by the immediate environment through reinforcement or association. Behaviorism entails scientific and objective methods of investigation and asserts that all observable stimulus-response behaviors are learned through interaction with the environment. The theory has been widely used in the pharmacological therapies since the behaviorists argue that any person can be trained to respond in a certain way regardless of the personal traits, internal thoughts, and the genetic background.

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The behaviorism theory was majorly influenced in the psychoanalysis movement in psychology in the 20th century. The notable influencers are Ivan Pavlov, John B. Watson, and B.F Skinner. Pavlov focused on investigating classical conditioning while Skinner provided pragmatism concepts regarding behaviorism. In 1897, Pavlov studied behaviorism by publishing the results by experimenting behavior of dogs' digestion. However, the behaviorism theory has much criticism from other psychologists. The criticizers claim that behaviorism disregards the activities of the mind and that animals are capable of adapting to reinforced patterns to new information.

In 1900, Pavlov was able to introduce classical conditioning through the study of the salivary response and other reflexes. He asserts that the mind has limited innate capacity to respond to stimuli. In 1913, Watson published a behaviorism classic paper that focused on creating a restriction for experimental laboratory methods and rejecting all the introspective methods. Watson is considered as the father of behaviorism since launched the behavioral school of psychology. He was the first to discuss the behaviorism concept extensively in the "Psychology as the behaviorists view it'. The publication is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science which rejects all the introspective laboratory methods for better prediction and control of behavior. He claims that introspective methods are not reliable for scientific data dependent on the interpretation of consciousness concepts. In 1920, Rayner and Watson carried out the Littles Albert experiment of a young boy and white rat to study the conditioning stimulus behavior. In 1863, Ivan Sechenov published a publication on the reflexes of the brain which explains the inhibitory responses concept in the central nervous system.

In 1936, Skinners wrote a publication on The Behavior of Organisms. He was a major influencer of the behaviorism as he introduced the concepts of operant condition and shaping. In 1943, Clark Hull published a publication on the 'Principles of Behavior' which human behavior principles. Also, in 1948, Skinner published Walden Two which discussed a utopian society that was based on behaviorists principles. In 1958, a journal of the experimental analysis of behaviorism was launched.1n 1959, Chomsky published a publication on "review of Verbal Behavior" which criticized the Skinner's Behaviorism concepts of the studying the observable behaviors only by claiming that his concepts lacked superficiality (Changing Minds, n.d.). In 1963, Bandura published the Social Learning Theory and Personality development' book that extensively discussed cognitive and behavioral frameworks. He explained the interaction of thoughts and reactions and noted rehearsal and modeling as key learning mechanisms. In 1971, Skinner also published "Beyond Freedom and Dignity" book in which he argues that free will is an illusion. He asserted that the triggering desire to do something originated from the external environment.

Edwards, J. (2016). Behaviorism and Control in the History of Economics and Psychology. History of Political Economy, 48(5), 170-197.

This article discusses the application of behaviorism in the history of economics and psychology by contracting the views of psychologists and economists on the role of control. The article asserts that behaviorism is behavior control consumer demand theory is relatable to the interaction of humans to the environment. The article discusses how the concept of behavior control has been discussed by theorists since its existence and how it has been applied in psychology. It highlights the history of behaviorism and the emergence of American functional psychology. The article mentions the contribution of Watson and Skinner and how their assertion on behaviorism is dependent on the interaction of an organism with the environment. The author notes how the behavioral economists are bringing psychology into the analysis of consumer behavior.

The article mentions that Watson criticism on relying on both introspection and mental states heavily and how the science of behavior should be focused on studying behavior only while avoiding references to the non-observables such as beliefs, intentions, and desires. Watson and Pavlov contributions on how humans can never know other people feelings but can study their behavior which is utilized for the study of behaviorism in concise behavior concept in economics. Moreover, Skinner's assertion that behavior is dependent on the history of reinforcements encountered in the interaction with the immediate environment. The behavioral theory has not changed over time since the behaviorism influencers concepts still exist in the economics field.

Moore, J. (2013). Tutorial: Cognitive Psychology as a Radical Behaviorist Views It. Psychological Record, 63(3), 667-679.

The article examines the behavior from a cognitive psychology view and the implication of the radical behaviorism. The article asserts that mentalism entails publicly observable behavior and that organisms are introspectively aware that not observables to others and that intuition somehow influence behavior. It mentions how Chomsky disparages cognitive psychology. Skinners concepts on the behaviorism highlight on radical behaviorism. However, radical radicalism differs from neo-behaviorism. Some cognitive psychologists agree with the behavior theorists on publicly observable behaviors. Skinner asserts that cognitive science is the creation science of psychology. The author also outlines that verbal behavior and explanatory practices arise from verbal behavior. The concepts of cognitive psychology and radical behaviorism have not changed over time since they are based on behavioral theorists like Skinner.

Staddon, J. (2016). Theoretical Behaviorism, Economic Theory, and Choice. History of Political Economy, 48(5), 316-331.

This article focuses on explaining the relation between theoretical behavior and prospect theory which is the base to behavioral economics. Theoretical behaviorism posed by learning in animals suggests that the behavior of organisms is dependent on the historical factors that determine organisms' repertoire. The optimality theory is the basis of the operant conditioning behavior which explains the operant behavior of animals. The Pavlovian conditioning allows the neutral stimulus to have signal properties and operant reinforcement. The condition has been widely in the food US. This article offers extensive formation on what behaviorism is about. Pavlovian framing learning is the desired response is within the induced repertoire.


Changing Minds. (n.d.). A Brief History of Behaviorism. Retrieved from Changing Minds:

Watson, J. B. (2017). Behaviorism. Routledge.

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