Perspectives Paper (Behaviorists)
Human beings by nature are inquisitive. Knowing where one comes from and what aspects separates one from another individual has been in our nature since humans discovered having five toes on each foot. The approach of psychology basing the study on the fact that behavior can be researched without consideration of the inner state of the mind is known as behaviorism. This paper will look at three men and contrast and compare their thoughts.
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Early in the 20th century, behaviorism initiated with the objectives of John B. Watson, a psychologist in America. The objective of his study was to base behavior on no mental life and no internal speech. He studied the adjustment of human beings and organisms to their respective environments. Therefore, it made sense to him that men could be studied objectively, like rats and apes. His approach put an emphasis on physiology in addition to the role of stimuli and this made him a stimulus-response psychologist (ODonohue, Ferguson 2001). For example in the experimental study of “Little Albert”, Watson conditioned the little boy to fear rats. At first, Albert was not afraid of the rat and the other animals, but Watson made a loud noise by hitting a steal bar with a hammer every time Albert touched the rats. Watson was able to show that emotional responses could be conditioned, or learned.
B. F. Skinner is a true radical behaviorist who referred to his philosophy of science as radical behaviorism. His contributions to psychology have had a profound effect on how we learn. According to him, psychology should be the study of behavior that would be anything a human being or an organism is a part of. His theory is based upon the idea that a function of changing is learning in behavior that is obvious. Consequences are the results of a response such as hitting a ball, defining a word, or solving a math problem (O??™Donohue, Ferguson 2001). According to his study and research, B.F. Skinner said that there was a clear-cut difference between overt behavior and covert behavior. Overt behavior is the type of behavior that can be observed by two or more people. This means it is the type of behavior that can be found in several people and it should be identical. Covert behavior is the unique type of behavior that he referred to as ???occurring within the skin???. This type of behavior would not be identical in two people. Skinner thought it was vital to have a study of both. Skinner??™s theory was based on the philosophy of the trial analysis of behavior or behavioral psychoanalysis (O??™Donohue, Ferguson 2001).
Edward C. Tolman was the only most important figure who advocated that there was the possibility of mental representation. He strongly anticipated more than other behaviorist the cognitive point of view. He focused on postulating event more than the responses and stimuli (Goodwin 2005). He referred to these theoretical events as intervening variables and they were conditional from observed behavior. The most vital intervening variable according to Tolman was purpose and the existence of cognitive maps. These maps were a form of mental representation that B. F. Skinner was did not support. Tolman??™s theories were centralistic according to other scholars because one was required to believe in unobservable purposes. His views were based fully on scientific psychology (Baars 1986). In conclusion, Tolman??™s theories on behaviorism were said to be molar. This meant that he did not believe that a single muscle contraction was connected by certain conditioning that could disrupt physical stimuli. His opinion was that neither situations nor actions could be reduced to simplified physical events without distortion of the character.
Comparison and Contrast
Watson, Skinner, and Tolman were considered behaviorists with different opinions on behavior but they all thought that behavior was the why any human being acts in the manner that they do. B. F. Skinner and John B. Watson are said to have had similar opinions on behavior but they had one difference. John B. Watson was not for the referencing using mental states. He stood his ground arguing that psychology should study behavior directly, and at the same time holding private thoughts as impossible to access scientifically. Skinner on the other hand felt that it was important to study thoughts, feelings, and inner behavior. Therefore, Skinner used operant conditioning to analyze behaviors according to the conditions of the observable events that seem to vary with them. He believed that everything was somewhat a behavior, even emotions and they were to be put into consideration for the study to be conclusive (ODonohue, Ferguson 2001).
Modern Day Psychology
There are several approaches to understanding modern day psychology namely cognitive, behavioral, psychoanalytical, social or cultural, humanistic, clinical and physiological. The psychological approach is learning how the brain affects behavior and this was based on the studies done by Edward C. Tolman. The humanistic approach explains free will in addition to individual control and there affects on behaviors. The other approach, which is used, on modern psychology is the behavioral approach and cognitive approach, which puts emphasis on how the environment shapes behavior which is based on the studies done by B. F. Skinner and John B. Watson. Cognitive approach also deals with how thoughts, problem solving strategies could affect the behavior of individuals. There is also a social or cultural approach to psychology that relates to the society norms, situations, roles and how they influence the behavior of human beings. All these modern day approaches are used to study human behavior and they all emerged from the theories that B. F. Skinner, John Watson, and Tolman had (Goodwin 2005).
Skinner, Watson, and Tolman all had an impact n the study of psychology. Though they shared some common beliefs, they also had their differences and it is through theses differences that that modern day psychology considers them to be important in their field. This paper compared and contrasted their beliefs and showed the impact they had in the field of psychology.
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