Monday 13 February 2017

School of Behaviorism

The “School of Behaviorism” had developed as a reaction against “Structuralism” and “Functionalism” in the United States of America (USA).  It is a systematic approach to understand behavior of both human being and animal. For behaviorists, psychology is the science of behavior; and by behavior they mean observable and measurable aspects of behavior only.

School of Behaviorism
School of Behaviorism
According to the Behavioral Approach, human behavior is learnt; therefore, all behavior can be unlearnt and in its place new behaviors can be learnt. For them, only those things which we can see and observe are worth studying. Behaviorists believe that they cannot see the mind, but they can see how people act, react and behave. For behaviorists, what people do is the subject of the study, rather than what they think or feel.

The earliest derivatives of Behaviorism dates back to late 1800s when Edward Thorndike had introduced for the very first time in the history “the law of effect”. The law of effect is an exercise to strengthen behavior using reinforcement.
John B. Watson, an American psychologist, had started in 1913 the movement of “Behaviourism” in 1913. For this reason, he is widely considered as the founder of “Behaviorism” or Behavioral Psychology.  Opposing the concept of inner experience, Watson stated that observable behavior was the only dependable source of information. This approach was a reaction against the “Structuralism” whose emphasis was on introspection.

John B. Watson, an American psychologist
John B. Watson
According to the Behaviorism, environment plays an important role in shaping or influencing an individual's behavior. It looks at association or connection between stimulus and response. It assumes that all behaviors are the outcomes of a response to certain stimuli in the environment.
The school of behaviorism was significantly influenced by the work of Ivan P. Pavlov, a Russian physiologist, who is globally renowned for his “classical conditioning”. Classical conditioning is also sometimes labeled as “respondent conditioning” or “Pavlovian condition”.
In a famous study, Pavlov rang a bell each time he gave a dog some food. The dog's mouth would water when the animal smelled the food. After Pavlov repeated the procedure many times, the dog's saliva began to flow whenever the animal heard the bell, even if no food appeared. This experiment demonstrated that a reflex--such as the flow of saliva--can become associated with a stimulus other than the one that first produced it--in this case, the sound of a bell instead of the smell of food. The learning process by which a response becomes associated with a new stimulus is called conditioning. 

Watson and the other behaviorists realized that human behavior could also be changed by conditioning. In fact, Watson believed he could produce almost any response by controlling an individual’s environment.