The Main Theories of Behavioral Psychology

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What is psychology? It is the scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behavior. What is behavior? It is the way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially towards others. Behavior is something that is learned or conditioned and can be unlearned the same way or replaced by a newly learned behavior if the certain behavior is unacceptable. Behavior can be studied through observing regardless of an individual’s mental state. It is believed by behaviorist despite an individual’s genetic background, personality traits or internal thoughts any task can be learned with the correct conditioning. Behavioral approach has been used in the treatment of many mental illnesses from anxiety to more severe mental health issues such as schizophrenia. The behavioral approach is also very famous in the educational sector. The behavioral theory focuses on investigative methods that are objective. This method explains that all behaviors are a result of interaction and can be observed through stimulus-response behaviors. The behavioral theory expanded after several discoveries were made by many individuals in the psychology field.

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Behavioral psychology is not only a method of controlling behavior. It additionally represents a judgment on the character of psychological science itself, a position advised by diagnosable traditions inside philosophy and the philosophy of science. From the years 1920 to the mid-1950s, behavioral psychology became an important sector in the field of psychology. Researchers were curious about making theories that would be clearly represented, however additionally accustomed contribution that may have influence on everyday human lives.

One of the early theorists includes Ivan Pavlov. Pavlov is Russia’s most famous scientist. He was first known for the research on the physiology of the gastrointestinal system. In the year 1897 the famous Russian scientist, Ivan Pavlov discovered conditioning while he was observing dogs. What he found out was the dog would salivate whenever he entered the room even if he had no food in his hand. He discovered that any stimulus or object the dogs had related with food will cause it to react (salivate). In the experiment Pavlov used a bell as the neutral stimulus the food was the unconditioned stimulus. Whenever he fed the dogs Pavlov rang the bell and kept repeating this several times. After repeating this process, numerous times, he would just ring the bell without giving any food. As a conditioned response the dog would salivate because they had learned to relate the ringing of the bell with food which in turn resulted in a new learned behavior. Because this type of reaction was taught to the dogs it is known as a conditioned response. The bell which was the neutral stimulus has now become a conditioned stimulus.

Considering Pavlov’s perceptions, classical conditioning was fortified by John Watson. Watson expressed the hypotheses of classical conditioning can be utilized to see all aspects of psychology. This was demonstrated by utilizing Little Albert, a 9-month-old newborn child and testing his responses to various stimuli. A white rodent, a rabbit, a monkey and different masks were displayed, to which no response of distress was demonstrated. Yet, little Albert was startled and responded apprehensively when a sledge was struck to a steel bar behind his head. The sudden uproar brought about Albert to cry uncontrollably. A couple of days after little Albert turned 11 months old, the white rodent was shown to him followed by the loud bang of the steel bars. This technique was rehashed seven times all through the following seven weeks. Little Albert wound up crying after each endeavor. This adapted little Albert’s response such that each time he saw the rat he responded frightfully. He would begin crying (regardless of whether the sledge wasn’t hit on the steel bar) and endeavored to slither far from the rat.

Operant Conditioning was a theory by B.F. Skinner, whose work depended on the law of impact set forth by Thorndike. Skinner carried another hypothesis into the Law of impact, Reinforcement. The reinforcement theory expressed that behavior which is reinforced has a tendency to be strengthened, while, behavior which isn’t reinforced is debilitated after some time. Skinner watched operant conditioning by performing experiments animals put in a box known as the Skinner box (like the puzzle box Thorndike utilized). Skinner named it operant conditioning which implies the attempt to bring about change in behavior by using reinforcement after the desired reactions. He watched 3 kinds of operant (responses) that can be trailed by a behavior. For example, you had a go at smoking when you were young, and the primary outcome was that you were joined with the group you needed to interact with, your behavior would have been decidedly strengthened or remunerated and would almost certainly result in the behavior being repeated. However, if the outcome was that you got caught and suspended from school and punished by your parents, you would have been negatively reinforced bringing about a more improbable possibility of you smoking again.

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