Behaviorist perspective of psychology

John Watson founded the behaviorist perspective of psychology, which evolved during the first half of the 20th century. As Watson’s quote suggests, the goal of behaviorism was to understand and be able to predict behavior under certain environmental conditions. Early studies in behaviorism included the use of animals. For example, Pavlov studied the effect of the sound of a bell, previously paired with food, on dogs’ salivary production. Thorndike and Skinner conducted studies using cats, pigeons, and rats. How might behaviorist theories be applied to humans, whose behaviors are based on more than instincts? One of your readings about Watson and Little Albert will give you some insights into how powerful classical conditioning can be.

This week, you will become familiar with various behaviorist theories and re-visit the phenomenon of bullying, this time from a behaviorist perspective. You will also submit your Final Project theory and topic selections. Finally, you will continue work on your Psychology Theories Template by adding behaviorist theories to your document.

Describe the conditioning approach you selected. Explain how you used this approach to identify a strategy to mitigate bullying. Following your mitigation strategy, operationalize the characteristics of your strategy according to the conditioning method you chose, such as UCS, UCR, NS, CS, CR for classical conditioning; and positive reinforcers, negative reinforcers, punishers for operant conditioning.

Valentine, M. E. (1980). The attenuating influence of gaze upon the bystander intervention effect. Journal of Social Psychology, 111(2), 197–203.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Apply behaviorist theories to explain real life situations and behaviors
  • Analyze theories of psychology related to topics of study
  • Evaluate key concepts of behaviorist theories

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