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Behaviourism essay

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Psychology is defined as a science that focuses on the study of and to explain the way human's think, behave, and feel. The behaviourist school of psychology is concerned with the explanation of behaviour through observable outcomes without making reference to mental events. Behaviourism is very narrow and can be strongly objected in its approach to psychology, as it does not consider the mental thought process involvement in behaviour. This school of psychology is very much about nurture rather than nature. (Harre and Lamb, 1983). In early 20th century there was a surge of interest in the explaining of how learning takes place by exploring the observable mechanisms of learning. This new interest focused on observable forms of behaviour, which included bodily movement that was visible by an observer, and also the internal physical processes connected to overt bodily movement and how these could be modified. This interest developed into the psychological theory of behaviourism. (McInerney, 1998) Behaviourists believe that behaviour is simply learned habits and reactions humans and animals and personality merely a collection of these habits. Therefore the goal of behaviourism is to predict, modify and condition human behaviour (" The Behavioural Approach"). ...read more.


In these cases the person is slowly encouraged to relax and re-establish a reaction to the though of the stimuli's presence ("Changing States"). Aversion/Sensitisation therapy is basically the opposite of desensitisation. The focus of this therapy is for the subject to dislike the stimulus that the subject perceives as pleasurable. This is achieved by associating a negative stimulus with the 'pleasurable' one in order to recondition the behaviour of like to hate in response to the stimulus. This therapy is useful in smoking habits; alcoholism and drug abuse ("Changing States".) The 'flooding' technique involves the subject focusing their thoughts on the worst possible outcome or event. The purpose of this is that the subject focuses so much on this that they are literally flooded with these great fears. Because the subject is thinking so much about this fear, the stimulus loses it potential to create such fear and anxiety ("Changing States"). Ivan P.Pavlov was the first initiator of behaviourism as he formed the basis and groundwork of behaviourism. Pavlov was a Russian scientist who was particularly interested in conditioned reflexes which led him to his infamous experiment of dogs and their salivary glands. ...read more.


Behaviourism is very much about nurture when it comes to the nature vs. nurture debate as it focuses on external stimuli affecting behaviour. Where behaviourism applied behaviour can be controlled, as action and external operations are controllable. Behaviourism can only explain a small part of human behaviour but it can no fully describe it. (Kazdin, 2000). To explain human behaviour an updated perspective is needed and not one convention is 100% right. The best approach is to take a little from each (McIerney 1998). Behaviourism was extremely influential in the early 20th century as it was the most up to date information available. Since scientific advances in brain chemistry and thought processes behaviourism has become outdated. Pavlov, Watson and Skinner had major impacts on not only behaviourism but also to psychology. Their techniques can still be applied today. Although behaviourism can explain a bit about behaviour it is far too narrow as it does not encompass or consider mental working of a human and brain functions which is a very important role in behaviour. Even though it is outdated behaviourism is still an interesting convention of psychology and can still be useful in explaining behaviour and treating behaviour problems. ...read more.

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3* References to key theorists and well known studies are made but with superficial analysis. More explanation and evaluation would much improve the essay. Remember to check the spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Marked by teacher Stephanie Duckworth 10/06/2013

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