Compare And Contrast The Main Theoretical Concepts Relating To The Behaviourist And Cognitive Approach To Psychology
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Compare And Contrast The Main Theoretical Concepts Relating To The Behaviourist And Cognitive Approach To Psychology In this essay I am going to explore two of the major approaches to Psychology, Cognitive theories and Behaviourist theories. I will discuss in some detail the two approaches, state how they compare and illustrate the similarities and the differences between them. John Watson, one of the founders of Behaviourism, based his theories on the principles of learning outlined by Pavlov who suggested the theory known as Classical Conditioning; he trained dogs to salivate whenever he rang a bell. Dogs have a natural reflex response to salivate when they see food, Pavlov rang a bell when the dogs were given food and after several repetitions of this action, the dogs began to salivate whenever they heard the bell, even when there was not any food there. This approach rejected the idea of the conscious mind. Albert Ellis & Aaron T Beck developed the present form of the Cognitive approach to psychology in the 1950's. This development emerged from a growing dissatisfaction with the narrowness of the behaviourist approach as it neglects complex human activities such as planning and communication.
Behaviourists believe that since very little behaviour in human beings is inherited, the focus is on the role of experience, which is expressed through learning. It is easy to say that our past experiences determine how we behave, but how do we learn? Behaviourists believe that we learn through association, in other words we form connections between events and ideas. In contrast to the behaviourists views on learning, Cognitive Psychologists believe that the human brain is genetically able to process and organise information in certain ways, for example; language is developed in most human infants at approximately the same age, no matter in which country or on which continent they live in and regardless of the language spoken by the parents. While the first Behaviourists saw learning as a case of trial and error, Cognitive Psychologist argue that we tend to organise our experience in certain ways, this is shown as Insight, which means a rapid change in the way someone organises a problem, typically this is characterised by a change in behaviour from random responses to rule based responses.
They believe that the information we store in our memory has to be significant. In conclusion the cognitive approach to Psychology deals with the mental processes such as memory and problem solving. By focusing on mental processes it places itself opposite behaviourism, which tends to ignore the mental processes of the human mind. In this day and age it seems that the cognitive approach has become more popular that the behaviourist approach and it is one of the dominant approaches to psychology. Behaviourism is focused on what individuals choose to do rather than what they may be thinking or feeling, if focuses on what you can see not the emotions. It is difficult to measure the thinking or feeling of independence and the behaviour of others, as well as the expectations of others in any particular given situation, for example John Watson believed that given the right environment anybody could be made into anything. Sources of Information Psychology - A New Introduction by Richard Gross, Rob McIlveen, Hugh Coolicun, Alan Clamp and Julia Russell (Twelfth Edition) Hilgards Introduction to Psychology by Rita L Atkinson, Richard C Atkison, Edward G Smith, Daryl J Bern and Susan Nolen-Hoeksema (Second Edition) Basic Psychology by Henry Gleitman (First Edition) www.sntp.net/behaviourism.thml http://scs.une.edu.au/Materials/573/573_4.html
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