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Describe and discuzz the Behaviourist approach to psychology

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Describe and discuss the behaviourists approach in psychology The behaviourists base their study on examining individuals and their response to stimuli. They believed that we should only study what we can see; therefore they studied directly observable behaviour. The behaviourists did this because they believed that it was incorrect to try and measure what we cannot see, as this leads to inaccuracy. It is for these reasons that the behaviourists carry out their study on behaviour as it is directly observable and the learning process can be studied objectively. The behaviourists believe that we are all born as 'blank slate upon which experience writes'. The behaviourists believed in stimulus-response psychology (S-R), this is shown through the study of Pavlov. Pavlov was an early psychologist born in 1849 on September 14. Pavlov was a Russian physiologist whose research on the physiology led to the development of the first experimental model of learning, Classical Conditioning. Most of his research was gathered studying salivation in dogs. Pavlov concluded that he was able to pair a neutral stimulus with a response producing stimulus and have the neutral stimulus eventually elicit the response that was associated with the original, unlearned reflex. The paradigm for this is Pavlov's experiment. In Classical Conditioning terminology, an unconditioned stimulus (US) is an event that causes a response to occur, which is referred to as the unconditioned response (UR). ...read more.


The main objective of behaviourists such as Watson was to observe whether it was possible for humans to be classically conditioned and the study on how behaviour changes to certain stimuli. The Behaviourists wanted psychology to be established as a natural science they focused on obtaining data that was; open to public scrutiny, replicable and measurable. This is known as empirical data. Quantitative data gives an overall advantage as it can be easily collated and the conditions controlled. The behaviourists practiced the aforementioned methods of data collection because they believed that the theories needed to be justified, there use of experiments to prove their theories also backed this up. The behaviourists centred their psychological approach on behaviour, this ensuring that the data collected is empirical data, and from conducting experiments they can base psychology on the other natural sciences so that psychology could be deemed successful. By doing research and carrying out vast spectrums of experiments the Behaviourists have contributed and influenced the world of today. They have added to education by allowing us to use their methods to prove other theories and operant conditioning is used in school life everyday. Operant conditioning is based on learning through consequences. For example: If one pupil kicked another pupil and the teacher told him off for this inappropriate behaviour, the punishment for this behaviour should make the pupil learn not to do this again as a consequence comes with the action. ...read more.


If the there is no visible change then the behaviourists will not account for it. Yet still, many argue that learning can be measured in term of behavioural change. Using the experimental example of Pavlov and the dog it was apparent that the behaviour had changed as the dog had associated the bell with food so even when no food was presented the dog would still begin to salivate and it had paired the bell with food and this is proves that the dog was conditioned, meaning his behaviour had been altered. The behaviourists do not take into account factors such as: genetics, ethnicity, gender or age. They believe that we were all 'blank slates' and as we have all been through different experiences throughout the course of our life, we have all acquired different behaviours due to our varied journeys. Ethologists are against Behaviourists because their belief is that we are a product of nature and that we should study innate tendencies. Many criticise that the Behaviourists focus too much on being deterministic, which is the belief that behaviour id determined but the environment and that we do not choose to respond to a stimulus. Many psychologists believe that it is incorrect to try and generalise the characteristics between both humans and animals, this is because they are so qualitatively biologically different meaning that the difference is so great that I can not possible be measured. The behaviourists have definitely helped shape psychology in a phenomenal way. ?? ?? ?? ?? Leigh-Ann Cooke ...read more.

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