The Behaviorist Approach

What is the Behaviorist Approach also known as?
The social learning theory

Who invented the Behaviorist Approach?
John Watson, 1913

What is one assumption of the Behaviorist Approach?
The majority of all behaviour is learned from the environment after birth (takes the nurture side of the nature vs nurture debate), and so psychology should investigate the laws and products of learning

What is one other assumption of the Behaviorist Approach?
Behaviour is determined by the environment, since we are merely the total of all our past learning experiences, freewill is an illusion

What is one other assumption of the Behaviorist Approach?
Only observable behaviour not minds should be studied if psychology is to be an objective science, since we cannot see into other people’s minds, and if we ask them about their thoughts they may lie, not know or just be mistaken

What is one other assumption of the Behaviorist Approach?
Most learning theorists adopt a scientific approach

What contribution does the Behaviorist Approach have to psychology?
Language acquisition, moral development, attraction, abnormality

How does the Behaviorist Approach promote language acquisition?
Skinner’s theory, e.g Correct utterances are positively reinforced when the child realizes the communicative value of words and phrases.

How does the Behaviorist Approach promote moral development?
Conditioned emotional responses of guilt and conscience

How does the Behaviorist Approach promote attraction?
Byrne & Clore’s reinforcement affect model

How does the Behaviorist Approach promote abnormality?
The classical conditioning of phobias and their treatment

What is one strength of the Behaviorist Approach?
Behaviourism was very scientific and its experimental methodology left a lasting impression on the subject

What is one other strength of the Behaviorist Approach?
It provided strong counter-arguments to the nature side of the nature-nurture debates

What is another strength of the Behaviorist Approach?
The approach is very parsimonious, explaining a great variety of phenomena using only a few simple principles

What is also one strength of the Behaviorist Approach?
Behaviourism has produced many practical applications, some of which have been very affective

What is another one strength of the Behaviorist Approach?
Social learning theory has overcome some of the weaknesses of the behaviourists’ theories

What is one weakness of the Behaviorist Approach?
Ethologists argued that the behaviourists ignored innate, built in biases in learning due to evolution, but also disagreed with the behaviourists’ use of animals and lab experiments, saying that there is a biologically qualitative difference between humans and others animals and that experiments only demonstrate artificial, not natural learning

What is one other weakness of the Behaviorist Approach?
Cognitive psychologists think that behaviourism ignores important mental processes involved in learning; while the humanistic approach disliked their rejection of conscious mental experience