Behaviourists Approach

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  • Created on: 30-05-22 11:42
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  • behaviourist approach
    • Assumptions
      • Only interested in studying behaviours that can be observed and measured.
      • In behaviourists' research, animals could replace humans as experimental subjects.
    • Classical Conditioning (Pavlov)
      • Learning through association.
      • UCS - An event that produces an innate, unlearned reflex response.
      • UCR - An innate, unlearned reflex behaviour produced when exposed to an UCS.
      • NS - An event that doesn't produce a response.
      • CS - An event that produces a learned response.
      • CR - A learned reflex behaviour produced when exposed to an CS.
      • Pavlov revealed that dogs could be conditioned to salivate to the sound of a bell, if the sound was repeatedly presented at the same time as they were given food.
        • Gradually, the dogs learned to associate the sound of the bell (NS) with the food (UCS) and would produce the salivation response every time they heard the sound.
          • Pavlov showed how a NS, in this case the bell, can bring a new learned response (CR) through association.
    • Operant Conditioning (Skinner)
      • New voluntary behaviour is associated with a consequence - reinforcement makes the behaviour more likely to occur, punishment makes it less likely to occur.
      • Skinner created an experimetntal tool called the Skinner box.
        • Investigated how the type of reinforcement or punishment given and the rate of reinforcement or punishment affected the rate of learning.
      • Positive Reinforcement - Receiving a reward when a certain behaviour is performed.
        • Every time a rat activated a lever it was rewarded with a food pellet.
          • Increases the likelihood that a certain behaviour will be repeated.
      • Negative reinforcement - Occurs when a individual completes an action to avoid something unpleasant.
        • A rat may learn through negative reinforcement that pressing the lever leads to avoidance of an electric shock
          • Increases the likelihood that a certain behaviour will be repeated.
      • Punishment  - Unpleasant consequence of behaviour.
        • Every time a rat activated a lever it caused an unpleasant stimulus, e.g., electric shock.
          • Decreases the likelihood the behaviour will be repeated
    • Contributions
      • Provided therapies for the treatments of disorders such as phobias and addictions (aversion therapies and flooding)
        • Useful in education and childcare for improving behaviour
      • Provided theories of learning and laws of learning.
        • Focuses on environmental causes and experiences
      • Use of experiments showed learning could be investigated experimentally and using non-human participants
        • Insistence on objectivity and study of overt behaviour raising psychology's scientific status.
      • P - It gave psychology scientific credibility
        • E -The approach focused on the careful measurement of observable behaviour within controlled lab setting.
          • E - Furthermore, behaviourists emphasised the importance of scientific processes such as objectivity and replication.
            • L - This brought the language and methods of the natural sciences into psychology, giving the subject greater credibility and status.
      • P - Its application is useful for treatments
        • E - Behavioural principles have contributed to the development of a range of effective therapies especially for phobia including flooding.
          • E - For example, if a patient is prevented from practising their avoidance behaviour then phobic behaviour declines.
            • L - This means that the the behavioural approach has been applied practically in a range of setting increasing its value.
      • P - It advocates a form of environmental determinism
        • E - The approach sees all behaviour as determined by pat experiences that have been learned through conditioning.
          • E - This means that we have no free will and that any choices we make are illusions.
            • L - This is an extreme position and means the behaviourists approach ignores the influences of any conscious decision making processes on behaviour which has implications for the Individual.
      • P - An issue is the use of animals in studies.
        • E - Extrapolating findings from animal to humans may not be appropriate as humans learn in a different way to animal species for example with language.
          • E - Furthermore, humans have emotions and thought processes that have been shown to influence behaviour.
            • L - This means that the behaviourists assumptions regarding learning must be generalised with caution from animal studies when explanting human behaviour.


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