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The Historical Development of Psychology . Behaviorism

Mar 26, 2019

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Chapter 5 focuses on Behaviorism
Ivan Palvov studied a form of learning behavior called a conditioned reflex, in which an animal or human produced reflex (unconscious) response to a stimulus. Palvov’s “ classical conditioning” is only one form of learning behavior studied by behaviorists. While Wundt and James were concerned with understanding conscious experience, J. B. Watson believed objective analysis of the mind was impossible, he preferred to focus directly on observable behavior and try to bring that behavior under control. Watson was a major proponent of shifting the focus of psychology from the mind to behavior, and this approach of learning and controlling behavior came to be known as Behaviorism. A major object if study by behaviorists was observable behavior and its interaction with inborn qualities of the organism. Behaviorism commonly used animals in experiments under the assumption that what was learned using animal models could, to some extent, be applied to human behavior. Behaviorism is largely responsible for establishing psychology as a scientific disciple through its objective methods and especially experimentation. It has also led to research on environmental influences on human behavior. Skinner spoke of reinforcement and punishment as major factors in driving behavior. As a part of his research , Skinner developed a chamber that allowed the careful study of the principles of modifying behavior through reinforcement and punishment, this is known as Operant conditioning. Skinner's focus on positive and negative reinforcement of learned behaviors had a lasting influence in psychology that has waned somewhat since the growth of research in cognitive psychology.
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