7 The Second Force: Behaviourism - Watson and Skinner Flashcards Preview

2014 Personality and Intelligence > 7 The Second Force: Behaviourism - Watson and Skinner > Flashcards

Flashcards in 7 The Second Force: Behaviourism - Watson and Skinner Deck (20)
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What is the assumption of evolutionary continuity in Behaviourism?

Human and animal behaviour are not different in kind, but only in the degree of complexity


What is the assumption of reductionism in Behaviourism?

All behaviour is understandable ultimately as the workings of the organism's nervous system


What is the assumption of determinism in Behaviourism?

Every behaviour is caused, and the cause can be traced to environmental stimuli connecting the action to its biochemical bases.


What is the assumption of empiricism in Behaviourism?

Only phenomena that could be observed, measured and manipulated were fit subjects for psychology.


What are the four assumptions of behaviourism

1. Evolutionary continuity
2. Reductionism
3. Determinism
4. Empiricism


What kind of concepts, according to Watson, are beyond the realm of scientific psychology?

Mental constructs such as mind, personality, consciousness, introspection, instincts, sensation, perception, motivation and mental states


How did Watson define Behaviourism?

Behaviourism is "the study of what people do"


What was personality for Watson?

What we call personality was for Watson simply learned habit systems


Birth/death dates of John Broadus Watson?

1878-1958. Also, elected president of APA in 1915


What was the point of the Little Albert study?

To prove that emotions can be conditioned


How did the Little Albert Study work?

By pairing sight of rat with loud noise (US), Watson was able to elicit fear (CR) as a conditioned response to the rat (CS)


What are some of the limitations of the Little Albert Study?

i) the study's reliance on only one subject;
ii) insufficient experimental stimuli to test for generalization effects;
iii) subjective observers' accounts;
iv) technology that did not permit a reliable assessment of emotional responses;
v) insufficient follow-up of Albert’s long- term fear responses and
vi) a confounding of instrumental and classical conditioning paradigms.


How do behaviourists account for phobias?

With difficulty. Arachnophobia, for instance, cannot be accurately traced to a specific traumatic event (UC that caused fear). Where is the pairing? General difficulty in tracing paired associations b/w US and CS is a significant limitation of radical behaviourist approach.


What are 3 limitations to the radical behaviourist approach?

1. The behaviourists have not sufficiently recognised that an individual is not a tabula rasa whose behaviour is determined only by the situation (or the stimulus-response–reinforcement pattern in the situation).

2. Ethnologists have shown a strong genetic component to much of our behaviour.

3. Biological limits, species-specific behaviour and innate pre-dispositions all place a ceiling on the effectiveness and reliability of conditioning paradigms (Seligman, 1972; Eysenck, 1976).


Birth/death dates of Skinner?



Did Skinner consider the possibility of thought in his model?

Yes, but thought it was secondary in importance to the role of environment


What did Skinner call events that are non-observable?

Private events - such as remembering and emotional reactions


Did Skinner believe most human behaviours were voluntary or automatic?

Skinner believed most human behaviours are voluntary


In what conditions can a reinforcer shape voluntary behaviour?

When the reinforcer is contingent on the response


What was the difference in the way Watson and Skinner conceptualised the role of the environment?

Watson: A specific stimulus in the environment triggers automatic or involuntary behaviour.

Skinner: The consequences of the behaviour
affect the frequency of re-occurrence of
that (voluntary) behaviour.

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