What is the behaviourist approach?
Explaining behaviour in terms of what is visible and in terms of learning
What are the assumptions of the behaviourists?
- All behaviours learnt from our environment
- Focus on observable behaviours
- Animals and humans learn in the same way
- Psychology should be scientific and objective
What is classical conditioning?
Learning by association
What is operant conditioning?
Learning by reinforcement and consequences
What is reinforcement?
Consequence of behaviour which increases the likelihood of the behaviour being repeated and can be either negative or positive
What is punishment?
Consequence of behaviour which decreases the likelihood of the behaviour being repeated
What type of conditioning did Pavlov look into?
What type of conditioning did Skinner look into?
Outline Pavlov’s methodology and results
- When the dogs were first presented with food they salivated which is an unconditioned response to an unconditioned stimulus
- Pavlov then sounded the bell (neutral stimulus) before giving the food
- The dog began to salivate (conditioned response) at the sound of the bell (conditioned stimulus) without the presence of food
Outline Skinner’s methodology and results
- If the rat pressed a lever in a box, food would be presented (positive reinforcement) and the behaviour would be repeated then
- If the rat pressed a different button, they’d get an electric shock (punishment) and the behaviour wasn’t repeated
What role does the behaviourist approach have in gaining scientific credibility?
Bring in scientific methodology and language
Controlled lab settings which allowed for replication
What are the real life applications of the behaviourist approach?
Token economies in prison and psychiatric wards
Treatment of phobias
What type of determinism is seen in the behaviourist approach?
What is environmental determinism?
Sees all behaviour as determined by past experiences that have been conditioned
Why is the behaviourist approach a mechanistic view of behaviour?
Animals are seen as passive with little to no conscious insight into their behaviours but humans are very different to this
What are the issues with carrying out animal studies and generalising the findings to humans?
They may not be entirely generalisable as they are different species to us and wont learn in the exact same way
Ethical issues - psychological harm may be caused to animals