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The Behaviourist approach Behaviourist Approach (AO1) MUS T Name and outline: 1.Classical Conditioning 2.Operant Conditioning 3. Social Learning Theory.

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Presentation on theme: "The Behaviourist approach Behaviourist Approach (AO1) MUS T Name and outline: 1.Classical Conditioning 2.Operant Conditioning 3. Social Learning Theory."— Presentation transcript:

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2 The Behaviourist approach

3 Behaviourist Approach (AO1) MUS T Name and outline: 1.Classical Conditioning 2.Operant Conditioning 3. Social Learning Theory CLASSICAL CONDITIONING: is about the association between a stimulus and a response (Pavlov, 1927) OPERANT CONDITIONING: is when we learn to behave in certain ways due to positive and negative reinforcement (Skinner, 1974) SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY: behaviour is shaped by observing and imitating the behaviour of others (Bandura, 1973)

4 Classical Conditioning An event in the environment = stimulus The physiological reaction = response An example of Classical Conditioning can be seen in the experiment by Watson and Raynor (1920) into the conditioning of Little Albert… SHOUL D

5 Classical Conditioning BEFORE CONDITIONING DURING CONDITIONING AFTER CONDITIONING LOUD NOISE = unconditioned stimulus (UCS) WHITE RAT = neutral stimulus (NS) Fear/Crying (UCR) No fear response LOUD NOISE (UCS) + WHITE RAT (NS) Fear / Crying (UCR) WHITE RAT (CS) Fear / Crying (CR) LEADS TO PHOBIA SHOUL D

6 Main Assumptions : 1. Emphasis on behaviour -Behaviourists believe that our actions are determined largely by the experiences we have in life, rather than by underlying pathology of unconscious forces. -Abnormality is therefore seen as the development of behaviour patterns that are considered maladaptive for the individual. 2. All behaviour is learned through : - Classical conditioning -Operant conditioning -Social learning 3. Learning environments -Learning environments can reinforce problematic behaviours -Our society can also provide deviant maladaptive models that children identify with and imitate. The behavioural approach is investigated using EXPERIMENTS and ANIMAL STUDIES

7 6 KEY FEATURES OF THE BEHAVIOURAL APPROACH TO PSYCHOPATHOLOGY (Abnormality) Assumption 1: All behaviour is learned through experience. All behaviour, including abnormal behaviour, is learned through the processes of classical and/or operant conditioning. Classical Conditioning involves learning through association. Operant conditioning involves learning through rewards (positive and negative reinforcement) and punishment. Or through modelling and Social Learning Theory. (as in Bandura’s ‘BoBo’ doll study) Assumption 2: What has been learned/acquired can be unlearned through the processes of conditioning, classical or operant. Undesirable or maladaptive behaviour can be replaced by desirable or adaptive behaviour e.g. we can use behavioural therapies such as Desensitization and token economies.

8 7 Classical Conditioning was one of the first types of learning to be discovered. It was studied by Ivan Pavlov using his dogs. Ivan Pavlov CLASSICAL CONDITIONING

9 Classical Conditioning Learning occurs through association: - A neutral stimulus is paired with an unconditioned stimulus, resulting in a new stimulus-response link - The neutral stimulus is now a conditioned stimulus producing a conditioned response. - E.g. Pavlov (1901) taught dogs to salivate when they heard a bell UCS (presentation of food) UCR (salivation) UCS + NS (bell) UCR (salivation) CS (bell) CR (salivation)

10 9 How this can cause a phobia….. Classical Conditioning: We learn to associate one thing with another e.g. Child on mum’s knee Child sees spider (NS) – unafraid – doesn’t know what spider is! Mum sees spider Mum screams and drops baby! Baby associates spider with fear and lump on head (UCS)! Baby sees spider Baby cries! (CR)

11 Classical conditioning and abnormality Classical conditioning has been said to account for the development of phobias. - The feared object (e.g. spider or rat) is associated with a fear or anxiety sometime in the past. - The conditioned stimulus subsequently evokes a powerful fear response characterised by avoidance of the feared object and the emotion of fear whenever the object is encountered.

12 - Wanted to prove that fear responses can be learned - Worked with 11 month old named ‘Little Albert’ - First tested his response to white fluffy objects – he showed no fear - Next created a conditioned response to these previously neutral objects. They made a loud noise behind Albert’s head every time he went near a white rat in order to startle him. - Repeated this until whenever the rat was shown to Albert he would cry because he associated the rat with a loud and frightening noise – they had conditioned a fear response in him. The responses then generalised to all fluffy animals. - Activity: in pairs consider the methodological issues of this study. Little Albert (Watson and Rayner (1920)

13 Operant Conditioning Learning occurs through reinforcement - We respond to our environment through reinforcement and punishment - Responses that are reinforced are more likely to be repeated. Those that are punished are more likely to be avoided. - Skinner (1974) demonstrated that rats could be taught voluntary responses by reward and punishment of behaviour. - Different patterns of behaviour are taught through use of different schedules of reinforcement.

14 13 Operant conditioning A behaviour that has a positive effect is more likely to be repeated Positive and negative reinforcement (escape from aversive stimulus) are agreeable Punishment is disagreeable Therefore treatment is by positive & negative reinforcement and punishment (used in schools to treat disruptive children – and in treatment of disorders such as anorexia)

15 14 OPERANT CONDITIONING B. F. Skinner ( ) Operant Conditioning The PIGEON & The Skinner Box Results in the behaviour being repeated Reinforcement of Behaviour (by reward) Behaviour can then be SHAPED to give a desired response.

16 Operant Conditioning = positive reinforcement = negative reinforcement SHOUL D

17 16 How can this cause abnormal behaviour? We can learn to associate and action with a reward or sanction e.g. Boy sees sweets at checkout Boy wants sweets but mum says No! Boy screams and shouts and has a tantrum Mum gives boy sweets reinforcing the bad behaviour Boy learns that tantrums = getting what he wants! So next time boy wants sweets…..

18 - E.g. an individual may be rewarded for having panic attacks by receiving attention from family and friends – this would lead to the behaviour being reinforced and increasing in later life. - Psychological disorders are produced when a maladaptive behaviour is rewarded or goes unpunished. Operant conditioning and abnormality

19 Social Learning - This is an extension of skinner’s work and suggests that we learn through observing another’s behaviour and it’s consequences. We imitate behaviour that we see being rewarded – vicarious reinforcement. - People observe and imitate the behaviour of other people (models). Social learning and abnormality - Abnormal behaviours can therefore be learned and imitated. - E.g. If an individual grows up in an environment where their mother has a phobia of mice. If the behaviour is unpunished, they may imitate the behaviour which may lead to developing the phobia themselves. - However, it is difficult to separate the effects of genetics from the effects of social learning (Kendall and Hammen, 1995)

20 19 Social Learning Theory – Imitation of role models & Reinforcement can also lead to abnormal behaviour:- Girl watches mother (role model) who has OCD washing ritualistically every item in house daily. Girl cleans own things in same way – copying mum! Evidence: Bandura’s BoBo Doll exp. ~>

21 Behaviourist Approach (AO1) COULD APPLY classical conditioning, operant conditioning and social learning theory to the explanation of abnormal behaviour… How can we apply Classical Conditioning to the explanation of Phobias? Operant Conditioning can explain some psychological disorders such as antisocial personality disorder – how? How can Social Learning Theory best explain some other phobias and disorders? Fear of heights: If a person climbs to the top of a high building (stimulus), looks down and feels nausea and dizziness (response), the association between the two, and the response will cause the phobia. If childhood aggression is reinforced then the behaviour is likely to be repeated. Also, anxiety or depression might receive reward in the form of attention and concern, also making the behaviour be repeated. Antisocial behaviour can also be explained by SLT if a child observes a model who is rewarded. This can lead to imitation. Also some phobias develop due to observing how a model responds to a stimulus


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