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Behaviorism. Behaviorism grew in response to the popularity of Psychoanalysis as well as to the seemingly pessimistic perspective outlook on the human.

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Presentation on theme: "Behaviorism. Behaviorism grew in response to the popularity of Psychoanalysis as well as to the seemingly pessimistic perspective outlook on the human."— Presentation transcript:

1 Behaviorism

2 Behaviorism grew in response to the popularity of Psychoanalysis as well as to the seemingly pessimistic perspective outlook on the human condition. Early 20 th Century figures included –E.L. Thorndike –John B. Watson (Father of American Behaviorism) Mid 20 th Century figures included - B.F. Skinner (Americas most prolific writer and theorist on behaviorism)

3 Radical Behaviorism A doctrine that avoids all hypothetical constructs, such as ego, traits, drives, needs, hunger, the unconscious, etc. This deterministic model rejected the notion of volition or free will.

4 Skinner’s Scientific Behaviorism Scientific behaviorism allows for an interpretation of behavior but not an explanation. Interpretation permits a scientist to generalize from a simple learning condition to a more general one. Skinner used simple animal experiments and applied them to human behavior.

5 Characteristics of Science Science is cumulative Science is an attitude that values empirical observations Science is a search for order and lawful relationship.

6 Conditioning Classical Condition (Pavlov) renamed by Skinner as Respondent Conditioning –Environment elicits a response from the organism –Little Albert experiment Operant Conditioning (Skinner) –The organism emits a response on the environment and the response is strengthened by reinforcement.

7 Operant Conditioning Shaping Successive Approximations ABC’s of conditioning –Antecedents (environment in which the behavior takes place) –Behavior –Consequences (the reward) Operant Discrimination – Not an ability we possess but due to the consequences of our reinforcement history. Stimulus Generalization – Is a response to a similar environment in the absence of previous reinforcement.

8 Reinforcements Any stimulus that, when added to a situation increases the probability of a behavior is a positive reinforcement. The removal of an aversive stimulus from a situation also increases the probability of the preceding behavior is a negative reinforcement.

9 Punishments Punishment is the presentation or addition of an aversive stimulus (positive punishment) or the removal of a positive one (negative punishment) Human and animal behavior is always better served by positive and negative reinforcement than by punishments.

10 Effects of Punishment Suppress behavior in general Conditioning of negative feelings by associating a strong aversive stimulus with the behavior being punished Spreading of its effects because any stimulus associated with the punishment may be suppressed or avoided

11 Punishment and Reinforcement Compared Both have some characteristics in common: Two kinds of each (+/-) Both derive from natural consequences or from human imposition Both are a means of controlling behavior Skinner favored planned control of behavior – Walden Two (1948)

12 Conditioned Reinforcers Conditioned reinforcers (secondary or learned) take on their value because of their relationship with an unconditioned reinforcer (primary) Can also generalize to many other primary reinforcers. A good example is “money”.

13 Schedules of Reinforcement Continuous versus Intermittent Ratios versus Intervals –Fixed versus Variable Acquisition versus Extinction

14 Loss of learning can occur because of: The passage of time Interference from previous or subsequent learning The effects of punishment Extinction – the tendency of a previously acquired response to become progressively weakened by non-reinforcement

15 Skinner believed that human behavior is shaped by three forces Natural Selection – Allows the human creature to survive in the ever changing world Cultural Practices – Allows human groups to survive The individual’s history of reinforcement

16 Inner States Although Skinner rejected explanations of behavior founded on non-observable hypothetical constructs, he did not deny the existence of internal states including: –Love –Anxiety –Fear –He called these private events

17 Self-awareness Skinner believed that humans are fully conscious. –Awareness of themselves, their environment and the own mental activity

18 Drives Drives are not causes of behavior but merely explanatory fictions. –Drives simply refer to the effects of deprivation and satiation and the corresponding probability that the organism will respond. –Knowing enough about the ABC’s of behavior would allow a psychologist to know why a person reacts the way they do.

19 Emotions Skinner recognized the subjective existence of emotions and insisted that behavior must not be attributed to them. He accounted for emotions by the contingencies of survival and the contingencies of reinforcement.

20 Purpose and Intention Skinner cautioned against attributing behavior to them. Purpose and intention exist within the individual and are not subject to direct outside scrutiny or observation.

21 Complex Behavior Skinner believed that even the most complex human behaviors are shaped by the same forces of natural selection, cultural evolution, and the individual’s history of reinforcement. He did not deny the existence of cognition, reason, recall, creativity, unconscious behavior, dreams and social behavior.

22 Higher Mental Processes Very difficult to study Thinking, problem solving, and reminiscing are covert behavior that take place within the “skin” and not inside the “mind”. They are amenable to the same forces (contingencies of reinforcement) as other overt behaviors.

23 Creativity If behaviors were nothing other than a predictable response to a stimulus, creative behavior could not exist because only previously reinforced behavior would be emitted. Skinner believed that creative behavior is similar to natural selection in evolutionary theory. –Accidental variations in behavior are selected by their reinforcing consequences.

24 Unconscious Behavior Skinner did not accept the idea of a warehouse of unconscious ideas or feelings. He did accept the idea of unconscious “behavior”. –Behavior is labeled “unconscious” when they no longer think about it (either by reinforcement or punishment)

25 Dreams Skinner saw dreams as covert and symbolic forms of behavior that are subject to the same contingencies of reinforcement as other behaviors are. Dream behavior is reinforcing when the consequence of the behavior are reinforcing or avoid punishment.

26 Social Behavior Groups do not behave; individuals behave. Individuals establish groups because they have been rewarded to do so. Sometimes membership in a group is not reinforcing but members remain in the group: –People may remain in a group that abuses them because some group members are reinforcing them. –Children may not possess the means to leave –Reinforcement may occur on an intermittent basis so that he abuse suffered by the individual is intermingled with occasional rewards.

27 Control of Human Behavior Ultimately, an individual’s behavior is controlled by environmental contingencies.

28 Social Control Individuals act to form social groups because such behavior tends to be reinforced. Same for groups, organizations, nations, societies, etc.

29 Social Control Operant conditioning –Positive reinforcement –Negative reinforcement –Aversive stimuli (positive punishment) –Removing a positive stimulus (negative punishment)

30 Social Control Describing contingencies –Through the use of language –Social control of advertising, etc.

31 Social Control Deprivation and satiation –Depriving and providing through control of internal states.

32 Social Control Physical constraint –Prisons –Controlling children

33 Self Control Controlling the variables within one’s own environment and thus exercising some measure of self-control –Physical aids, tools, finances, etc. –Change the environment –Arrange their environment so that they can escape from an aversive stimulus only by producing the proper response –Take drugs as a means of self control

34 Unhealthy Personality Counteracting Strategies –Escape (problems with intimacy) –Revolt –Passive resistance (stubbornness) Inappropriate Behaviors –Self-defeating techniques –Excess vigorous activity or unrestrained behavior –Defective self-knowledge

35 Therapy Teach appropriate skills and behaviors Techniques

36 Critique Generate research – 5 Falsifiable – 5 Organization – 3 Guide to Action – 5 Internal consistency – 5 Parsimony – 3 DeterministicOptimisticConscious Social emphasis Causal

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