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1 What do people mean when they talk about ‘human nature’?

2 "Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select-doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant- chief, and yes, even beggarman and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors" (Watson, 1924) What claims is Watson making about human nature?

3 Today’s session We are learning about...We are learning how to... The behaviourist approach to psychology Explanations of behaviourism Apply psychological ideas to create psychological explanations

4 John B. Watson’s big idea... There is no such thing as ‘human nature’. We are born as a ‘blank slate’ and shaped by our environments.

5 Principles of behaviourism All behaviour is learned – Learning is a product of experience with the environment – Innate characteristics have little impact on behaviour Do behaviourists take a nature or a nurture view of human behaviour?

6 Read and analyse the examples of children learning. – What is each child learning? – How are they learning it? – How do we know they have learned something?

7 Behaviourism and learning Learning is a change in behaviour caused by experience. Learning can occur through: – Associating one thing with another (classical conditioning) – Getting a positive or negative consequence for a particular action (operant conditioning) – Observing the behaviour of someone else (social learning)

8 Behaviourism and anxiety disorders Phobia – people learn an anxiety response to a previously neutral object or situation, through classical conditioning (Peter) or social learning (Mary). OCD – through operant conditioning, people learn that a particular set of actions (the compulsion) reduces their anxiety levels. This is rewarding, so next time they feel anxious they do it again (Paul).

9 Behaviourist explanations of anxiety disorders Think about the range of symptoms of phobia and OCD. Does the behaviourism approach explain all, most or only some aspects of the disorders? How could we do a study to test empirically the idea that anxiety disorders can be learned?

10 Homework Locate, read and summarise the following research studies: – Hodgson & Rachman (1972) – Bagby (1922) – Watson & Rayner (1920) Collectively, what do these studies tell us about the role of learning in anxiety disorders?

11 Behaviourism and animal research Behaviourists conduct much of their research using animals, whose environments they manipulate in order to shape their behaviour. – How could we justify generalising from other animals to humans? – What advantages might animal research have over research with humans?

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