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Behaviorism

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  1. Behaviorism http://maxweber.hunter.cuny.edu/pub/eres/EDSPC715_MCINTYRE/cartoon12.JPG

  2. Predecessors of Behaviorism • Animal psychology • Thorndike • Pavlov

  3. Clever Hans, the clever horse • von Osten’s goal: prove humans and animals have similar mental processes

  4. Clever Hans, the clever horse An Investigation • Used experimental approach • 2 groups of questioners • Group 1 knew the answers • Group 2 did not know the answers • Hans only answered correctly when questionersknew the answers

  5. Clever Hans, the clever horse An Investigation • Conclusion: • Hans was receiving some type of information from questioners • Hans had been unintentionally conditioned by his owner • Impact: • Scientists more skeptical of mental processes in animals But… • Provided proof that animals were capable of learning


  6. Edward Lee Thorndike (1874–1949) • Believed psychology should study behavior, not elements/conscious experiences • Developed a theory of learning • Puzzle boxes • Measurements: • errors • time • Trial-and-error learning

  7. Theory of Learning • Connectionism • Association between stimuli and responses • Connection more likely to form if followed by a reinforcement • Response-units • simplest elements of behavior

  8. Formal Laws of Learning • Law of effect: • behavior that produces a good outcome becomes associated with a certain situation; • when the situation recurs, the behavior is likely to occur again (“stamping in”) • likewise, a behavior with a bad outcome is less likely to occur again (“stamping out”)

  9. Pavlov’s life (1849-1936) • Intended to study for the priesthood • Read about Darwin, chose to study animal physiology • Total dedication to research, unwilling to deal with everyday problems • 1904 Nobel Prize for work on digestion

  10. An Accidental Discovery

  11. Conditioned reflexes • Experimental Results • Salivating to the food in mouth is innate: unconditional reflex • Salivating to the sight of food is learned: conditional reflex http://www.sciencecases.org/behaviorism/title.jpg

  12. US (meat) NS (bell) UR (saliva) nothing Conditioned reflexes • Before conditioning

  13. US (meat) UR (saliva) Conditioned reflexes • After conditioning CS (bell) CR (saliva)

  14. Influences on Psychology • Shift of associationism from • subjective ideas • objective physiological responses • Provided Watson with a new method

  15. Toward a science of behavior • Background • 1892-1923: structuralism dominates, then first supplemented and finally replaced by functionalism • 1913: behaviorism declares war • Protest against both structuralism and functionalism • 1924: Watsonian behaviorism preeminent in US

  16. Three stages of behaviorism • 1913-1930: Watsonian behaviorism • 1930-1960: Neobehaviorism • Hull, Skinner • 1960-present: Sociobehaviorism • return to cognitive processes • Bandura, Rotter

  17. Watson’s Life (1878-1958) • Family: poor, father drank, frequently unemployed, ran off with another woman when Watson was 13 • Personality: • Delinquent as a teen • At 16, enrolled in university to become minister • Very ambitious but insecure

  18. Watson’s Life (1878-1958) • Academic career: • 1903: • youngest person at University of Chicago to receive doctorate (age 25) • married one of his students • 1909: • Chair of psychology at John Hopkins • Editor of Psychological Review

  19. Watson’s Life (1878-1958) • Academic career: • 1914: behavior: an introduction to comparative psychology • Argued for acceptance of animal psychology • Described advantages of animal subjects • Discussed importance of ridding psychology of the remnants of philosophy • 1919: psychology from the standpoint of a behaviorist • Most complete account of behaviorism to date • Argued methods and principles of animal research are appropriate for study of humans

  20. Watson’s Life (1878-1958) • Overview • Watson credited the work of others as originators of behaviorism • Saw himself as bringing together the emergent ideas • Goal: to found a new school

  21. Watson’s Life (1878-1958) • 1920: Scandal • Affair with student Rosalie Rayner • Watson forced to resign • Moved into advertising

  22. Watson’s behaviorism • Dealt solely with observable behavior • Rejected mentalistic concepts and terms such as consciousness and soul, declared introspection irrelevant • Desired practical applications • Goal: prediction and control of behavior

  23. Reactions to Watson’s Behaviorism Initial reactions • Behaviorism was not embraced 1920s • University courses in behaviorism • The word “behaviorist” appeared in journals • McDougall: issued a public warning against behaviorism • Other forms of behaviorism emerging

  24. The methods of behaviorism • Only accepted methods • Observation, with and without instruments • Testing methods • Verbal report method • Conditioned reflex method Behavior = individual stimulus-response units

  25. The subject matter of behaviorism • Responses can be explicit or implicit • Explicit • Overt, directly observable behavior • Ex. blinking, knee jerk • Implicit • Behavior that occurs internally, but • Has a physical manifestation and • Is potentially observable through the use of instruments • Ex. glandular secretions

  26. Instincts • 1925: eliminated the concept of instinct • Denied inherited capacities, temperaments, talents • Children can become anything one desires with the correct training • Seemingly instinctive behavior is actually a socially conditioned response

  27. Emotions • Emotions • Physiological reactions to stimuli, different for each emotion • Implicit behavior • Only unlearned emotional response patterns: • Love • Rage • Fear http://www.ssqq.com/stories/images/fear.jpg http://www.bebereviews.com/baby%20massage%20i%20stock.jpg http://erkansaka.net/blog/archive/Metallica-StAnger-thumb.jpg

  28. Watson & Little Albert • Albert conditioned to fear a white laboratory rat • Each time he reached for the rat, Watson made a loud clanging noise right above Albert • Albert’s fear generalized to anything white and furry • Including rabbits and Santa Claus • Study demonstrated conditioned (learned) emotional responses

  29. Behaviorism’s popular appeal • Watson called for a society based on scientifically shaped and controlled behavior • Free of myths, customs, and convention • Provided hope for a new, better society • Emphasis on childhood environment and minimization of heredity • Implied emotional disturbances in adulthood due to conditioned responses during earlier years

  30. Famous Watson quote "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"