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History of Psychology. Chapter 10 Behaviorism: The Beginnings. A. Watson’s life 1. Rebel personality 2. Mother: wishes him to be a minister Father: drank heavily. I. John B. Watson (1878-1958). John B. Watson (1878-1958). 3. 1900: U. of Chicago

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history of psychology

History of Psychology

Chapter 10 Behaviorism:

The Beginnings

i john b watson 1878 1958
A. Watson’s life

1. Rebel personality

2. Mother:

wishes him to be a minister


drank heavily

I. John B. Watson (1878-1958)
john b watson 1878 1958
John B. Watson (1878-1958)
  • 3. 1900: U. of Chicago
    • a. studied philosophy with Dewey
    • b. attracted to psychology through work with Angell
    • c. studied biology and physiology with Loeb
    • d. 1903: youngest Ph.D. from Chicago (at his age of 25)
john b watson 1878 19581
John B. Watson (1878-1958)
  • 4. Dissertation on “neurological and psychological maturation of the white rat”
  • 5. 1903-1908: faculty at U. of Chicago
  • 6. 1908: to John Hopkins U.
    • a. 1909: chair of the psychology department
    • b. 1909: editor of Psychological Review
john b watson 1878 19582
John B. Watson (1878-1958)
  • 7. 1913: published his article on the Psychological Review; Behaviorism was officially launched
  • 8. 1914: book: Behavior: An Introduction to Comparative Psychology
    • a. argued for acceptance of animal psychology
    • b. described advantages of animal subjects
john b watson 1878 19583
John B. Watson (1878-1958)
  • 9. 1919: Psychology from the Standpoint of a Behaviorist
    • a. argued methods and principles of animal research appropriate for study of humans
  • 10. 1920: forced to resign from Johns Hopkins
john b watson 1878 19584
John B. Watson (1878-1958)
  • 11. second career: applied psychology in advertising
    • a. mechanistic view of humans:
      • Consumers’ behavior could be predicted and controlled
    • b. proposed experimental (lab) study of consumer behavior
  • 12. publicity for psychology in the popular media
john b watson 1878 19585
John B. Watson (1878-1958)
  • 13. 1925: Behaviorism
  • 14. 1928: Psychological Care of the Infant and Child
    • a. focus on environmental factors
    • b. recommended perfect objectivity in child-rearing practices
    • c. had thegreatest impact of all his work
john b watson 1878 19586
John B. Watson (1878-1958)
  • 15. 1935: his wife died; he moved to a farmhouse
  • 16. burned all of his papers prior to his death
ii the reaction to watson s program
II. The Reaction to Watson’s Program
  • A. His major points
    • 1. Psychology is the science of behavior
    • 2. a purely objective experimental natural science
    • 3. both animal and human behavior are studied
ii the reaction to watson s program1
II. The Reaction to Watson’s Program
  • A. His major points
    • 4. discard all mentalistic concepts & used only behavior concepts (e.g., stimulus & response)
    • 5. Goal of psychology: prediction and control of behavior
the reaction to watson s program
The Reaction to Watson’s Program
  • B. Initial reactions
    • 1. behaviorism was not embraced
    • 2. his 1919 book provided the movement’s impact
  • C. Calkins: adhered to introspection as the sole method for some processes
  • D. Washburn: called Watson an enemy of psychology
the reaction to watson s program1
The Reaction to Watson’s Program
  • E. 1920s
    • 1. university offered courses in behaviorism
    • 2. the word "behaviorist" appeared in journals
    • 3. McDougall: against behaviorism publicly
    • 4. Titchener: complained of its force and extent
    • 5. Other forms of behaviorism have developed
iii the methods of behaviorism
III. The Methods of Behaviorism
  • A. Psychology must restrict itself to the objective study of behavior.
  • B. Adoption of the methods of the natural sciences
    • 1. observation, with and without instruments
    • 2. testing methods
    • 3. verbal report method
    • 4. conditioned reflex method
the methods of behaviorism
The Methods of Behaviorism
  • C. Observation:
    • a necessary basis for the other methods
  • D. Testing methods
    • Were already in use
    • But Watson thought that test results are samples of behavior, not indices of mental qualities
the methods of behaviorism1
The Methods of Behaviorism
  • D. Verbal reports
    • 1. A controversial issue
    • 2. speech reactions are objectively observable
    • 3. thinking is speaking silently
    • 4. admitted the lack of precision and limitations
    • 5. limited it to situations where it could be verified
the methods of behaviorism2
The Methods of Behaviorism
  • D. Conditioned reflex method
    • 1. adopted in 1915
    • 2. Watson responsible for widespread use
    • 3. conditioning is stimulus substitution
    • 4. selected as an objective method of behavior analysis
the methods of behaviorism3
The Methods of Behaviorism
  • 5. Reinforced the concept of people as machines.
  • 6. human subject: the observed rather than the observer
    • a. designation changed from "observer" to "subject“
    • b. experimenter became the observer
iv the subject matter of behaviorism
IV. The Subject Matter of Behaviorism
  • A. Elements of behavior
    • 1. The primary subject matter of behaviorism was the elements of behavior
    • 2. goal: understand the organism’s total behavior
the subject matter of behaviorism
The Subject Matter of Behaviorism
  • 2. explicit versus implicit
    • a. Responses can be explicit or implicit
    • b. explicit responses: overt and observable
    • c. implicit responses: occur inside of the organism (e.g., nerve impulses)
      • 1) observable
      • 2) must be observable through the use ofinstruments
the subject matter of behaviorism1
The Subject Matter of Behaviorism
  • 3. simple versus complex stimuli
    • a. Stimuli may be simple or complex
    • B. stimulus situation can be reduced to specific component stimuli
  • 4. laws of behavior
    • a. specific behavior can be analyzing the S-R complexes into their elementary S-R units.
    • b. all areas of behavior must be considered as objective S-R events
the subject matter of behaviorism2
The Subject Matter of Behaviorism
  • B. Instincts
    • 1. 1914: Watson described 11 instincts
    • 2. 1925: eliminated the concept of instinct
      • a. an extreme environmentalist
      • b. denied inherited capacities, temperaments, talents
      • c. children can become anything one desires
      • d. this viewpoint became popular in America society
the subject matter of behaviorism3
The Subject Matter of Behaviorism
  • C. Emotions
    • 1. Emotion was physiological responses to specific stimuli
      • E.g., threatening (Stimuli)  produces internal physical changes such as rapid heart rate (response).
    • 2. Denied any conscious perception of emotion or sensations from internal organs
the subject matter of behaviorism4
The Subject Matter of Behaviorism
  • C. Emotions
    • 3. Emotion is a form of implicit behavior: internal responses are evident in physiology (e.g., pulse rate)
    • 4. Criticized James’s theory of emotion
    • 5. fear, love, and rage are 3 innate emotional responses
the subject matter of behaviorism5
The Subject Matter of Behaviorism
  • D. Albert, Peter, and the rabbits
    • 1. the Albert study never successfully replicated
    • 2. Mary Cover Jones
      • a. study of Peter
      • b. generalized fear responses eliminated
      • c. Later: modern systematic desensitization techniques.
the subject matter of behaviorism6
The Subject Matter of Behaviorism
  • E. Thought processes
    • 1. Watson attempted to reduce thinking to implicit motor behavior
      • a. Thought was a type of sensorimotor behavior.
      • b. The behavior of thinking must involve implicit speech reactions or movements
      • c. reduced thinking to subvocal talking
the subject matter of behaviorism7
The Subject Matter of Behaviorism
  • 2. Thinking is a way of talking silently.
  • 3. We also express thought through gestures (e.g., frowns), which are overt reactions to stimuli
v behaviorism s popular appeal
V. Behaviorism’s Popular Appeal
  • A. Watson called for a society based on scientifically shaped and controlled behavior
  • B. Emphasis on childhood environment and minimization of heredity (Hope to public)
behaviorism s popular appeal
Behaviorism’s Popular Appeal
  • C. Conditioned reflex experiments

(e.g., Albert study)

    • 1. implied emotional disturbances in adulthood due to conditioned responses during earlier years
    • 2. implies proper childhood conditioning should prevent adult disorders
  • D. Experimental ethics
    • 1. a framework for research
    • 2. elaborated by Skinner
viii criticism of watson s behaviorism
VIII. Criticism of Watson’s Behaviorism
  • A. McDougall against Watson’s view
    • a. agreed data of behavior are a proper focus for psychology
    • b. argued data of consciousness also necessary
    • c. questioned Watson's view that human behavior is fully determined; left no room for free will
    • d. critical of Watson’s use of the verbal report method
ix contributions of watson s behaviorism
IX. Contributions of Watson’s Behaviorism
  • A. Made psychology more objective in methods and terminology
  • B. Stimulated a great deal of research
  • C. Effectively overcame the earlier positions in psychology
  • D. Objective methods and language became part of the mainstream