Graziano and Raulin (8th ed)Graziano & Raulin
Research Methods (8th edition)

VIII. BEHAVIORISM

American behaviorism emerged in the late 1890s, largely from the early animal research of Romanes, Morgan, Loeb, Small, Washburn, and others. Its most systematic early developments included Thorndike’s research on animal learning and Pavlov’s discovery of the conditioned reflex. 

Behaviorism gained high visibility with Watson’s powerful endorsement of this approach in 1912, and it rapidly grew into a dominant movement in American psychology. In the 1930s and 1940s, behavioral researchers, such as Guthrie, Tolman, and Hull, developed and refined several  behavioral learning theories. Behaviorists were the sharpest critics of Wundt’s introspection, Titchener’s structuralism, and Freud’s psychoanalysis. Indeed, with the exception of Tolman’s purposive behaviorism, early behaviorists were generally opposed to all concepts that assumed the operation of an active mind or consciousness.

Behaviorism was influenced by early animal psychology and the broad functionalism movement in America--the study of the psychology of organisms as they function in their environments. Behaviorism has an enormous impact on a particular subset of functionalism--applied psychology. 

In the 1920s, Watson was proclaiming, in good functionalists’ tradition, the value of behaviorism in application to human functioning and solving human problems. Hull’s hypothetico-deductive learning theory was adapted in 1950 to understand and treat human neuroses (Dollard & Miller, 1950). Pavlovian and Watsonian behaviorism were adopted in psychiatry to develop behavior therapy by reciprocal inhibition (Wolpe, 1958). Skinner, who carried behaviorism into the last decade of the 20th Century, was enormously influential and was instrumental in the application of operant conditioning procedures in education, special education, and clinical psychology. Tolman’s purposive behaviorism, with a sprinkling of Gestalt psychology, reappears in modern cognitive behavior therapy.

Behaviorism defined psychology as the study of the behavior of organisms as they function in their environments. Common in all behavioral paradigms is the notion of S-R (stimulus-response) association as the basis for learning. Models of behaviorism differ in their conceptions of exactly how the S-R associations are formed, but they all accept the basic reality of those associations. The research approaches of this early behaviorism were objective and experimental, and inferences to internal conditions were either dismissed or made only with extreme care and parsimony. 

Behaviorism is no longer a dominant school of modern psychology. Like other paradigms before and after, much of the behavioral principles, findings, and procedures have become integrated into a more eclectic psychology. 

In this section you will find:

Guthrie, Edwin R. Skinner, B. F. Watson, John B.
Hull, Clark L. Thorndike, Edward L.  
Pavlov, Ivan P. Tolman, Edward C.  

 

Previous
Page
Name
Index
Help Period
Index
Next
Page