Behavior can be defined as the manner of conducting oneself. It can also be anything that an organism does involving action and response to stimulation. It is the response of an individual, group, or species to its environment.
Behaviorism which is also known as behavioral psychology is a theory of based which is based on the idea that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning which occurs through interaction with the environment. According to behaviorists, our responses to environmental stimuli shape our actions.
The behavioral theory seeks to explain human behavior by assessing the antecedents and effects present in the individual’s environment and the learned associations he or she has acquired through previous experiences.
Pavlov (1897) published the results of an experiment on conditioning after originally studying digestion in dogs. Watson (1913) launches the behavioral school of psychology, publishing an article, Psychology as the behaviorist views it.
The Pavlovian theory is a learning procedure that involves pairing a stimulus with a conditioned response. In the famous experiments that Ivan Pavlov conducted with his dogs, Pavlov found that objects or events could trigger a conditioned response. The result of the experiment was a new conditioned response in dogs.
The Main Principles of Behaviorism
It is a worldview that assumes a learner is practically passive, reacting to environmental stimuli.
The learner starts off as a clean slate (i.e. tabula rasa) and behavior is molded through positive or negative reinforcement. Both reinforcements, whether negative or positive increases the probability of recurrence of the antecedent behavior.
In dissimilarity, punishment( either positive or negative) decreases the chances of occurrence of antecedent behavior.
Positive indicates the application of a stimulus; Negative indicates the withholding of a stimulus.
Learning is therefore defined as a change in behavior in the learner.
It is important to note that lots of early behaviorist work was done with animals (e.g. Pavlov’s dogs) and generalized to humans.
Behaviorism rejects structuralism and is an extension of Logical Positivism.
It has been revealed by a study on human behavior that 90% of the population can be classified into four basic personality types:
1) Optimistic ; The optimists are the set of people who believe that they and their partner will make the best choice for each other.
2) Pessimistic ; The people who fall under this category as pessimists are those who select the option which they see as the lesser of two evils.
3) Trusting ; These are people who are born companions. They will always work together and don’t really mind if they win or lose.
4) Envious ; These set of people do not really care about what they accomplish, as long as they are better than everyone else.
However, the latter of the four types, envious, is the most common, with 30 percent compared to 20 percent for each of the other groups.
Behaviorism, which is also known as behavioral psychology is a theory of learning based on the idea that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning. Conditioning takes place through relations with the environment.
Behaviorism as a theory only focuses on objectively noticeable behaviors and disregards any independent activities of the mind as it focuses on only observable traits and thoughts and feelings cannot be observed.
Behavior theorists have defined learning as nothing more than the obtainment of new behavior based on environmental conditions.
John Watson introduced behaviorism in 1913 and it is aimed at promoting the scientific study of the behavior of individual organisms.
Types of Behaviorism
Methodological behaviorism (John B. Watson)
This type of behaviorism is a normative theory which deals with the scientific conduct of psychology. It asserts that psychology should only burden itself with the behavior of organisms both human and non-human and not bother itself with mental states as it cannot be observed. This type of behaviorism believes that mental states such as beliefs and desires have nothing to add to what psychology has to understand about behavior and its sources. It is a prominent theme in the writing of John Watson (1878-1958).
This is a research program in psychology. It seeks to explain the behavior of humans and animals by responses and physical stimuli. It is in the work of Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936), Edward Thorndike (1874–1949), and Watson. It’s most powerful expression is B. F. Skinner’s work on schedules of reinforcement.
To illustrate, assume a hungry dog in a practical room. If a particular movement, such as clutching a switch when a light is on, is followed by the exhibition of food, then the probability of the dog’s clutching the switch when hungry, again, and the light is on, is increased. Such demonstrations are reinforcements, such lights are (discriminative) stimuli, such switch clutchings are responses, and such trials or associations are learning histories.
Analytical or Logical Behaviorism
It is within philosophy and deals with meanings of mental terms. It states that the impression of a mental condition is the impression of a behavioral tendency and it’s evident in how a person behaves in different situations.
For example, if we associate a person with a belief, we aren’t classifying him or her to be in a particular internal condition. Instead, we are categorizing the person in order of the action he or she might take in particular situations.
This theory argues that the conscious life of a man is explained as associative processes.
It informs that the mind is made of mental components. A person can get a sensation whenever he perceives an object and may maintain an idea even if the object is no longer there.
Sensation and their copies are the main components of the mind and they are grouped into larger mental patterns like complicated feelings and thoughts by the mechanism of association.
Contrarily, any complicated mental subject can be reduced into its basic components by mental analysis.
At times, associationism was referred to as the “brick-and-mortar theory,” the bricks referred to the sensory feelings and their copies, and the mortar, the associations linking them.
It was initiated by B. F. Skinner and his “philosophy of the science of behavior.” It stresses that rather than being a mental state, the behavior should be psychology’s main focus of study.
It underlines the significance of reinforcement and the relationship between observable stimuli and responses. Behaviors do not depend on impressions, emotions, or other internal processes.
Rather, they are natural events that happen as a result of other events in the environment. The benefits and effects of behavior either improves or reduces the likelihood of that behavior occurring again. For example, if Jane bites her nails, she does not do it as a knowledgeable or mindless opinion to relieve tension but because the attitude is awarding in some way.
This states that learning is a mental process that takes place in a social context and can occur purely through observance or direct teaching, even in the absence of motor reproduction or direct reinforcement. It is the view or opinion people learn from observing others.
This theory explains how people learn new behaviors, beliefs, values, and attitudes. For example, a child might learn to bite nails by observing peers. Social learning compels vigilance to the person(s) observed, remembering the observed behavior, the ability to copy the behavior, and the enthusiasm to act the same way. For example, a child might see a sibling get rewarded with chocolate for behaving reasonably and emulate the sibling in the hope of getting a treat, too. Not all learning is acted on (as when someone learns to eat properly but never does, for example). Sociologists have especially used social learning to explain aggression and criminal behavior especially.
Behavioral Management Approach
By Saul McLeod, updated 2017. Behaviorism refers to a psychological approach which stresses on scientific and objective techniques of investigation. The process is only concerned with observable stimulus-response and says all behaviors are learned through interaction with the environment.
It is often called the human relations movement because it deals with the human phase of work. Behavioral theorists are said to believe that a better knowledge of human behavior at work enhances productivity.
The theorist who partook in this school of thought perceived employees as individuals, assets, and resources to be developed rather than machines as done in the past. Some of the people who contributed to this theory are; Mary Parker Follett, Hugo Munsterberg, and Elton Mayo.
These people are seen as forerunners and creators of the behaviorism movement in management theory. They also wrote about the significance of evaluating behavioral facets of workers in addition to the efficiency of workers.
A “behavioral approach” comprises utilizing the environment in such a way that the likelihood of the target behavior is adjusted as requested.
Behavioral Learning Theory
It deals with the way behaviors are learned and unlearned.
It is a learning technique where an association is made between two stimuli. The stimuli are linked together to produce a new knowledgeable reaction. One of these stimuli is neutral while the other provokes a natural response.
This theory was by Ivan Pavlov, a Russian psychologist.
In his experiment, Ivan Pavlov made dogs associate the sound of a bell with the presence of food. The food which was the natural stimulus was paired with the neutral stimulus of a ringing bell and the sound of the bell alone could provoke a response. The dogs reacted to the sound of a bell by salivating. Here, the conditioning was achieved when the sound of the bell was able to make the dogs salivate in expectation of food.
In this learning process, responses are controlled by outcomes. A punishment helps to reduce behavior while a reinforcement helps to increase it.
There are two types of reinforcement.
A. Positive Reinforcement
Here, a good stimulus is added after a response to encourage the continuation. An example can be giving a child chocolate for doing his or her chores.
B. Negative Reinforcement
It is the removal of an undesirable stimulus after a response so the response will continue often.
It is a process where learning takes place by observing and imitating the behavior of others. It is associated with Albert Bandura’s social learning theory where it was demonstrated in his Bobo-doll experiment. In the experiment, after seeing adults hit a doll, children would pounce on the bobo-doll. It showed that children learned hostile behavior by seeing it.
The behavioral management theory is frequently called the human relations movement because it deals with the human measurement of work. Behavioral theorists believed that an adequate knowledge of human behavior at work, such as courage, confrontation, goals, and group dynamics led to an improve in productivity.
Behavior modification is established on the notion that good behavior should steer to positive outcomes and bad behavior should steer to negative effects.
Behavior modification is frequently used to discipline kids with oppositional defiant disorder or autism but it can be beneficial for kids of all types.
It involves favorable punishment, unfavorable punishment, favorable reinforcement and unfavorable reinforcement.