Early in the 20th century, John B. Watson argued in his book Psychology from the Standpoint of a Behaviorist for the value of a psychology which concerned itself with behavior in and of itself, not as a method of studying consciousness. This was a substantial break from the structuralist psychology of the time, which used the method of introspection and considered the study of behavior valueless. Watson, in contrast, studied the adjustment of organisms to their environments, more specifically the particular stimuli leading organisms to make their responses. Most of Watson's work was comparative, i.e., he studied the behavior of animals. Watson's approach was much influenced by the work of Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov, who had stumbled upon the phenomenon of classical conditioning (learned reflexes) in his study of the digestive system of the dog, and subsequently investigated the phenomena in detail. Watson's approach emphasized physiology and the role of stimuli in producing conditioned responses - assimilating most or all function to reflex. For this reason, Watson may be described as an S-R (stimulus-response) psychologist.
Watson's behaviorist manifesto persuaded most academic researchers in experimental psychology of the importance of studying behavior. In the field of comparative psychology in particular, it was consistent with the warning note that had been struck by Lloyd Morgan's canon, against some of the more anthropomorphic work such as that of George Romanes, in which mental states had been freely attributed to animals. It was eagerly seized on by researchers such as Edward L. Thorndike (who had been studying cats' abilities to escape from puzzle boxes). However, most psychologists took up a position that is now called methodological behaviorism: they acknowledged that behavior was either the only or the easiest method of observation in psychology, but held that it could be used to draw conclusions about mental states. Among well-known twentieth-century behaviorists taking this kind of position were Clark L. Hull, who described his position as neo-behaviorism, and Edward C. Tolman, who developed much of what would later become the cognitivist program. Tolman argued that rats constructed cognitive maps of the mazes they learned even in the absence of reward, and that the connection between stimulus and response (S->R) was mediated by a third term - the organism (S->O->R). His approach has been called, among other things, purposive behaviorism.
In experimental psychology, there are 3 main schools of thought regarding emotions. The categorical approach assumes that certain emotions (fear, joy etc) arise from inside the brain and can be measured through biological changes. The social-constructivist approach focuses on how animals use emotions to communicate or relate to other animals. The componential approach considers emotions to be comprised of rewards and learning.
Operant conditioning is mainly the use of certain consequences to alter the occurrences and behavior of the learner. It can also be said as the behavior learners experience and it has some impact on the environment (Schacter, 2010). For example, a student who takes his studies in college with five weeks per semester must complete curtain things like cats and assignments in order to finish that semester. In one unit, a lecturer might give a fixed timetable of how he is going to distribute the cats and assignments. That is, after two weeks, there is an assignment and after four weeks, there is a cat. This means that the lecturer has used a fixed interval schedule. If he only says that after every topic there is a cat and an assignment, it means that he has used a variable interval schedule since the time one topic ends is not defined.
Fear is hard-wired and requires no conscious thought, but the existence of more complex animal emotions that involve mental processing is harder to demonstrate. Because complex feelings are intangible and hard to study under laboratory conditions, many researchers regarded the field of studying emotions as unrewarding. Modern, media-friendly ("How the brain works!") disciplines of neuroscience and neuropsychology have changed this. Scientists also recognise the importance of field observations, as long s those observations are recorded carefully, impartially and there are enough observations.
The most important thing to remember is that classical conditioning involves automatic or reflexive responses, and not voluntary behavior (that's operant conditioning, and that is a ). What does this mean? For one thing, that means that the only responses that can be elicited out of a classical conditioning paradigm are ones that rely on responses that are naturally made by the animal (or human) that is being trained. Also, it means that the response you hope to elicit must occur below the level of conscious awareness - for example, salivation, nausea, increased or decreased heartrate, pupil dilation or constriction, or even a reflexive motor response (such as recoiling from a painful stimulus). In other words, these sorts of responses are involuntary.
Operant Conditioning is a type of learning in which an is modified through reinforcement or punishment. Skinnerâs 1938 work The Behavior of Organisms was the beginning of his work in the field of .
Russian scientist was influential in developing classical conditioning, as best known through his famous experiments with dogs. Skinner, taking this a step further, created the operant conditioning chamber and removed the subject, frequently a rat or pigeon, from all external stimuli, leaving them only one of two choices.
According to , Skinner then encouraged or extinguished behavior with a schedule of reinforcement. Both reinforcement and punishment are the backbone of operant conditioning, and come in both positive and negative forms, as described below:
The current consensus regarding operant conditioning is that some processes are mediated cognitively and some are not. Some learning processes occur without conditioning, such as observational learning. Studies have shown that people will respond as if they have been conditioned if the experimenter merely informs them about environmental contingencies. Many psychologists concur that although classical conditioning is a basic process of learning, “behavioral flexibility requires greater complexity”. People, therefore, have the ability to form stimulus-response relationships not only through conditioning, but through suggestion, or deliberate effort.
The behaviorist school of thought ran concurrent with the psychoanalysis movement in psychology in the 20th century. Its main influences were Ivan Pavlov, who investigated classical conditioning, John B. Watson (1878-1958) who rejected introspective methods and sought to restrict psychology to experimental laboratory methods. B.F. Skinner, sought to give ethical grounding to , relating it to pragmatism.
You may use different examples if this makes it easier for you to understand.
First, describe how something is learned using classical conditioning.
Skinner's empirical work expanded on earlier research on trial-and-error learning by researchers such as Thorndike and Guthrie with both conceptual reformulations – Thorndike's notion of a stimulus-response 'association' or 'connection' was abandoned – and methodological ones – the use of the 'free operant', so called because the animal was now permitted to respond at its own rate rather than in a series of trials determined by the experimenter procedures. With this method, Skinner carried out substantial experimental work on the effects of different schedules and rates of reinforcement on the rates of operant responses made by rats and pigeons. He achieved remarkable success in training animals to perform unexpected responses, and to emit large numbers of responses, and to demonstrate many empirical regularities at the purely behavioural level. This lent some credibility to his conceptual analysis.