What is Behaviorism?
Behaviorism is an approach to psychology that combines elements of philosophy, methodology, and theory. It emerged in the early twentieth century as a reaction to “mentalistic” psychology, which often had difficulty making predictions that could be tested using rigorous experimental methods. The primary tenet of behaviorism, is that psychology should concern itself with the observable behavior of people and animals, not with unobservable events that take place in their minds. The behaviorist school of thought maintains that such behaviors can be described scientifically, without relying on internal physiological events or hypothetical constructs, such as thoughts and beliefs.
The History of Behaviorism
- Pavlov (1897) published the results of an experiment on conditioning after studying digestion in dogs (respondent conditioning).
- Watson (1913) launched the behavioral school of psychology and published an article, Psychology as the behaviorist views it.
- Watson and Rayner (1920) conditioned Albert (Little Albert) to fear a white rat.
- Thorndike (1905) formalized the Law of Effect.
- Skinner (1936) wrote The Behavior of Organisms introducing operant conditioning and shaping.
- Clark Hull (1943) published Principles of Behavior.
- B.F. Skinner (1948) published Walden Two, where he described a utopian society founded upon behavioral principles.
- Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (1958) was started.
- Bandura (1963) published Social Leaning Theory and Personality development which is a book that combines cognitive and behavioral frameworks.
- B.F. Skinner (1971) published his book, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, in which he argues that free will is an illusion.
McLeod, S. A. (2016). Behaviorist Approach. Retrieved from www.simplypsychology.org/behaviorism.html