In Psychology learning is seen as a change in behaviour caused by an experience. Behaviorism, is seen as a learning theory; an attempt to explain how people or animals learn by studying their behaviour. The Behaviourists Approach has two theories to help explain how we learn, Classical conditioning and operant conditioning. In this task I will attempt to describe and evaluate this approach.
Ivan Pavlov was a Russian Physiologist. At the end of the 19th century Pavlov was conducting research into the physiology of …show more content…
The box was closed so the cat could not get out. A fish was placed nearby to tempt the cat, after scratching and clawing trying to get out, the cat eventually accidentally tripped the latch to the box and managed to get out. After a couple of repeat experiments with the same result, the cat learned what to do and would release the catch immediately. This led to Thorndike's law of effect which states that positive effects such as rewards lead to "stamping in" of behaviour, and negative effects such as punishment lead to "stamping out".
This theory was further developed by Psychologist B. F. Skinner into operant conditioning.
While Pavlov's classical conditioning focused on a stimulus resulting in certain behaviour, like Thorndike, Skinner concentrated on the effect of behaviour. The main idea behind his theory was that the subject behaves in a certain way first, i.e. operates on the environment, hence it is called operant conditioning, this would then be followed by a consequence. There are four possible consequences; which can be divided into reinforcement and punishment. Skinner referred to anything that would encourage behaviour as a reinforcer whereas punishment discouraged behaviour. Positive reinforcement is anything pleasurable such as receiving food, or compliments. This increases the likelihood of the behaviour being repeated. Negative reinforcement is about removing something un-pleasurable, which in a way is