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Behaviorist and the use of APA in Education

Dorothy Hall

AIU Online


This paper will provide a summarization on behaviorism and how it has affected the understanding of learning by providing a brief history of its founding, the main components of the theory, a brief description of at least three behaviorist experiments, and how behaviorism develops new behaviors.

Behaviorist and the use of APA in Education
Behavioral psychology known as behaviorism is based on a theory of learning that is significantly contingent on the premise that behavior is acquired through conditioning. An interaction with the environment occurs through conditioning. Our behaviors are shaped by environmental stimuli responses was a belief by behaviorist. The earliest start of behaviorism stems from Ivan Pavlov who was a Russian Physiologist. The research done by Pavlov on a dog digestive system created the classical conditioning process which gave consideration that conditioned association could be demonstrated by certain behaviors. His research made a discovery in the learning process between natural occurring stimulus and environmental stimulus.
Main Components of Theory Behaviors that are observed are based on this theory. Acquiring a new behavior is similar to learning in school. A result that is desired is obtained by positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement. Operant conditioning and classic conditioning are the main parts of behaviorism. A basic response to stimulus is classic conditioning. Pavlov example of a dog salivating when they see food is a classic conditioning. A repetitive task reinforcing a response is operant conditioning. An example of this would be a teacher who is lecturing to students and they did nothing other than taking notes and asking a few basic questions. For the next 50 years, behaviorism impact for enormous. The perspective in behavior was continued by B. F. Skinner, a psychologist, and was dominating. His perspective in regard to the operant conditioning concept had a profound effect on the reinforcement and punishment on behavior. The paring of an occurring stimulus and response is a technique of classical conditioning that is utilized in behavioral training.
The next phase utilizes the pairing of stimulus that is naturally occurring with neutral stimulus. The presence of the stimulus that is naturally occurring will be revoke by the stimulus that is neutral. The conditioned response and conditioned stimulus are the two elements depicting this scenario. The rewards and punishment for behavior is a conditioning instrumental in the operant conditioning. A distinction is made for the consequence of behavior through the association in operant conditioning (Driscoll, 2005).
Description of Behaviorist Experiments One description of a behaviorist experiment would be the research done by Ivan Pavlov’s on the salivation of dogs through a response that was automatic when meat was present. By ringing a bell with the presence of meat, the conditioning of the dogs responding by the bell was a new stimulus. The dogs had learned to associate the ringing of the bell with food. Another example would be considered reinforcement of a rat that was deprived of food being placed in an experimental chamber. The experiment of a light coming on by pressing a level and the presence of food was acted upon by a rat. The light came on when the rat was hungry pressed the level and this would increase or provide reinforcement of the experiment. The light would be the stimuli and the pressing of the lever would