Behaviourist: All about the behaviour being learnt
Classical Conditioning (Ivan Pavlov): This theory was introduced by Ivan Pavlov a Russian Psychologist in 1920. The experiment in which Pavlov designed was called Pavlov’s Dog. During this animal study, Ivan researched the digestive system of dogs. He discovered that the dog would salivate before the delivery of food. He tried presenting a number of different objects in front of the dog and eventually discovered that it would salivate when every object was presented and named this response as a conditional reflex. Pavlov also discovered that these types of reflexes would originate from the cerebral cortex of the brain. (This is shown in the image to the right)
Operant Conditioning (B.F. Skinner): This is another behaviourist theory which was introduced by Burrhus.F. Skinner in 1930. His experiment was called “Skinners Box” Skinners focus was based on reinforcement and this can be a positive outcome or it is a behaviour to avoid any negative consequences. This theory was built as a result of Pavlov’s experiment, where he thought that any bad behaviour would be punished and then it would eventually die. Operant conditioning can be described as a process which attempts to modify and behaviour through positive or negative reinforcement. By doing this Skinner believed that an individual makes an association between behaviour and a consequence. An example of this could be the teacher rewarding the class with a marble whenever they do something positive. The marble acting as 10 minutes of free time to give them the choice to do what they would like, but punishing them and removing two marbles for every negative thing they do. This acts as an incentive to behave well. The diagram to the right shows Skinners Box where the rat knows if they push the lever when the light flashes then it will be rewarded with pellets but if it does something wrong then it gets punished by an electric shock. Eventually the rat associates the lever with food and knows this is a positive behaviourism.
Albert Bandura: Banduras theory was based around aggression with the idea that nature vs nurture. Nature was based on the brain chemistry and its structure and the biological approach of genetics and characteristics. Whereas nurture was focusing more on society and upbringing of previous experiences and the lifestyle you live. Bandura discounted biological factors as part of aggressive behaviour. Banduras idea was based on us humans learning new behaviours from the people we observe, either in real life or on the TV, which is called observational learning and then got developed by Bandura himself. He focused on those we learnt from as being role models and the process of imitating known as modelling. A perfect example of a role model would be someone who is of a similar age, same interests, similar personalities and has a higher status or is famous.
Solomon Ash: He believed that the majority had an influence on the final decision in terms of people attempting to fit in with others because they don’t like to stand out. Children are very susceptible to a group mentality and may imitate the behaviour of the majority or a child who is seen to have some status by the others because they are different in some way e.g. speak a different language.
Sigmund Freud: He believed we all gain experiences from our early life stages of 0 – 6 years and he discounted any adult experiences. He believed that any trauma we experienced through our childhood, would damage us. Examples of this could be difficulty adjusting to changes, loss of close family member, illness or injury, abuse or neglect and he felt that the way we deal with any of these situations would determine on how we acted in our adult personality. It can re – occur as neurotic behaviour where too much contact with reality can lead to obsessive behaviour and anxiety e.g.…