Describe and Evaluate Using Psychological Research the Contribution of Behaviourist Approaches to an Understanding of Human Behaviour.

Essay by Buffalo_kikiCollege, UndergraduateB, March 2003

download word file, 5 pages 3.0

Downloaded 113 times

There have been many different approaches and varying different opinions on research done in trying to understand human behaviour. Behaviourists believe in the significance of environmental stimuli and its effect on our actions, this means that behaviourists focus on learning and the how peoples experiences effect our actions. Human behaviour can only be studied in ways that are considered ethical which causes a lot of the research done to be based on rats and other laboratory animals. Behaviourists such as Skinner, Pavlov and Watson have all influenced the research conducted in helping to explain human behaviour and their contribution has helped to advance other behaviourists and their theories on behaviour.

The origins of behaviourism were founded by John Watson and his paper "Psychology as the Behaviourist views it"(1913), he believed that self analysis produced findings that could never be proved right or wrong, he believed that people should study what can be accurately measured without dispute.

He was so confident that his theory was right that in he also stated:

"Give me a dozen healthy infants, well formed, and in my own specified world to bring them up, and I will guarantee to take any one at random and train him to be any type of specialist. I might select doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant and yes even beggar man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and the race of his ancestors" John Watson 1930.

Ian Pavlov was a biologist at the turn of the century and noticed that putting meat into the mouths of dogs caused them to salivate. Pavlov repeated this many times he noticed an unexpected Behavioural change in his dogs, they were beginning to salivate before the food entered their mouths and any stimulus that came before the food. Soon the...