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Posted: September 4th, 2023

Behaviorism: A Stimulus-Response Worldview – Paradigms And Perspectives

Behaviorism: A Stimulus-Response Worldview

Behaviorism is a psychological worldview that emerged in the early 20th century. It is based on the principle that all behavior is caused by external stimuli, and that internal mental states or consciousness are not necessary to explain behavior. This paper will explore the key concepts of behaviorism, its major contributors, and its relevance today.

Key Contributors
Behaviorism was heavily influenced by the work of several psychologists, including John B. Watson, Ivan Pavlov, B.F. Skinner, E.L. Thorndike, and Albert Bandura. These psychologists conducted groundbreaking research on the effects of environmental stimuli on behavior.

Key Concepts
Behaviorism assumes that a learner is essentially passive, and that behavior is shaped through positive and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement involves the application of a stimulus, while negative reinforcement involves the withholding of a stimulus. Both types of reinforcement increase the probability that the antecedent behavior will happen again. In contrast, punishment (both positive and negative) decreases the likelihood that the antecedent behavior will happen again. Learning is defined as a change in behavior in the learner.

Behaviorism also assumes that the learner starts off as a clean slate, or “tabula rasa.” This means that the learner has no innate knowledge or predispositions, and that all behavior is learned through environmental stimuli.

Radical Behaviorism
B.F. Skinner developed Radical Behaviorism, which is a distinct school of behaviorism that emerged during the reign of behaviorism. It differs from other schools of behaviorism in its acceptance of mediating structures and the role of emotions.

Relevance Today
Behaviorism has had a significant impact on the field of psychology, particularly in the areas of education and therapy. It has also been used to explain behavior in other fields, such as marketing and advertising. However, behaviorism has been criticized for its simplistic view of human behavior, and for its failure to account for internal mental processes.

Behaviorism is a stimulus-response worldview that assumes behavior is shaped through positive and negative reinforcement. It has had a significant impact on psychology and other fields, but has also been criticized for its simplistic view of behavior.

Additional Resources and References


Association for Behavior Analysis International
The Behavior Analyst Certification Board
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Skinner, B.F. (2011). About behaviorism. Vintage.

Watson, J.B. (2013). Behaviorism. Read Books Ltd.

Pavlov, I.P., & Anrep, G.V. (2003). Conditioned reflexes. Courier Corporation.

Cooper, J.O., Heron, T.E., & Heward, W.L. (2019). Applied Behavior Analysis (3rd ed.). Pearson.

Lattal, K.A., & Perone, M. (2018). Handbook of Research Methods in Experimental Psychology (2nd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell.

Catania, A.C. (2013). Learning (5th ed.). Sloan Publishing.

Baum, W.M. (2017). Understanding Behaviorism: Behavior, Culture, and Evolution (3rd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell.

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