Behaviorism And The Operant Conditioning Theory

1415 Words Oct 19th, 2015 6 Pages
It is a fact that people learn differently. Some people learn by seeing, some by hearing, some by doing, and then others learn from a combination of these. For many decades psychologists, theorists, and scientists have all sought to prove to their peers, society and the world that not only do people learn differently but children and adult learning differ also. Learning theories are conceptualized frameworks which describe how individuals absorb, process and retain information. Behaviorists such as John B. Watson, B.F. Skinner, Edward L. Thorndike, Ivan Pavlov and Edwin R. Guthrie believed that all learners were passive in nature and only responded to external stimuli. Behaviorism, as explored by the before mentioned, is a biological basis of learning and focuses exclusively on observable behaviors. This includes Thorndike’s theory of connectionism, Pavlov’s classical conditioning and the well-known conditioning theory from Skinner—the operant conditioning model. However, many researchers did not like the one-size fits all explanation of behaviorism. Cognitivism grew in response to behaviorism in an effort to better understand the mental processes behind learning. This challenged behaviorism with the idea that learning is the process of connecting symbols in a meaningful way; thus all knowledge is stored cognitively as symbols. Still, cognitivism didn’t account for individuality and the input-output model was seen as very mechanic. The social cognitive theory was developed…
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