Behaviorism and Classical Conditioning Essay

3350 Words Nov 24th, 2005 14 Pages
Abstract

The year 1913 marks the birth of the most radical of all psychological concepts, that of "Behaviorism" (Moore, 1921). Since the original behavioral theories were studied by scientists such as Edward Thorndike and John B. Watson, there have been many variations of the behaviorist view that have surfaced over the years. In this paper I will attempt to give a detailed description of the history of behaviorism including information about some of the most influential men associated with this movement. I will also explain the methodologies associated with behaviorism such as classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and other controversial theories and views.

Behaviorism The atmosphere surrounding the psychological
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Watson then extinguished the fear by presenting the rat without the loud noise. Through the years since John Watson initially fathered the theories behind behaviorism, there have been many theorists who have questioned his radical practices and elaborated on his methodologies. Yet, through the many controversies and skepticism, the theories of our modern day humanistic and more eclectic behaviorism are still deeply rooted in the early works of Watson. Another of the key players in the development of the behaviorist theory and, like Watson, most known for his work in classical conditioning is Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936). In fact, Pavlov is famed for first introducing classical conditioning in 1903. Pavlov's most famous experiment where he demonstrated classical conditioning involved a dog, food, and a bell. "Before conditioning, ringing the bell caused no response from the dog. Placing food in front of the dog initiated salivation. During conditioning, the bell was rung a few seconds before the dog was presented with food. After conditioning, the ringing of the bell alone produced saliva" (Dembo, 1994). During this experiment, Pavlov coined several terms to define the stimulus-response associations that he discovered. The initiation of salivation due to the presence of the food was an unconditioned association. The phrase unconditioned association refers to the fact that the dog did
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