Behaviourism: History, Principles & Contributions

1195 Words Apr 28th, 2012 5 Pages
Behaviourism: History, Principles & Contributions

Abstract

Behaviourism focuses its perspective on the external environment as being the stimuli for behaviour instead of internal events such as consciousness. John B. Watson is often noted as the father of behaviourism, though its theories were being studied years before hand. A talk by Watson on his manifesto in 1913 was said to be the formal founding of behaviourism where he described the principles of behaviourism and dismissed other notions. Though behaviourism did not become a highly accepted view in psychology, it did have its contributions to the overall field.

Behaviourism emerged as a new field of psychology during the early twentieth century. It differentiated
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It was only during a lecture in 1913, when Watson’s manifesto, “Psychology as the Behaviourist Views It” was said to be the formal founding of behaviourism quoting: Psychology as the behaviourist views it is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science. Its theoretical goal is the prediction and control of behaviour. Introspection forms no essential part of its methods, nor is the scientific value of its data dependant upon the readiness with which they lend themselves to interpretation in terms on consciousness. (p. 158)
Watson’s objective as we saw, fully dismissed the role of consciousness and it’s effect on behaviour. He further went on to state that psychology should only use objective observational data and not introspective data, which he thought unreliable (O’Neil, 1995). As with the Russian psychologists, Watson agreed that consciousness does not cause behaviour. It was in 1919, that Watson used Pavlov’s stimulus and response connection to explain human behaviour and again agreeing that its connection is physiological and mechanical (O’Neil, 1995). In Watsonian behaviourism, there were four types of behaviours, which are explicit learned behaviour (e.g. talking), implicit learned behaviour (e.g. increase heart rate upon an exam), explicit unlearned behaviour (e.g. blinking) and finally implicit unlearned behaviour
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