Compare and Contrast Two Psychological Perspectives Essay

1786 WordsDec 15, 20128 Pages
Compare and contrast explanations from two psychological perspectives. This essay aims to compare and contrast Behaviourist and Humanistic psychology by considering the differing theories these perspectives use about human thought, experiencing and behaviour. Behavioural Psychology originated in the late 19th to early 20th century and was concerned with the prediction and control of the observable, measurable, external aspects of human experience. Behaviourist psychologists rejected the introspective method used by previous philosophers and psychologists and instead relied on using observation and data that was objective and empirical. This is known as an anti-mentalist approach; Behaviourists considered the workings of the mind…show more content…
Skinner conducted a series of research experiments with rats and pigeons under controlled laboratory conditions using a specially designed cage. By doing so he sought to demonstrate that behaviour can be created and reinforced by external factors. The puzzle box he created for his experiments has become so widely used that it is now known as the “Skinner box”. Animals would be placed in a cage which had a bar lever mechanism used to dispense food; Skinner would measure the frequency of the bar pressing and introduce different variables into the experiments. This led to his discovery of 'partial reinforcement' and its correlation to the slower extinction of shaped behaviour. When food pellets would only be dispensed once in a while (as opposed to every pressing) Skinner noticed that it took longer for the learnt behaviour to become extinct. The powerful phenomenon of partial reinforcement can be noticed in gambling establishments; a player on a slot machine is more likely to keep up their behaviour of playing if the rewards are unpredictable and occasional. The player becomes more persistent in their gambling in the hope that the next coin will be the winner (Hunt, 1993). The contributions of Behaviourism can still be noticed today in approaches to disciplining children in school; behaviour management systems are often governed by positive
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