The Learning ( Or Behaviourist ) Approach

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The learning (or behaviourist) approach, at its core, is about how experience affects our behaviour and how we learn behaviours. This approach postulates that all humans are born as ‘blank slates’ and we become shaped by the environment that the person lives in. Behaviourism is concerned with the observable characteristics of humankind; their behaviour. This approach dismisses any internal workings because these workings are too subjective and difficult to observe; whereas observable behaviour can be scientifically and objectively measured, so more concrete theories can be based off the research undertaken into behaviour. Unsurprisingly, the behaviourist approach works closely with the experimental branch of psychology, and it also works…show more content…
The process of this conditioning is associating a neutral stimulus (the bell) with a unconditioned stimulus (the food) and unconditioned response (the salivation); this means that a stimulus in the environment produces a behaviour that is innate, or natural – no new behaviours have been learned, yet. The neutral stimulus does not produce a response unless it is paired with the unconditioned stimulus at the start of conditioning. During conditioning the stimulus that produces no response (i.e. neutral) is associated with the unconditioned stimulus to the point it becomes a conditioned stimulus. Often, at this stage, the unconditioned stimulus needs to be associated with the conditioned stimulus on many occasions or trials for learning to take place. However, this is not always the case; if a neutral stimulus produces sickness or ill-health, then the association does not need to be strengthened over time, because the response it produces is so violent. Now, the conditioned stimulus has been associated with the unconditioned stimulus to the point where it can produce a conditioned response. This association can then be generalized to other, similar objects; as was shown in the ‘Little Albert’ experiment performed by Watson, when the baby’s fear of the white rat had been generalized to other similar furry animals and
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