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Associationistic Theories of Watson and Skinner

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Submitted By chaoswoman
Words 850
Pages 4
Associationistic Theories of Watson and Skinner

History credits John B. Watson as the founder of behaviorism. His disliking of the structuralism and functionalism approaches led Watson to consider psychology a science of behavior. Rather than focusing on methods like introspection, Watson strongly suggests that psychological research involve examinations of the measurable and observable behaviors. In his classic study of Little Albert, Watson demonstrates how learning of fear can occur through the principle of classical conditioning. Watson and other behaviorists like B.F. Skinner also emphasize that environmental factors affect and determine behavior.

Skinner took the study of behaviorism to the next level by proposing concepts like mind, consciousness, and feelings were neither measureable or observable and were, therefore, not necessary in explaining behavior. Skinner claims that one can explain behavior by analyzing the conditions present before a behavior occurs and by analyzing the consequences that follow the behavior. The principles associated with Skinner’s operant conditioning suggest personality as a function of environmental influences rather than unconscious thoughts and feelings. However, this belief faces criticism for paying little attention to emotions and internal processes. By examining the theories of Watson and Skinner, one can better understand by classical and operant conditioning by explaining their major themes and evaluating their effectiveness in explaining behavior.

Watson’s and Skinner’s Theories Identified

John B. Watson is typically considered the founding father of behaviorism. Current psychological beliefs at the time were that consciousness could be calculated solely as a consequence of the use of introspection, a research tool well-known for its erroneous ways. Watson believed that consciousness could not...

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