Evolution/History behaviorismHumanbehavior exists as long as the existence of humans. Throughout time behaviorchanged and developed but also our knowledge developed and increased.In 1897 Pavlov discovered by accident theclassical conditioning.
The initiative research was meant to show that dogs donot need to learn certain things. For example dogs salivate whenever they seefood, this is an unconditioned response. While experimenting this, Pavlovdiscovered that not only food triggers the system but also other objects whichor associated with food. The dogs in the experiment had learned to associatethe bell with food. This is learned since it started at some point but not fromthe start on, the behavior of the dogs changed. The ringing of the bell changedfrom neutral stimulus to unconditioned stimuli, since the bell was directlyassociated with food.
By ringing the bell the direct response was an increasein salivation. Since this response was learned through repetition it is calleda conditioned response. The conclusion Pavlov found was that associations aremade by two stimuli presenting close together in time.
(Pavlov)After Pavlov’s experiment and theory there were otherscientists who brought in their own opinion and experiment. Pavlov showed thathis theory applied to animals, but the question which arises was, does thetheory also apply to humans? Watson and Rayner were the onesexperimenting with humans to prove the theory for humans as well. Their LittleAlbert Experiment shows that classical conditioning could be used to create aphobia. Albert showed no fear by a couple of animals which were shown to him.However what did frighten him and cause him to be afraid was a very loud suddennoise. AfterAlbert was 11 months old a white rat was presented, followed by the noise.
Thiswas repeated a couple of times a week, over the next seven weeks. Every timeAlbert cried because he got scared. Leaving the noise out of the picture had noeffect, every time he saw the rat he immediately showed his fear. Not only was the theory proved toapply Pavlov’s theory, they also found that Albert developed his phobiasto any object and animal which had the same characteristics as the rat,generalization. After some time not seeing any rat in combination with thesound makes the fear to decrease. However the association could still berenewed by repeating the experiment. (McLeod, Classical Conditioning, 2014) Edward Lee Thorndike used the law of effect forhis experiment. A short explanation for the law of effect would be that afeeling after a certain behavior has effect on the behavior being repeated ornot.
Thorndike theorized that animals learn by trial and error. When somethingworks to the animals satisfaction, the animal connects that behavior with thepositive outcome. When the animal makes a mistake there is no associationformed between the behavior that led to the error and a positive outcome. Withthis information there could be conclude that the ineffective behavior is lesslikely to reappear. Thorndike declared that a punishment is ineffective when wanting to remove theconnection between behavior and the result. He suggested that behavior is not verypredictable, particularly when it comes to punishments. (McLeod, Edward Thorndike, 2007)B. F.
Skinner believed the theories before hiswere inadequate, therefor he wrote a novel with his view. He saw behaviorismnot as ‘science of human behavior but as the philosophy of that science’. (Skinner, 1974) Skinner introducedoperant conditioning , an elaboration of the classical conditioning. Operantconditioning takes into account more factors which have an influence onbehavior, it involves human intelligence and will operate on its environmentinstead of being simply a response to the stimuli. Behavior is not only anautomatic response to the stimuli but there is also choice and free will. Theprobability that a type of behavior will be repeated is in conditionalrelationship with the amount of pleasure that the behavior has caused.
When behavior has a reinforcing consequence itis more likely to occur again. There are different types of reinforcements. Apositive reinforcement and a negative reinforcement. The positive strengthensthe behavior which produces it, the negative reinforcement strengthens thebehavior which reduces or terminates it.
When needing to describe why somethingis reinforcing most answers will be based on feeling, seeing, sound, smell ortaste. The point of view provided by behaviorists state that is due to itssurvival value instead of any associated feelings. Punishment will be confused with negativereinforcement very easily. The difference between the two is that negativereinforcement generates behavior, it leads to action. While a punishment isdesigned to remove behavior from a repertoire. As one gets a punishment variousstimuli generated by the behavior or the occasion are conditioned in therespondent reaction, and the corrected behavior is replaced by irreconcilablebehavior conditioned as escape or prevention.