TheBehavioural approach is an approach in psychology and was first introduced byJohn Watson in 1913. John B Watson believed that psychology should primarily bescientific observable behaviour, this suggests that this approach can be seenthrough our behaviour and examine why we behave in certain ways. This was provedin a research he carried out in the ‘Little Albert’ experiment. The John BWatson “Little Albert” experiment was a famous psychology experimentcarried out by behaviourist John B.
Watson and graduate student Rosalie Rayner.Around the age of 9 months, Watson and Rayner exposed the child to a series ofstimuli including a white rat, a rabbit, a monkey, masks, and burningnewspapers and observed the boy’s reactions. At first the boy showed no fear ofany of the objects he was shown.
The next time Albert was exposed to the rat,Watson made a loud noise by hitting a metal pipe with a hammer. The child beganto cry after hearing the loud noise. After repeatedly pairing the white ratwith the loud noise, Albert began to cry after seeing the rat alone without theloud noise. The ‘Little Albert’ experiment is an example of how classicalconditioning can be used to condition an emotional response.Classicalconditioning is learning through association, linking one to another, forexample learning comes as we associate with other things. For example as a naturalreflex we produce more saliva naturally when we smell nice food or if we are hungry.Learning is due to consequences of voluntary behaviour, through positive andnegative reinforcement or punishment.By the1920s, John B.
Watson had left academic psychology, and other behaviourists creatednew forms of learning other than classicalconditioning. One of the most important of these was BurrhusFrederic Skinner; more commonly known as B.F. Skinner. Skinner believed that wedo have such a thing as a mind, but that it is simply more productive to studyobservable behaviour rather than internal mental events. The work of Skinnerwas based on the idea that classical conditioning was too simple to explain complexhuman behaviour. He believed that the best way to understand behaviour is tolook at the causes of an action and its consequences. He called this approachoperant conditioning.
OperantConditioning – the theory that intentional actions have an effect on thesurrounding environment. Skinner set out to identify the processes which madecertain operant behaviours more or less likely to occur.Skinner is regarded as the father of Operant Conditioning, but his workwas based on Thorndike’s (1905) law of effect. Skinner introduced a new terminto the Law of Effect – Reinforcement. Behaviour which is reinforced tends tobe repeated (strengthened), behaviour which is not reinforced tends to dieout-or be extinguished (weakened).Skinner (1948) studied operant conditioning by conducting experimentsusing animals which he placed in a ‘Skinner Box’ which was similar toThorndike’s puzzle box. B.F.
Skinner (1938) coined the term operant conditioning; it means roughly changingof behaviour by the use of rewards which is given after the desired response.Skinner identified three types of responses or operant that can follow behaviour. Operant conditioningrelies on the fact that actions that are followed by reinforcement will bestrengthened and more likely to occur again in the future. Actions that result in punishment orundesirable consequences will be weakened and less likely to occur again in thefuture.• Neutral operant’s: responses from the environment that don’t increaseor decrease the probability of a behaviour being repeated.• Reinforcers: responses from the environment that increasethe chance of a behaviour being repeated. Reinforcers can be either positive ornegative.
• Punishers: responses from the environment that decreasethe chance of a behaviour being repeated. Punishment weakens behaviour.Positivereinforcement Positive reinforcement strengthens a behaviour by providing aconsequence an individual finds rewarding. For example, if your teacher givesyou £5 each time you complete your homework (a reward) you will be more likelyto repeat this behaviour in the future, this strengthens the behaviour ofcompleting your homework.Negative ReinforcementNegative reinforcement is the removal of a stimuluswhich is ‘rewarding’ to the animal or person. Negative reinforcementstrengthens behaviour because it stops or removes an unpleasant experience. For example, if you do not completeyour homework, you give your teacher £5.
You will complete your homework toavoid paying £5, thus strengthening the behaviour of completing your homework.Depression is a medical illness that negatively affects how you feel,the way you think and how you act. Depression causes feelings of sadness and aloss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety ofemotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to functionat work and at home.
Depression is a mood disorder by sadness and withdrawal. It can range frommild to very severe, and can even result in suicide. In Europe, around 5% ofpeople are suffering from depression at any one time. Depression is very commonand everyone suffers from depression at some point in their lives; it is extremelycommon. Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed as men.Symptoms of depression include: · continuous low mood or sadness· feeling hopeless and helpless· low self-esteem · feeling irritable and intolerant of others · having no motivation or interest in things· changesin appetite or weight (usually decreased, but sometimes increased) · constipation · unexplainedaches and pains· lackof energy· avoiding contact with friends and taking partin fewer social activities· neglecting your hobbies and interests· having difficulties in your home and family lifeThe different types of depression are:· Postnatal depression – some women develop depression afterthey have a baby; this is known as postnatal depression.
· Bipolar disorder – bipolar disorder there are spells of bothdepression and excessively high mood (mania); the depression symptoms aresimilar to clinical depression, but the bouts of mania can include harmfulbehaviour.· Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – also known as”winter depression”, SAD is a type of depression with a seasonalpattern usually related to winter.According to behavioural theory, dysfunctional or unhelpful behavioursuch as depression is learned. Because depression is learned, behaviouralpsychologists suggest that it can also be unlearned. Peter Lewinsohn arguedthat depression is caused by a combination of stressors in a person’senvironment and a lack of personal skills. The environmental stressors cause aperson to receive a low rate of positive reinforcement. According to learningtheory, receiving positive reinforcement increases the chances that people willrepeat the sorts of actions they have taken that caused them to receive thatreward.
According to Lewinsohn, depressed people are people who don’t know howto cope with the fact that they are no longer receiving positive reinforcementslike they were before. Behaviourists focused entirely on their outward, directly observable andmeasurable behaviour. They did this because they believed internal feelings andthoughts were too hard to measure with accuracy and weren’t relevant toobserving behaviour. Recent research shows that internal events such as values,attitudes, fears, desires, etc. do affect behaviour, and are important to takeinto account when doing therapy. Behaviourism assumes that we are born as a blank slate therefore beingequal at birth.
Environmental factors affect our behaviour rather than geneticor biological differences. This presents the nurture aspect in the nurture vs.nature debate. The Biological approach looks at psychology from a physiologicalperspective.
It investigates how chemical events that occur within us thataffect our thinking, emotions and behaviour. The Biological approach assumes thatour behaviour can be in terms of activity that goes on in our brain and nervoussystem. Biological psychology has highlighted the power the brain and geneticsplay in determining and influencing human actions. The biological approach hasthe idea that most behaviour is inherited and has an adaptive function. Biologicalpsychologists explain behaviours through the structure of the brain and howthis influences behaviour. Manybiological psychologists have focused on abnormal behaviour and have tried toexplain it.
An example of this is biologicalpsychologists believe that schizophrenia is affected by levels of dopamine (aneurotransmitter). These results have helped psychiatry relieve the symptoms ofthe mental illness through drugs. However, Freud and other psychologists wouldargue that this just treats the symptoms and not the cause. Behaviour can be affected by:· genescan affect our inner selves· theenvironment · Hormonesthat can cause different mood swings· neurotransmitters– releases different types of hormones These can bechanged by:· positivesocial influences· rolemodels· therapy· medicationThe Biological approach looks at the nature aspect of thenurture vs. Nature debate as it concludes that behaviour can be determined bygenetics and natural internal events.
In conclusion the Behaviouralapproach under-estimates how complex human behaviour is and doesn’t accuratelymeasure behaviour as it doesn’t include all factors that affect it. Behaviour is a combination of thoughts,feelings, and desires that influence people’s actions. There must be biological factors involved such as genes and hormoneswhich are proven to be factors that influence mental health as well asbehaviour.