Saturday, August 24, 2019

John B. Watson and Behaviorism Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1000 words

John B. Watson and Behaviorism - Essay Example This essay explains how Watson's work and ideas are different from those of who came before and after him, his contributions to psychology and the relevance of his work. It also looks at the applications of his psychological theory and the treatment methods that have been created from behaviorism. Watson used animal subjects to study behavior before later turning to the study of human behaviors and emotions. Most notably was his "Little Albert" study where he modified the boy's behavior through conditioning (Hothersall, 1995). He used the little boy Albert to test his behaviorist theory. He determined that white, furry objects, such as cotton, did not produce any negative reaction in the baby. But by pairing together a neutral stimulus such as white, furry objects with an unconditioned stimulus such as a very loud noise that elicited an unconditioned response such as fear, he was able to create a new stimulus-response link after several repetitions. Thus when Albert saw white, furry objects, he responded by becoming terrified. This conditioned fear was then shown to generalize to other white furry objects, including feathers and white hair or beards (Hothersall, 1995). Those psychologists who came before Watson such as Thorndike and Sigmund Freud held a totally different view. Sigmund Freud for instance often received harsh criticism from Watson due to his Freudian psychoanalysis theory (Hothersall, 1995). His work on the other hand influenced the modern behaviorists who "believe that all learning is simply conditioning, and that the conditioned response is the true unit of learned behavior." In fact, Watson was an important contributor to classical behaviorism, who paved the way for B. F. Skinner's radical or operant behaviorism, which is pivotal on modern educational systems (Hothersall, 1995). Even Ian Pavlov borrowed very much from Watson in conditioning his dogs. His contributions to psychology Many of the concepts and principles are still widely used today borrows heavily from behaviorism which dominates psychology. In fact, conditioning and behavior modification are still widely used in therapy and behavioral training to help clients change problematic behaviors and develop new skills (Hothersall, 1995). Obviously anyone who wants to manipulate others and compel them to do their bidding particularly governments and intelligence organizations uses the behaviorist theory. In fact, these two groups have spent the most money and the most time experimenting with the subject of behavioral psychology (Hothersall, 1995). Whether or not his work is still used in the field Watson's work is very evident even today. Modern behaviorists believe that their behavioral psychology have greatly influenced the field of educational psychology throughout the twentieth century. Accordingly, the process of education has been perceived in terms of such behavioral concepts as conditioning, reward and punishment as well as behavioral outcomes (Hothersall, 1995). Also, teaching methods have been devised with a view to rewarding desirable learning behavior with most educational aims being formulated in terms of conditioning human beings for desired purposes and behavioral outcome

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