What do you know about the behavioral approach?

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Behaviorism is the theoretical perspective in which learning and behavior are described and explain in terms of stimulus-response relationships. The major behaviorist in this field is john Watson known as the father of behaviorism. He maintained that proper subject matter for psychology was behavior and behavior. The key assumptions of behaviorism are:

The environment influences behavior. Behaviorists believe that people’s behaviors are a result of their interaction with the environment. Specially, people become conditioned, or molded to respond in certain ways based on responses like feedback, praise and rewards.

Learning is described through stimuli and responses. Behaviorists focus on observable events rather than events that occur inside a person’s head such as thoughts, feelings and beliefs.

Animals and humans learn in similar ways. Behaviorists, unlike many other theorists, performed their experiments using animals because they believed the study of animals could explain human learning behavior.

Strict behaviorists believed that any person can potentially be trained to perform any task, regardless of genetic background, personality traits, and inter Behaviorists reject the idea that people have free will, and believe that the environment determines all behavior. The ideas of behaviorism are fundamental to psychology and have been developed to help us better understand the role of prior experiences in a variety of areas of psychology. Scholars in the field of behaviorism say that psychology focus on the actual behaviors of people rather than what we cannot observe directly, such as thoughts, moods and emotions. Those who study behaviorism believe animal and human psychology. They don’t rely on studies of emotions or motives. Behavior is the actions and mannerisms made by individuals, organisms, systems or artificial entities in conjunction with themselves or their environment.

This theory helps people identify the causes of the psychological problems they have. It also gives advice on how to overcome and solve those problems. The only ways to discover the contents of the unconscious mind are dream analysis, word association and hypnosis. Secondly the mind is made of three parts, the id, the ego, and the superego. The id works on the pleasure principle. It contains the psyche energy of all our drives, instincts and repressed memories; it requires immediate satisfaction without any regard for reality. The ego works on the reality principle. It aims to fulfill the id’s desires whilst keeping them in line with what is possible in the real world. The super-ego pressures the ego to keep the id in line with moral ideology.

Freud supported his theories with case studies. In one famous study, he described the phobia of a five-year old boy called little Hans. Freud proposed that phobias were the expression of unwanted feelings that had been displaced from an internal source onto an external object that is easy to avoid. In Hans’ case, a horse was much more easily avoided than his father .The primary goals of psychodynamic therapy are for an individual to achieve greater insight about his or her own unconscious conflicts and self-motivations.

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