Psychology Describe the Relationship Between Behaviorism and Essay

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Describe the relationship between Behaviorism and Cognitive psychology as movements within the science of psychology in the last century. Is one better than the other? Why or why not? Compare and contrast.

The Behavioral School of thought, founded by BF Skinner and his classical conditioning approach was the natural precedent of Freud's psychoanalytical approach. According to behaviorism, all behavior is learnt and that people can be taught various things by conditioning them through the use of stimuli, response and reward/punishments.

The behavioral school of thought, in terms of conditioning was used as a psychological tool in order to cater to the needs of patients, when it was thought that rectifying behavior would stop the problems from recurring.

Then, Noam Chomsky, in 1957, reviewed Skinner's book, where it was indicated, as an example of a situation that language could not be learnt through conditioning or through stimuli and response models as were used in behavioral psychology.

The reason why language was used as a case in point by the reviewer was because, children are only taught the basic grammatical framework and words. These are put into various contexts as they grow older, with no need for conditioning or stimuli needed to learn the language.

Instead, it was argued that cognitive processes in the brain, where various nerves and synaptic connection were working, were where the psychological process lay. It was not only behavior that impacted actions and thoughts; it was the actual thought processes that enabled learning and retention, rather than merely behavior.

Another psychologist, Albert Bandura, indicated that children can learn by observation, so that they did not only need constant approval or disapproval in order to learn something about the world around them. They did this by observing the situation and simply absorbing what they could in the world around them.

Over the years, there have been arguments on which school of thought is valid, and which is better. However, these two approaches are more or less different ways of looking at the various phases of learning. Human learning does not happen only by mental processes or observation; otherwise there would be no need for formal education and training. At the same time, not all learning happens through stimuli, response and repetitive behavior. Therefore these are two different manners in which humans learn about the world around them, and so, catering to different manners of learning, cannot be compared, or ranked relative to the other.

When we look at how skinner trained his dog to expect food to come after the bell, human though processes and patterns are more complex and receptive, so that they cannot be compared to an animal such as a dog. It has to be more than that, and with the age of information and technology, studies of the nervous system and how the brain works has lent proof to the fact that the brain works in a series of synaptic connections that make the case for cognitive processes. But at the same time, the impulses received by the synaptic nodes are further strengthened through repetitive behavior indicating that the two are not contrasting but complementing psychological sciences.

2. Describe the information-processing approach and its model (by Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968, 1971). You may use the graphical representation to aid in your answer, but do not include it in your analysis. What are the main assumptions and the limitations (or difficulties) derived from this approach?

The Atkinson -- Shiffrin model is also referred to as the multi-memory model, which breaks down memory into three constituent parts. The first layer of memory is sensory, where the input signals from the environment and the world around them is received by the sensory signals. These are things that are heard, smelled, seen, felt or tasted. However, just as the computer Read Only Memory, the sensations last only for a little while. The presence of this sensory memory has been proven by experiments done using a tachstiscope.

Short-term memory is the next layer or stage of memory that refers to the ability of the brain to be able to store memory in an unorganized fashion for the immediate duration. This can be memorizing a phone number until you dial it, and then forgetting it very soon afterwards. It is an intermediate layer that works between sensory and long-term memory, filtering out events that will be stored in the long-term by creating associations in order to retain it. It acts as a mechanism enabling a person to function at chores, or lists of things to do for the immediate time.

Long-term memory, on the other hand refers to storing information for a longer time than either of the two stages. It can be for the lifetime of the individual or for a few minutes. This part of the memory retains events and things that are practiced and rehearsed at various intervals in time, in order to last long. This can be the things learnt at school so that they either last till the exam date or, if the teacher is good and practice is hard, for a lifetime.

The main assumptions in this approach is that it is sequential where input flows in from sensory memory, buffers in at short-term and then is filtered till it reaches the long-term. What it fails to realize is how this memory reaches short-term, or even if the flow is sequential. Moreover, the theory is not defined so as to explain that long-term memory is there through associations, and people when the sense things, associate them to things they know create linkages and analogies and then are able to retain some of the new information that they gather through their lives.

Secondly, the theory does not define in measurable terms what can be classified as short-term or long-term memory, with the case being further challenged, where it cannot be tested for surety and assurance of results. Yet another criticism is that it flows in one direction and does not incorporate the various levels of memory along with their sub-levels.

Finally, the theory also does not consider individual differences in processing the same events and experiences, leading to gaps in understanding and application of this theory.

3. Discuss the following pattern recognition theories. What are the differences and similarities between Template matching theory, feature detection theory and Recognition by components theory? What are the advantages and limitations of Biederman's Object recognition process?

Pattern recognition theories postulate that there are certain manners in which people memorize things and how their brain works cognitively in this regards. The first in line is the Template matching model which indicates that people have a set framework of memories in their minds. It indicates that the image made on the Retina in the eye is directly transmitted to the brain in order to compare with previously memorized images, in order to detect a pattern or a template which already exists. This linkage allows people to comprehend the image.

As far as the feature detection or analysis theory is concerned, under this, there is a presumption that certain symbols and signs are there in memory that work as stimulus, so that people when presented with them automatically make the connection, even when these symbols are unfinished, or have parts hidden from view. For example, 11-12, 13, is read in context whereas the same figure is read as an a 'B' when used in '13 A13 Y'. This goes to indicate the automatic associations that the brain makes.

As far as the third pattern recognition theory is concerned, it deals with recognizing a thing by and storing it in memory by breaking it down into smaller component parts that are easily digested. It states that there are generally smaller components that are used as the basis for understanding what the whole part stands for.

Finally, as far as Object Recognition is concerned, it works in three stages. Foremost is where the object that is being seen in broken down into smaller sub-objects, in order to simplify the signal. The second phase is where the sub-objects are classified into various categories, there are 36 according to Bieberman, and these are the classes that the sub-objects are put into. Lastly, the pattern of the entire object is defined based on how the sub-objects have been put into perspective using the categories, and are used to analogize the new object with what is known.

The advantages of using this approach are that it thoroughly details how objects are perceived in their details and are linked to memory. Moreover, it also recognizes that the mind makes associations with what is known, in order to be able to understand new things. But there are limitations to this approach as well. The approach is too theoretical and staged in its approaches, stating a level of detail that might not be possible in cases where contact is fleeting, and yet people manage to remember the fleeting moment, indicating that there might be some other rationale behind thought processes…

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