Review Of Theorists Term Paper

Length: 9 pages Sources: 5 Subject: Psychology - Cognitive Type: Term Paper Paper: #20664760 Related Topics: Ego, Society, Social Media, Classical Conditioning
Excerpt from Term Paper :

. Theorist B.F. Skinner

a. Overview

To begin, B.F. Skinner is one of my favorite theorists due to his notion of behaviorism. The theory of B.F. Skinner is based upon the idea that learning is a function of change in overt behavior. Changes in behavior are the result of an individual's response to events stimuli that occur in the environment. Essentially an individual can be conditioned based on patterns of reward or rejection. A classic example is children who put their hands on the stove. If they get burned, the stimuli from the environment has created a data set in which the child can use later when making a decision to touch the stove again. Drawing on the past experience, the child will no longer want to touch the stove based on being conditioned from the past experience.

Most recently we have seen this at work with police officers and their treatment of minorities during routine stops. In certain instances, if the person being stopped is a minority, they are often treated much differently than if the person is white. The officers who treated the two classes of people differently may have experienced a particular behavior that evoked the stimulus-response pattern pioneered by Skinner. Here certain experience may have reinforced the officers response towards minorities. In this instance, a reinforcer is anything that can increase the propensity of a desired response. In the case of the police the reinforcer could ultimately increase their negative responses towards minorities during the course of their work. Ultimately as these negative reinforcers are used, the behavior of a particular person, in this case the police, becomes much engrained. Through time these responses become habitual in nature.

b. Likes and Dislikes

I personally like the ability of person to use positive reinforcement with the stimulus response theory to create positive and enduring habits. These habits, if used properly can last a life time and can better improve a persons life. Behavior aspects such as working out, can be reinforced by personal compliments an individual received at the beach. These reinforcers are then used to help the person continue their work out regiment, furthering their health goals and personal satisfaction. This theory ultimately puts personal responsibility on the individual as oppose to the society. I like the theory because through behaviorism, a person can choose the king of person they want to become. If they want to be hard working, have six-pack abs, be admired, and so forth, they must use the stimuli-response theory to help create the habits needed to do so.

On the negative side, I dont like how this stimuli response system is currently being used in society, particularly on social media. People are exploiting this concept to live fake lives on social media which is actually hindering their lives. Here the stimuli-response theory is being used in negative fashion to reinforce self-destructive behaviors. Likes and Followers serve as the reinforces in this example. Here, social media users often post heavily filtered or photoshopped photos to receive Likes. These photos are often lying which portray a fake lifestyle or identity which has not yet manifested itself. As result, of the Likes people continue to post these filtered photos, those altering their own personal perceptions of reality while also doing the same for others. We have seen this recently with financial gurus on social media who are using stock market rise to portray themselves as experts. They then post fake cars, homes, and material items in order to entice people to purchase their respective Get-Rich-Quick scheme. Followers believing the fake posts be true, reinforce their own behavior by liking the posters photos and purchase the course. Inevitable, the person who purchases the course is scammed out of their money, while the fake guru continues to believe he genuinely is helping people

c. Comparison

Skinner compared to other theorists appears to much simpler in his approach. His approach is very general but has the flexibility to be catered to a specific individual. This flexibility makes his theories and approaches much more unique as the account for the unique attributes of each individuals utilizing the theory.

2. Theorist Jean Piaget

a. Overview

Jean Piaget is good theorist, who I personally disagree...


I believe his theory related to cognitive stages or schemas no longer apply to a much more dynamic and changing cognitive environment.

Over a period of six decades, Jean Piaget conducted a program of naturalistic research that has profoundly affected our understanding of child development. Piaget called his general theoretical framework genetic epistemology because he was primarily interested in how knowledge developed in human organisms. For Piaget, cognitive structures underlie his particularly theories. These structures are often referred to as schemas and are patterns of behavior that correspond to an individuals stages of development. There are four primary cognitive structures (i.e., development stages) according to Piaget: sensorimotor, pre-operations, concrete operations, and formal operations. In the sensorimotr stage (0-2 years), intelligence takes the form of motor actions. Intelligence in the pre-operation period (3-7 years) is intuitive in nature. The cognitive structure during the concrete operational stage (8-11 years) is logical but depends upon concrete referents. In the final stage of formal operations (12-15 years), thinking involves abstractions (Piaget, 1973).

In these structures, change occurs through the process of assimilation and accommodation, which work together a person transitions from each stage. These two concepts are critical to Piagets theory as they people change their cognitive structure as they matriculate through life and have different experiences. This development, according to Piaget, consists of an individual constantly adapting to properly assimilate and accommodate. Here an individual will look to assimilate by attempted to understand the events that occurring within his environment. The individual will then accommodate by changing their own cognitive thinking to properly make sense of the surrounding environment.

b. Likes and Dislikes

As noted above, I dislike this theory as I dont believe the segments apply given todays much more integrated society. From a general perspective, I believe they do apply but they are not specific enough to be applicable in todays environment. For one, as society becomes much integrated and globalized it is much more difficult to properly segment cognitive functions into specific stages and categories. In addition, the theory did not foresee the growing influence on society media and the ability of individuals to have the experiences and stimuli they themselves choose. As a result of this variability, I believe it is difficult to apply Piagets theories and categories.

c. Comparison

From a comparison standpoint Piaget was unique relative to other theorists due to his diversified background. For example, he had a background in Biology which provided him with unique perspective relative to other theorists on the list. He was able to combine both biology and psychology in a manner that was very unique for his time.

3. Theorist Sigmund Freud

a. Overview

Sigmund Freud is arguable the most popular and well-known figure in psychology. His research has indicated that not all mental illnesses has a basis in physiological causes. In addition, his research also provided strong support in favor of cultural differences having a profound impact on overall behavior. He is created for many of the foundation principles of psychology today. Namely, many people know Freud through his essay, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, which expounded on his theories related to the Id, Ego and the Super Ego. Here, Freud believed that individuals what he termed as Id, which is an impulsive and often unconscious element within the human psyche. The Id forms the basis for impulsive behaviors that look for immediate gratification and pleasure. These pleasures vary from person to person and can include aspects from food to sex. Likewise, Freud termed the super-ego as the moral and much logical element of the psyche. Finally, the ego is the rational component of the psyche which attempts to rationalize the desires of the both Id and the Super-ego. Essentially, both unconscious and conscious thought is derived from the relation of these three components.

b. Likes and Dislikes

I agree with much of Freud as it relates to the Id, Ego, and Super-Ego. I also believe that societal norms often heavily influence each of…

Sources Used in Documents:


1. Coles R. Erik H. Erikson: The Growth of His Work. Boston: Little, Brown; 19702. Freud, S. Group psychology and the analysis of the ego., S.E., 18:69-143, 19213. Friedman LJ. Identity's Architect; A Biography of Erik H. Erikson. Scribner Book Co; 1999.

4. Gantt, W. Horsley. "Ivan Pavlov". Encyclopedia Britannica, 23 Feb. 2021, Accessed 7 May 2021.

5. Piaget, J., & Inhelder, B. (1973). Memory and intelligence. New York: Basic Books.

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