Starting From 19th Century Psychology, School Of Essay

Length: 10 pages Sources: 10 Subject: Psychology Type: Essay Paper: #16938592 Related Topics: Bf Skinner, 19th Century, Behaviorism, Ivan Pavlov

Excerpt from Essay :

Starting from 19th century psychology, school of thought of behaviorist shared commonalities and as well ran concurrently with the 20th century psychology of psychoanalytic and Gestalt movements, however it was different from Gestalt psychologists' mental philosophy in significant ways. Psychologists who had major influences in it were Edward Lee Thorndike, John B. Watson, they opposed method of introspective and advocated to use of experimental methods: Ivan Pavlov, investigated classical conditioning, but he was not to the idea of behaviorists or behaviorism: B.F. Skinner, he did his research on operant conditioning. During second half of the 20th century, it was widely eclipsed that behaviorism was due to cognitive revolution. Even though behaviorism as well as cognitive schools of psychological thought tends to disagree in terms of theory, they have gone a head to compliment one another within applications of practical therapeutic, for example, cognitive-behavioral therapy has shown utility in treating some pathologies like simple phobias, addition and PTSD. Moreover, behaviorism tries to establish a wide-range model of behavior stream starting with the human birth to his death.


Behaviorism which is as well termed as learning perspective, is a philosophy psychology derived from the fact that every thing that is being done by an organism as well as feeling, thinking and acting, might and are suppose to be taken as behaviors. These behaviors are being maintained by behaviorist school of thought that they are capable to be described scientifically with no recourse be it to hypothetical constructs or internal physiological events like the mind. The composition of behaviorism is that every theories are suppose to posses observational correlates however differences in term of the philosophy involving privately processes like feeling or thinking and publicly observable processes like actions, are not existing.

Skinner put more emphasis on processes of reinforcement, and they were taken as basic in the shaping of behavior. There is a misconception which is common that reinforcements negatively are the same as punishment. Such misconception tends to be pervasive, and generally it is also got from Skinner's scholarly accounts and his contributions. Positive reinforcement can be described as behavior strengthening by use of certain events like praise for a performed behavior, while negative reinforcement is to strengthen a behavior through avoidance or removal of certain aversive events, for example to open or raise an umbrella over ones head when it is raining is usually reinforced by the cessation of being rained on, Katz, J.L. (2007).

All these type of reinforcement raises the probability of reoccurrence of a behavior or strengthening behavior; the disparity lies to whether events reinforcement is positive reinforcement (applied) or negative reinforcement ( avoided or removed). Extinction and punishment facilitates weakening of behavior or lowers the possibility of occurrence of behavior, through the use of an aversive events or stimulus (punishment through contingent stimulation or positive punishment), desirable stimulus removal (punishment by contingent withdrawal or negative punishment). There was also a trial by Skinner to understand the use of his theory within the widest context of behavior the way it is used in living organisms like natural selection, Sagal, P.T. (1981).


Cumulative recorder

It is an instrument which is being used to record behavior automatically in terms of graphic. Before, it was having graphing mechanism that was made up of rotating drum paper, having a marking needle. The starting of the needle is from the bottom of the page then the drum is going to turn horizontally the role of the paper. Every response will have an impact of making the marking needle to move along the paper a single tick vertically. Because of this, the rate of response becomes capable of being calculated through getting at a particular point, the slope of the graph. Like rate of response which regular was going to make the needle to vertically move at a regular rate, causing a rise in straight diagonal line towards the right? A rate of response which is accelerating or decelerating was to result to a curve. A powerful analytic tool is being provided by the cumulative recorder for studying schedules of reinforcement.

Operant conditioning chamber

When B.F. Skinner was still at the University of Minnesota, he came up with operant conditioning chamber which was to be used to measure organisms' responses, more so to pigeons and rats, plus their interaction with the environment which is orderly. Such device was one of the lifelong ability of inventing devices which are useful including childhood whimsical devices to the...


It was made of a question list plus mechanism of responding to them by the learner. In any case a learner delivers a correct response, there will be a reward.
Pigeon-guided missile

In order for U.S. Navy to be victorious against the German Bismarck class battleships, they needed effective weapons. Even though there was existence of TV technology and missile, the primitive guidance system size which was presented made every weapon to be ineffective. Pigeon project proved to be potentially a highly effective and simple solution; however, as much as it was demonstrated effectively, it was left after many conventional solutions could be found. The emphasis of the project was to separate the nose cone of a missile to three compartments, then a pigeon was to encase in them.

Every compartment applied a lens in order to project whatever image in front of missile into the screen. Through pecking of the pigeon towards the object, the missile was to be directed. From this, a suggestion was given by Skinner that pigeons were behaving in a manner that depicts that there was influence on the automatic mechanism with their "ritual" making the experiment to shed light on human behavior.

It can be described that such experiment demonstrates a kind of superstition. From the behaviors of the birds it is as if causal relation was existing between its behavior and food presentation, even though this relation does not exist. Human behavior has several analogies. Some rituals like for altering an individual's fortune at cards tend to be good. Particular link of accidents involving a ritual and outcome which is favorable suffice to establish as well as maintain behavior even though there are several unforced instances.

A bowler who has just release a ball towards the alley, yet still goes on to act in a manner that shows that he was controlling the ball by turning and twisting his arm as well as, shoulder forms a case among the point. Such behaviors do not have a real effect on the lack of an individual or a half way ball down the alley, the same way the food was to appear as always even if the pigeon would have acted or not.

Radical behaviorism

Radical behaviorism was a term used by Skinner to refer to his specific brand of behaviorism. Contrary to austere behaviorisms, private events are not accepted like perceptions, thinking and unseen emotions within a causal account of behavior of organisms. It can be said that whatever is being introspectively observed or felt is not just nonphysical world of mind, consciousness or mental life, but own body of observer. Though it did not signify that introspection is a form of psychological research or whatever is introspectively observed or felt are the behavior causes. Chiesa, M. (2004).

Due to an organism current structure, it behaves as the way it does, though majority of this has not been reached by introspection. Whatever we should believe in as per now is with genetic and environment histories of a person as affirmed by the methodological behaviorist. The things that are observed introspectively are particular products of collateral of such histories.

From this, main wrought by mentalism are being prepared. In any case whatever one does is characterize by whatever is taking place inside him, then investigation ends. This is due to the fact that individuals have been preoccupied with mental life as well as feelings for long, though is just currently when a more specific analysis of the environmental role has been shown. From being unaware of such role caused mental fictions and has been facilitated by practices which are explanatory that had been given rise to. This explanation indicates that methodology stance tend to be a reaction and predates the recent advancement level, where mental structures is capable to be observed in operational through technologies like functional MRI.

Verbal Behavior

At Harvard, Skinner was challenged by Alfred North Whitehead at the event of casual discussion to give an explanation to piece of verbal behavior which was provided randomly. He tried extending his new functional, inductive, approach which was existing at that time to complexity verbal behavior of human. He developed a work which appeared to be culmination from the book of "Verbal Behavior" lectures of William James over two decades. However Noam Chomsky tended to be greatly critical of verbal behavior, he provided that "S-R psychology" system of Skinner was definitely that contingency (S) was coming after the response (R) within operant conditioning.

Due to review of…

Sources Used in Documents:

Work cited

Arntzen, E., Lokke, J., Kokke, G. & Eilertsen, D-E. (2010). On misconceptions about behavior analysis among university students and teachers. The Psychological Record, 60(2), 325- 327.

Chiesa, M. (2004).Radical Behaviorism: The Philosophy and the Science ISBN

Claus, C.K. (2007) B.F. Skinner and T.N. Whitehead: A brief encounter, research similarities, Hawthorne revisited, what next? The Behavior Analyst, 30(1), 79-86. Retrieved

Diller, J.W. And Lattal, K.A. (2008). Radical behaviorism and Buddhism: complementarities and conflicts. The Behavior Analyst, 31(2), 163-177. Retrieved
Katz, J.L. (2007). Robert Penn Warren and B.F. Skinner on determinism and behavior. The Journal of Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 88(1), 150-151.. Retrieved

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