Behaviorism in depth.
Stimulus-Any detectable input from the environment.
Stimuli could be anything, a light, a sound, or even words from a newspaper.
Behaviorists analyzed the relationship between stimuli and the reaction which
has the coined label 'stimulus-response psychology'. Initially the idea of
stimulus-response psychology did not receive a warm welcome in the research and
academic world, it eventually gained it's foundation.
For an example, Russian psychologist Ivan Pavlov concluded that dogs could be
trained to salivate in the natural response to an a noise (stimulus).
Afterwards, it was popular to run experiments on animals to test the
stimulus-response theory. Psychologists thought this was an effective way since
humans were no longer needed to report their mental state. Also consciousness
was not a concern at all in these experiments, so it was excluded anyways.
Human subject - 'Sorry-I ran out of gas coming to this experiment of
yours. How much am I going to get for this? I have a date at 6, so that's when
I have to leave out of here. Also I need to use the bathroom, where is it?'
Rabbit subject - 'help me'
Simply put, only behavior is at the concern. Helpless animals in a controlled environment is much easier to analyze than humans.
eventually came to opposition from different
psychological ideology. For one there was Gestalt
psychology, who argued the study of psychology should be
concerned with the conscious experience rather than
behaviorism. Finally there is another alternative
approach came from Signmund Freud. (Right side of this
page for more detial)
B.F. Skinner and what role did he play in the theory
Skinner had some similar ideas of those of Watson. Stating that environment
plays a critical role in behavior. Yet he does not deny that from a biological
stand point does in fact influence behavior. His sole explanation is that to
predict behavior, you do not need to solely resort to physiological
explanations. As Skinner stated in one of his documentation...
"Organisms tend to repeat responses that lead to positive outcomes, and they tend
not to repeat responses that lead to neutral or negative outcomes."
Such a simple statement, yet he proved his thoery by using rats and
pigeons by changing their outcomes of their response. He even made pigeons play
Skinner published a book in 1971, 'Beyond Freedom and Dignity'.
Where he had explained that all behavior is predictable governed by external
stimuli. For an example, you will have a general knowledge of where an apple
will land when it falls from an apple tree. His big idea is that consciousness
is mere an illusion, and people do not have the will to control their behavior;
it is in fact governed.