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Page 1(Introduction)

Page 2 (Behaviorism, Unconscious, Skinner)

Psychology in 1950's & beyond Psychology today (wrap up)
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With the idea of structuralism and functionalism at a stir in the study of psychology. Another up bring of ideology was introduced in the 1900's by John B. Watson, behaviorism. In definition behaviorism is the act of studying psychology by paying strict attention to observable characteristics. Ergo-abandon the means of analyzing consciousness in regards to the study approach in the field. Watson was strongly opposed to relying on scientific approach (Science of behavior is what Watson believed in). After all, how can one sense another's sense of emotions?

"The time seems to have come when psychology must discard all references to consciousness." (John B. Watson)

Watson also re-evaluated the issue of 'nature versus nurture'. In simplified form, are people made out to be who they are by birth or were they influenced?

 Watson response to 'nature versus nurture'. 

"Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own special world to bring them up in and I'll guarantee to take any one at a random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select-doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief, and yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and race of his ancestors. I am going beyond my facts and I admit it, but so have the advocates of the contrary and they have been doing it for many thousands of years."

This of course was never put to the test. Yet the statement endorsed the study of 'behaviorism'.

Behaviorism in depth.

Stimulus-Any detectable input from the environment.

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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.

Behaviorism 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 of behaviorism?

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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 ping-pong.

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.

Signmund Freud

Frued was a very determined physician. He has been noted in dissecting 400 male eels just to prove that they had testes. He mostly treated patients with disorders ranging from irrational fears, anxieties, and obsessions with a radical procedure called 'psychoanalysis'. Not to mention he also used himself to observe his theories against.

the unconscious and what does it mean?

unconscious attains memories, desires, and thoughts that is located below the surface or conscious awareness. It has great influence on behavior overall.

Freud's psychoanalysis theory.

The theory tries to explain motivation, mental disorder, and personality by the means of unconscious determination of behavior. Even though this theory was not really new in the field o psychology, it was a strong theory in explanation of behavior. The psychoanalysis theory gained momentum rather slowly but won acceptance from followers including Carl Jung and Alfred Adler. G. Stanely Hall even invited Freud to give a speech on it in 1909 at Clark University  in Massachusetts. Yet take note, the theory of psychoanalysis still faced doubts from experts around the world. For those who doubted psychoanalysis were quit uncomfortable with the arena of conscious research from subtle research and were still lingering with the subject of observable behavior.

And yet psychoanalysis did not fade away like some had expected it to have!

By the 1940's psychoanalysis gained a tough foothold in the field of psychoanalysis. Yet still it was a controversial topic, it played an important role on psychology research.


Daniel Combs