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Perspectives in Behavioral Psychology

The behavioral approach emphasizes the scientific study of observable behavioral responses and their environmental determinants. John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner were the first behaviorists. Behaviorism dominated psychological research during the first half of the twentieth century.

The central idea behind behaviorism is that only observable behaviors are researchable, inner thoughts and emotions are private and to subjective.

Using basic principles of learning, behavioral theorists see both normal and abpsychology-of-learning-1-638normal behaviors as responses to various stimuli, responses that have been learned through past experience and that are guided in the present by stimuli in the individual’s environment

Behavioral genetics researchers are finding increasing evidence that cognitive abilities, personality traits, sexual orientation, and psychological disorders are determined to some extent by genetic factors (hereditary) (Reif & Lesch, 2003; Viding et al., 2005).

Learning is defined as a relatively permanent behavioral change.  As we learn we alter the way we perceive our environment.

Ivan Pavlov

Classical Conditioning, learning by association, is the process of learning that associates an unconditioned stimulus that already brings about a particular response (i.e. a reflex) with a new (conditioned) stimulus, so that the new stimulus brings about the same response.

B. F. Skinner believed that people’s personalities arise from response tendencies and that consequences shape the responses:

Personality IS a group of responses to the environment –

Radical determinism – All behavior is caused –

Operant Conditioning –

Behavior is changed by its consequences –

skinner box

“Skinner box” (operant chamber)

John Watson was the first to study people and how the process of learning affects our behavior and in turn our personalities. Watson’s experiment with Lil Albert concluded that humans could be classically conditioned as were Pavlov’s dogs.

  • Founded behaviorism

    Applied conditioning principles to humans

    Rejection of introspection

    Tabula rasa approach

    John Locke

    Lil’ Albert

Albert Bandura said that people learn responses by watching others (observational learning). He believes that thinking and reasoning are important in learning (Social Cognitive Learning).

In response to Behaviorism Bandura believed that behaviorist ignore insights and advances from cognitive and social psychology and that they tend to dehumanize unique human potentials. Bandura disagreed that behavioral theory in itself explains all differences between individuals as a consequence of their reinforcement histories. Behaviorists only view humans as objects to be trained.

Walter Mischel’s research showed that people behavemarsh

differently in different situations, “Social Infuences,” Behavior is a function of both the situation and personality: A person’s behavior will vary with the situation, but anchored by personality

Behavioral signature

Recurring situation-behavior relationships

Contributes to the apparent consistency of an individual’s personality

Some situations are so powerful that they override personality effects

A fire in a crowded theater

Implicit Personality Theory

Observers tend to attribute the behaviors of others to personality

Underemphasis on the role of situation

Limited information

People overestimate the consistency of their own behavior

However, people are generally good judges of personality

Classical Conditioning

Operant Conditioning

Observational Learning


Bernstein, D.A. & Nash, P.W. (2008). Essentials of psychology (4th ed.) Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Feldman, R. (2013). Essentials of understanding psychology (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Friedman, H.S. & Schustack, M.W. (2012), Personality: classic theories and modern research (5th ed). Boston: Pearson Allyn & Bacon.

McGraw-Hill.McGraw Hill Higher Education (2013), The McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.

Ryckman, R. M. (2013). Theories of personality (10th ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.


  1. Clarisse Noubissi Tchemwe says:

    i understand that john watson and Skinner was the first behaviorists.


  2. Khaled Roch says:

    Behavior is changed by its consequences all the time ?


  3. eguerrieo says:

    read an understood


  4. hfisk801 says:

    read and understood


  5. JESSICA BRUNS says:

    Read and understood


  6. Yasmin says:

    Read and somewhat understood


  7. Sayomi says:

    Read and understood


  8. kdhernandez11 says:

    read and agree with the statement As we learn we alter the way we perceive our environment.


  9. Anthony Mansi says:

    I do not fully understand this , have touched on this when receiving my LADC but not in depth.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kiana Jeanniton says:

    I read and understood for the most part. I don’t really understand the “Skinner box”


  11. Xavier Savage says:

    Read and Understood, I agreed with Walter Mischel’s research showed that people behave differently in different situations. We all interact differently with our friends than we do with close loved ones versus how we interact/act or react to things at work or public events.
    Operant conditioning kinda confused me because even strong negative or positive reactions to behaviors don’t always mean there is a change in behavior. (For example, a painful splinter in the hand doesn’t mean we stop holding on to railings when going downstairs.)


  12. Stevy says:

    Read but not sure I understood completely although classical conditioning did make a lot of sense to me

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Tristan Hope says:

    Read and understood !!


  14. Calvin Cannon says:

    Read and somewhat understood. I think Behavioral Psychology is tricky because behavior stems from multiple things, I think it’s tough to put a finger on exactly why people behave the way they do. States that it has a lot to do with learning but maybe some un-learning as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Kamilla DeFreitas says:

    read and somewhat understood

    Liked by 1 person

  16. tatiana walker says:

    read and kinda understood

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Navy says:

    Read and somewhat understood


  18. jose osorio says:

    read and understood


  19. cindyv85 says:

    read and need some more understanding on Classical/Operant Conditioning and Observational Learning

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Lydia Li says:

    Read and understood most parts

    Liked by 1 person

  21. lillyanamayo says:

    Read and a little confused, hopefully, it will be clearer next class!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Fernando L Sousa says:

    read and somewhat understood

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Harman P Singh says:

    read and understood the behavioral psychology


  24. Olivia Filipowich says:

    Read and somewhat understood

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Debbie Ross says:

    Read and Understood


  26. JingRen says:

    Read and Understood


  27. Harman Singh says:

    read and understood


  28. hmouataz says:

    Read and Understood.


  29. emilka627 says:

    Read & understood


  30. dezgoncalves says:

    Read and understood!


  31. rodolphe edouard saintval says:

    read and somewhat understood


  32. Kumar21 says:

    read and somewhat understood


  33. David Name Leon says:

    read and understand


  34. ojune4 says:

    read and a little confused!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. sanunez27 says:

    Read and understand

    Liked by 1 person

  36. philgdasilva says:

    Read and a little confused on BF Skinner

    Liked by 1 person

  37. hibaeva says:

    Read, and confused


  38. nakarig03 says:

    read only understood the last 3 perspectives


  39. Netra Kumari Bhattarai says:

    read and understand!


  40. aymarasoto says:

    All set, read and understood

    Liked by 1 person

  41. yu012117 says:

    Read and understood! very interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Avery Ross Burkhardt says:

    Read it and got it

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Christian Santos says:

    Read and understood! I just wanted to understand what response tendencies meant in regards to B.F. Skinner.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Nigus Mebratu says:

    read and understand!!!!!!!


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