Essay Sample on Behaviorism

Systematic outlooks within the subject of psychology are often branded based on their views, subject matter and methods of investigating the discipline. In this regard, rejecting mental (subjective) experience, and taking an objective approach in psychological investigation, would be described as ‘Behaviourism’.

The school of Behaviorism has come a long way since Ivan M. Sechenov, the father of Russian psychology, laid it’s foundation in the late 1800’s. A behaviourist’s perspective within psychology is guided by the principle of “stimulus-response”. Behaviourists claimed that exploring the complexities of the mind were not necessary when searching for the causes of behaviour, the belief is that behaviourism does not engage with the biological aspects within psychology, rather it proposes that all behaviour is influenced by interaction with one’s immediate environment; and can be reinforced, punished or rewarded to become a ‘conditioned’ response — later known as Conditioning.

Neo Behaviourism, or “new behaviourism” is also a branch of psychology, and is also part of the evolution story of behaviourism. Neo Behaviourism draws upon the same principles of behaviourism, all the while Neo behaviourism is seen as a more flexible concept. Its purpose is to analyse and understand psychological phenomena that isn’t observable or measurable; concepts such as personality, love and stress.

While behaviourism was only focussed on environment and it’s influence on behaviour, Neo behaviourism focusses more on the environment and individual’s interaction (Names, Date). According to Hergenhahn, B. R., ; Henley, T. (2014), “Neo-behaviourism resulted when behaviourism was combined with positivism (p.426). Neo-behaviourist Edward Chace Tolman, focussed his study on purposive behaviours. Tolman linked all abstract mental processes to observable behaviour and as a consequence, this operationally defined them (Names, Date).

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