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Paper Topic:

What are the basic tenets on which behaviorism is structured?What makes it different from functionalism

Running Head : BEHAVIORISM

The Tenets of Behaviorism

The Tenets of Behaviorism

Behaviorism is an approach which is often attributed to John Watson (Green , 2001 . The said school dominated much of Northern American psychology during the 1920s until the 1960s (Green , 2001

Behaviorism can be viewed as a reaction to the prevailing views in psychology in 1913 . During that time , psychology was regarded as the study of the mind . The method of introspection by a trained observer under controlled conditions was employed in to study consciousness - then defined as the core phenomena

of mind (Wozniak , 1997 . Almost 25 years later , psychology shifted its focus : from being confined to the study of mental phenomena , it moved towards the study of behavior Methods of analysis typically involved objective observations of behavioral data which varied as a result of experimental manipulation of stimulus conditions . Indeed , learning and memory were considered as the core phenomena of behavior (Woodworth , 1938 as cited from Wozniak 1997

Although it has been instructive to view behaviorism as a singular school , nothing could be farther from the truth . In fact , behaviorism consists of different approaches . For instance , Ivan Pavlov paved the way for the development of classical conditioning while B . F . Skinner introduced operant conditioning . These approaches provide different explanations behind the processes which account for learning (Ormrod 2004

Despite the different approaches within the paradigm different behaviorists agree on the following tenets behind it . First , the principles behind learning should equally operate on different animal species and on different behaviors . Using the assumption that all humans and animals learn alike behaviorist apply to human learning the principles which they have derived from their study of nonhuman species Second , the learning process can be studied most effectively when one focuses on the stimuli and responses involved (Ormrod , 2004 . Third mental phenomena are excluded from psychological study because they could not be objectively measured (Mayer , 2007 . Fourth , learning must involve a behavior change . Indeed , some behaviorists believe that learning could only be inferred if it involved a behavior change . Fifth behaviorists believe that organisms are born as blank slates . Different environmental experiences account for the individual differences in organisms . Sixth , learning is largely a function of environmental factors . Most learning is therefore assumed to occur beyond the individual 's control . Lastly , behaviorists emphasize the value of parsimonious theories . Parsimonious theories account for simple as well as complex behaviors using the fewest learning principles (Ormrod 2004

The said tenets thus provide the best contrasts between the behaviorist and functionalist schools of psychology . While behaviorism focuses on overt behaviors and emphasizes the use of objective methods in measuring learning and memory functionalism focuses on mental processes and their relation to behavior . Introspection was the primary method used in to study mental processes and the focus was shifted in examining how the systems within the mind interacted while it was functioning (Gordon 1995

In essence , the behaviorist and functionalist paradigms provide two ways to understand psychology . While the behaviorists are right...

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