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Behaviorism and the Understanding of Learning

Summarize behaviorism and how it has affected the understanding of learning. Be sure to include the following information: please be specific and include any references please.

- A brief history of its founding
- The main components of the theory
- A brief description of at least 3 behaviorist experiments
- How behaviorism develops new behaviors

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Two key originators of behaviorism as well as behaviorist approaches to learning are John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner; however, they were influenced by a Russian physiologist named Ivan Pavlov. Behaviorism at that time focused on observable behavior and was primarily concerned with both the observable and measureable aspects of a person's behavior. It also stressed that behavior is directed by stimuli, and that a person selects one response over another because they have been previously conditioned. One main component is that behavior is learned; therefore, behaviors can be unlearned and replaced by new behaviors that are more acceptable. This can be done by using the reward response technique, which is done by rewarding the acceptable behavior (1).

Behaviorists who conducted research experiments are: Ivan Pavlov, John B. Watson, B.F. Skinner, and Albert Bandura.

Ivan Pavolv: The principle of Pavlov's experiment was to determine how unconditioned stimulus (food) would trigger an unconditioned response (salivation). He theorized that dogs do not learn to salivate when they see food, it is a reflex that is "hard wired" (2) into the dog. The intent was to measure the amount of salivation the dog experienced when seeing food; however, he discovered that the dogs had learn to associate his lab assistant with food. The dogs began to salivate when the lab assistant entered. In the beginning, the lab assistant was considered the neutral stimulus because it did not produce a ...

Solution Summary

Discusses behaviorism, behaviorist experiments, and the main components of behaviorist theories, includes references.