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John B. Watson Theory

Can you help me explore the personality theory/theorist John B. Watson? I need to apply the concepts using practical "real world" examples. Discuss whether or not the theory is consistent with scripture (3-4 pages).

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John Broadus Watson (b. Jan. 9, 1878 - d. Sept. 25, 1958) is the originator and father of the branch of psychology labeled behaviorism. Watson conducted animal research as well as research on child rearing promoting a change in the field of psychology in his 1913 address at Columbia University entitled, Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It; it also appeared as an article that same year (Watson, 1913). His goal was to establish a branch of psychology that was founded on empirical data. In what has been considered his behaviorist manifesto Watson lays out his views on the development of human personality and consciousness.
Psychology as Watson and latter behaviorist would view it is an objective experimental branch of the natural sciences. Its goal is the prediction and control of behaviors regardless of the species under study. For the behaviorist there are no distinctions between man as a human animal and the other creatures of the natural world. Personality then is a construct that is one-dimensional in that it relies solely on how the human animal interacts with and learns from its environment. There is in behaviorist no place for nature or the interior life of the human person. Watson remarked that if you give him a choice between twelve infants of differing parentage and heritage he could pick one of them and give them the personality and career of his choosing. He could turn that child into any person of his choosing, doctor, lawyer or Indian chief by manipulating the environment in which the child is reared. Likewise, he can take the same child and develop and unsavory personality and character.

For the behaviorist, personality consists of the total of learned tendencies. A behaviorist considers such things as the inner-self, psychic urges, unconscious and the urge for self-actualization as too nebulous to be measured (O'Donnell, 1985). We only know others and ourselves by our behaviors and how we behave dictates the kind of person we are. For the Watson and behaviorist to change or personal growth is a function of changing behaviors which often works based on need, the path of least resistance and most pleasurable. Behaviorist fail to make the connection between cognition and behavior and the development of heuristics that dictate much of human behavior and interaction (O'Donnell, 1985).

This is most aptly demonstrated in Watson's Little Albert experiment. (It needs to be said from the outset that this experiment would violate current APA ethical standards and is not to ...

Solution Summary

The expert explores the personality theory/theorist John B. Watson is determined. Whether or not the theory is consistent with scripture is determined.