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Skinner and Pavlov

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John, a 28-year-old male, is seen in an initial interview at a community mental health clinic. He has been diagnosed as Chronically Mentally Ill. He resides with his mother and grandmother. Both his father and grandfather committed suicide in their early 30's. John is afraid that he is fated to join the male-dominated generational pattern. John is oriented to reality and does not appear to have any disturbances in perception or thought. He does appear to be severely depressed and anxious during the initial interview.

Using the theoretical constructs of behaviorism, how would a Pavlovian and Skinnerian explain John's predicament? What are some of the shortcomings of their approach?

These ideas are presented.

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Ideas of Skinner and Pavlov are summarized.

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To get you started, let's review the theories of Skinner and Pavlov. The theory of B.F. Skinner is based upon the idea that learning is a function of change in overt behavior. Changes in behavior are the result of an individual's response to events (stimuli) that occur in the environment. A response produces a consequence such as defining a word or solving a math problem. When a particular Stimulus-Response (S-R) pattern is reinforced (rewarded), the individual is conditioned to respond. The key is reinforcement: anything that strengthens the response. ...

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