EMPOWER Addiction Recovery

Home » Perspectives in Behavioral Psychology

Perspectives in Behavioral Psychology

The behavioral approach emphasizes the scientific study of observable behavioral responses and their environmental determinants. John B. Watson and B. F. Skinner were the first behaviorists. Behaviorism dominated psychological research during the first half of the twentieth century.

The central idea behind behaviorism is that only observable behaviors are researchable, inner thoughts and emotions are private and to subjective.

Using basic principles of learning, behavioral theorists see both normal and abpsychology-of-learning-1-638normal behaviors as responses to various stimuli, responses that have been learned through past experience and that are guided in the present by stimuli in the individual’s environment

Behavioral genetics researchers are finding increasing evidence that cognitive abilities, personality traits, sexual orientation, and psychological disorders are determined to some extent by genetic factors (hereditary) (Reif & Lesch, 2003; Viding et al., 2005).

Learning is defined as a relatively permanent behavioral change.  As we learn we alter the way we perceive our environment.

Ivan Pavlov

Classical Conditioning, learning by association, is the process of learning that associates an unconditioned stimulus that already brings about a particular response (i.e. a reflex) with a new (conditioned) stimulus, so that the new stimulus brings about the same response.

B. F. Skinner believed that people’s personalities arise from response tendencies and that consequences shape the responses:

Personality IS a group of responses to the environment –

Radical determinism – All behavior is caused –

Operant Conditioning –

Behavior is changed by its consequences –

skinner box

“Skinner box” (operant chamber)

John Watson was the first to study people and how the process of learning affects our behavior and in turn our personalities. Watson’s experiment with Lil Albert concluded that humans could be classically conditioned as were Pavlov’s dogs.

  • Founded behaviorism

    Applied conditioning principles to humans

    Rejection of introspection

    Tabula rasa approach

    John Locke

    Lil’ Albert

Albert Bandura said that people learn responses by watching others (observational learning). He believes that thinking and reasoning are important in learning (Social Cognitive Learning).

In response to Behaviorism Bandura believed that behaviorist ignore insights and advances from cognitive and social psychology and that they tend to dehumanize unique human potentials. Bandura disagreed that behavioral theory in itself explains all differences between individuals as a consequence of their reinforcement histories. Behaviorists only view humans as objects to be trained.

Walter Mischel’s research showed that people behavemarsh

differently in different situations, “Social Infuences,” Behavior is a function of both the situation and personality: A person’s behavior will vary with the situation, but anchored by personality

Behavioral signature

Recurring situation-behavior relationships

Contributes to the apparent consistency of an individual’s personality

Some situations are so powerful that they override personality effects

A fire in a crowded theater

Implicit Personality Theory

Observers tend to attribute the behaviors of others to personality

Underemphasis on the role of situation

Limited information

People overestimate the consistency of their own behavior

However, people are generally good judges of personality

Classical Conditioning

Operant Conditioning

Observational Learning


Bernstein, D.A. & Nash, P.W. (2008). Essentials of psychology (4th ed.) Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Feldman, R. (2013). Essentials of understanding psychology (11th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Friedman, H.S. & Schustack, M.W. (2012), Personality: classic theories and modern research (5th ed). Boston: Pearson Allyn & Bacon.

McGraw-Hill.McGraw Hill Higher Education (2013), The McGraw Hill Companies, Inc.

Ryckman, R. M. (2013). Theories of personality (10th ed.). Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.



  1. hmouataz says:

    Read and Understood.


  2. emilka627 says:

    Read & understood


  3. dezgoncalves says:

    Read and understood!


  4. rodolphe edouard saintval says:

    read and somewhat understood


  5. Kumar21 says:

    read and somewhat understood


  6. David Name Leon says:

    read and understand


  7. ojune4 says:

    read and a little confused!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. sanunez27 says:

    Read and understand

    Liked by 1 person

  9. philgdasilva says:

    Read and a little confused on BF Skinner

    Liked by 1 person

  10. hibaeva says:

    Read, and confused


  11. nakarig03 says:

    read only understood the last 3 perspectives


  12. Netra Kumari Bhattarai says:

    read and understand!


  13. aymarasoto says:

    All set, read and understood

    Liked by 1 person

  14. yu012117 says:

    Read and understood! very interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Avery Ross Burkhardt says:

    Read it and got it

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Christian Santos says:

    Read and understood! I just wanted to understand what response tendencies meant in regards to B.F. Skinner.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Nigus Mebratu says:

    read and understand!!!!!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: