Explain The Behaviourist Approach In Psychology

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The behaviourist approach:
The behaviourist approach is the idea that our behaviour is influenced by the environment around us. Something in the environment will be a stimulus, and our behaviour is caused by our response to that stimulus. An example of this could be picking up a hot pan and immediately dropping it straight after. The hot pan would be the stimulus, and dropping it would be the response. The two ways in which a stimulus could lead to a response include classical conditioning and operant conditioning.
Classical conditioning: Where a certain stimulus is associated with a certain response. Pavlov’s dogs is a study which very much demonstrates classical conditioning.
Operant conditioning: The way in which the consequences of a behaviour effect the likelihood of the behaviour being repeated. This is how new behaviours can be formed. The study “The Skinner Box” by Skinner demonstrates operant conditioning. Operant conditioning consists of positive and negative reinforcement and punishment.
Positive reinforcement – Involves the addition of something.
Negative reinforcement - Involves the removal of something.
Punishment – A negative consequence of behaviour, making it less likely to be repeated.
Assumptions of the behaviourist approach:
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Therefore, Watson and Rayner (1920) put this to the test. An experiment was conducted involving a 9 month year olod infant named Albert being tested on to analyse his reactions to different stimuli. He was shown a variety of things including a white rat, a monkey and some masks. Albert was seen to be “sold and unemotional” and didn’t react negatively or show signs of fear towards any of the stimuli. However, it was found that Albert did startle and react to a hammer hitting a steel bar behind his head and the loud noise and shock of it caused him to
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