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Behaviorism Or Black Box Psychology Essay

1364 words - 5 pages

The idea behind the behaviorist branch is that they believe that psychology is studied through observable behaviors. The behaviorists were the first to focus on more objective research as opposed to the subjective research like the previous leaders in psychology such as Titchener and Freud (Lilienfeld, Lynn, Namy, Woolf). Behaviorism or black box psychology opened the eyes of the psychology community by showing them that they should not just rely on the reports of others, but having data they could replicate and prove allowing them to have a stronger scientific footing (Lilienfeld, Lynn, Namy, Woolf). The major behaviorists are Watson and Skinner. Pavlov also had a major impact on this particular branch of psychology. I will discuss a little about each of their major experiments and the contributions they made to the field of psychology; as well as how they can be applied to things in everyday life.
A physiologist known as Ivan Pavlov had a big impact on the field of psychology particularly, the behaviorist movement, he is known for coming up with the idea behind classical conditioning. Before his work in physiology he was a very religious man and had every intention of being a priest until he read a book that Darwin wrote which swayed him into a more scientific career (WGBH, 1998). What brought him to this theory known as classical conditioning was studying digestion and how salvation and the response of the stomach are related in animals, particularly dogs (WGBH, 1998). He wanted to see if an external stimulus would change the response process. So in the experiment that has become famous in psychology he would take the dog food and present it to the dog and noticed that the dog would salivate. Then he would sounds a tone when he fed the dog until the dog associated the tone with being fed. Then he would just sound the tone and the dog would salivate with out the food being present. He also found that if you kept playing the tone and the dog did not receive food that he would no longer salivate when the tone would play, this concept is known as extinction. Pavlov who did not give much clout to psychology because it was still a young science found that his theory could indeed be implied to people who had mental disorders (WGBH, 1998). He concluded that people that withdrew from certain things could associate those things with fear or injury causing them to withdraw every time the stimulus was presented to them (WGBH, 1998). Pavlov was very smart earning a Nobel Prize in physiology/medicine for his study on digestion and he became a big influence for the man that I will talk about next known as the father of behaviorism John B. Watson (WGBH, 1998).
John B. Watson a behaviorist lived from (1878-1958). Watson grew up in a broken family where is father cheated and eventually left his mother (John B. Watson). Watson modeled his behavior by cheating on his first wife and eventually marrying on of his students (John B. Watson). Watson turned his...

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