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Flashcards in Task 6 - Behaviorism Deck (38)
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-all behaviors are either reflexes or consequences of an individual history
-We can measure surrounding (input) and behavior (output)
-> what happens in the brain? We don’t really are


First American psychology - functionalism

-Americans were strongly interested in Darwins evolutionary theory
-nation of common-sense businessmen, not interested in abstract science
-> interested in practical accomplishments that at the same time made money, revealed God’s glory and advanced the American dream


Public image of psychology

-associated psychology with phrenology, mesmerism, spiritualism and other paranormal subjects



-view that mental functions are localized in the brain
-capacity of a function corresponds to size of brain part devoted to it
-started with Joseph Gall

-> Spurzheim applied it to predict character, personality and propensity to crime
-> he exported it to Uk and USA


First American psychology: functionalism

-strongly interested in evolutionary theory



-Mesmer claimed that he could cure patients by restoring their animal magnetism
-> became popular after Parisian Charles Posen in 1830-40s gave a series of lectures



-belief that spirits of the dead could be contacted by mediums
-started in mid 90s with Fox sisters
-spread rapidly, the more because Civil War claimed many lives
-first psychologists were invited to investigate spiritual sessions


Inspiration from animal research
-> preservation of races in struggle for life

-Darwin and spencer -> individuals became interested in animal behavior
-looked for similarities between human and animal behavior
-searched for evidence of intelligent behavior passed from generation to generation


Early research - trying to understand the animals mind

-George Romanes: mental processes in animals were thought to be same sort as you would expect to find after introspection of your own consciousness
-anthropomorphic interpretation


Anthropomorphic interpretation

-interpreting behavior of non-human living creatures by attributing human motives and human-like intelligence to them
-popular in second half of 19th century


Edward Lee Thorndike (1874-1949)

-father of comparison psychology (1898)
-first to study animal psychology in an objective way
-> placing an animal in controlled environment and drawing conclusion on basis of the animal behavior
-instrumental conditioning
-law of effect
-educational psychology -> identified 3 main areas of intellectual development (abstract intelligence,mechanical intelligence and social intelligence)


Thorndikes Puzzle box

-put hungry animals in box
-> need to solve puzzle to reach food outside of box

Findings: law of effect

-cats who watched other cats solve the puzzle were not better at solving when put in the box themselves
-> instrumental conditioning


Law of effect

-refer to the fact that behaviors followed by positive consequences are strengthened and more likely to be repeated

-behaviors not followed by such consequences -> not repeated


Instrumental conditioning

-name introduced by Thorndike
-refers to learning on the basis of law of effect
-called operant conditioning by skinner


Ivan Petrovich Pavlov

-Russian physiologist (1849-1936)
-studied digestive system of animals
-after 1900: interest in why organs secret fluids before food was presented
-> started research on CC
-thought that psychology could be reduced to physiology: thinking consisted of reflexes
-big impact on development of behaviorism
-supported a totally objective psychology and Watson’s behaviorism


John B. Watson (1878-1958)

-American psychologist
-PhD in animal Psychology
-editor of journal ‘Psychological Review’
-> published behaviorist manifesto
-criticized that introspection has failed
-importance of observation and behavior rather than introspection and thoughts
->influenced by evolutionary theory, natural selection
-little Albert
-said he could take any child and turn in in whoever he wants just by changing/controlling environment
-consciousness is an irrelevant concept -> important: study of actual, observable behavior


Watson and link to evolutionary theory

-behaviorism is a direct outgrowth go studies in animal behavior
-animal psychology was a product of evolutionary theory


Ideas behaviorists took from philosophers to further develop scientific psychology (3)

1) requirement of operational definitions
2) distinction between dependent and independent variables
3) science relies on verification


Operational definition

-definition of a variable in terms of how the variable has been measured
-> allows description of the variable in quantitative form
Example: weight expressed in Kg


Independent and dependent variables

-on basis of this distinction -> psy. Research could be defined as study of impact of a stimulus ( indep. V.) on the response (dep. V.)

-> behaviorism also became known as S-R-psychology


Need for verification

-statements were only useful if they could be verified by empirical observation
-ruled out religious and introspective statements


Skinner (1904-1990) - radical behaviorism

-Operant conditioning
-learning language = conditioning

Radical behaviorism:
-denies relevance of information processing in mind and holds that all human behavior can be understood on the basis of S-R associations
-lack of free will in humans


Tolman - purposive behaviorism -1930s, 40s

-behavior as goal-related (means to an end)
-animal psychology -> maze running rats appear to think before making some decisions
-goal-directedness can be studied in an objective way
-agreed with other behaviorists that psychology should be based on observable behavior
-tolman and hull same Generation
-> skinner later



Mathematical equations with operationally defined variables that allow detailed predictions of behavior in specified circumstances


View of behaviorists on psychology

-Psy has failed to become a natural science because mental states are object of study and introspection is only direct method of studying them
-P has been preoccupied with questions that are not open to experimentation

-> P is only an objective and experimental branch of natural science


Thorndikes relation to John B. Watson

-thorndikes work set basis for next major movement: behaviorists
-Watson built upon Thorndikes studies with animals on operant conditioning
-Watson: strong emphasis on impact of environmental influences on behavior
-Thorndike: differences in parental behavior of men and women were due to biological rather than cultural reasons


Cognitive revolution

-understanding: the mind = Brain
-> actually possible to study
-techniques to map mental processes
-lack of explanation for phenomena
-rise of computers/ artificial intelligence

-> changes view on cognitive psychology


George Boole

-British mathematician/logician
- wrote ‘laws of thought’
-Boolean logic
-> Binary system (and, or, not, true, fasle)


Claude Elwood Shannon

-mathematician -> came up with idea that information is quantifiable
-working with electrical circuits


John von Neumann

-developed the famous computer model
-wrote ‘the computer and the brain’