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Behaviorist vs Cognitive

Behaviorist vs Cognitive

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Published by: Zainab09 on Jan 25, 2010
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haviorist VS Cognitive
Learning is the “relatively permanent change in behavior”
(Burns, R., 2002)
andcan come in the form of observable activities and internal processes.Explanations of what happens when these actions occur are known as learningtheories. These theories include behaviorist, cognitivist, humanist, social learningand constructivist. In this essay behaviorist and cognitivists will be described,compared and contrasted in order to truly understand their approaches.
The behaviorist approach attempts to study learning and behavior within ascientific tradition and was developed by John B. Watson in the early 20
century. Three assumptions set out its notions: The focus of study is generallyobservable behavior, the environment shapes behavior, and the principles of contiguity and reinforcement are essential in explaining the learning process
(Grippin, P., & Peters, S., 1984).
Behaviorists maintain the assumption that we see and experience the worldexactly as it presents itself physically, for everyone. This therefore leads to thenotion that everything functions according to natural laws, and any changeoccurring is due to a cause and effect. Hence, this theory focuses on howenvironmental stimuli elicit behavior and responses.
Gestalt’s views of Bode, Wertheimer, Kohler, Koffka and Lewin later criticised thebehaviorist theory in 1929, through publications. These psychologists proposed“looking at the whole rarther than its parts, and at patterns instead of isolatedevents”
(Ormrod, J. E., 1995)
Soon termed as the cognitive approach, it showed that such learners wouldgather all resources necessary to solve a problem, and then put them together indifferent methods until the problem is solved. Insight is gained upon completion,whereas it isn’t apparent if the problem remains unsolved. Finally, evaluation isadopted in order to check correct processing methods. Therefore, the individualis accounting for organized wholes, and not disconnected parts of the individualstimuli under this theory.
There are different assumptions in the learning and understanding process for both the behaviorist and cognitive theories. Under behaviorism, one acts onstimulation, whereas in cognitive they act on consideration.Through stimulations, behaviorists are subjected to respond to stimuli throughour environment and experiences, and the actions and reactions are automatic. Itcould be noted that inference and reflection are used to make decisions, butthese people are actually predetermined to answer in certain ways. The originalidea of free will is imaginary (
Buchanan, K 1997).
A single action may be theconsequence of an individual's childhood or even their formal education,amongst other things.In order to educate students, a behaviorist’s role is to perceive a high responseto stimuli. For example, a teacher’s may use reward systems when a studentanswers a question correctly. If the correct response is constant, therefore theteacher's initial methods of instruction are quite effective. If students do notconstantly respond correctly, then the methods may need variation and change.Hence, students are able to learn by building upon stimulus-response affiliations,both for content, skills and abilities.Behaviorists evaluate effectiveness of a teaching procedure through observablebehavior 
(Phillips, D. C., & Soltis, J. R., 1985).
A behaviorist wouldn't be content if their students only declared to know the right answer. Behaviorists base their 
interpretations and rationale on objective observations. Observable behavior isthe measure for behaviorist theory and methods. This then leads to theunderstanding that a behaviorist doesn't attempt to interpret or forecast theinvisible workings of the mind, beyond what an objective measure would be ableto distinguish.The factors underpinning behaviorist orientation can defiantly be applied toworkplace training and development. The most notable system in place in manyof today’s organizations would be the use of reward systems for highachievements of labour. An employee may receive commission or pay rises inthe event of high productivity, or possibly their long existing loyalty to thecompany and reliability to management.The cognitive theory encounters the intricacy of the mind in contrast to this
(Greeno, J., Collins, A. M., & Resnick, 1996).
Individual humans are observed aspeople who make considerations, with their own free will. Cognitivists act andrespond using judgment and reflection, and are dependant on complicatedmental models of concepts (to differing degrees).Teaching through this theory would take the role of aiding students in developingtheir cognitive capability to store, connect, and recollect thoughts efficiently andeffectively
(Skinner, B. F., 1978).
As an example, a teacher would directly use avisulisation to increase one’s retention and recall rates. Such methods can alsobe utilised in the workplace, in training and development. A common example of this would be the visual stimulus of signs posted around workplaces remindingworkers of their duties and tasks, as well as safety procedures that are currentlyin place (ie- Occupational Health and Safety).It can be observed that cognitivists are being dependent on mental models, asthey cannot objectively distinguish them. Cognitive psychologists substitute thisby trying to describe logical stories about mental activity, based on what can beseen. In comparison to behaviorism, this perspective further explains synthesis

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