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1. The behaviourist school of psychology 1.1.

The development of behaviourism

In the beginning of the 20th century: Alliance between functionalists and comparative/animal psychologists leads to the behavioural revolution. 1913: John B. Watson published his behavioural manifesto > Classical S-R Behaviourism Classical S-R Behaviourism emphasized that: 1) psychology should be empirical, 2) psychology should be objective, 3) psychologists should be able to agree on important analytical terms and concepts. Classical S-R behaviourism argued that: 1) the subject matter of psychology should be publicly observable behaviour, rather than mental, subjective or conscious experience; 2) Psychology can only deal with what exists; the index of whether something exists is whether it is publicly observable; that means that it must be measurable, countable, or recordable on dials, pointers, or meters; 3) Psychology should employ such methods as observation, experimentation, and conditioning, rather than introspection S-R-Model: Classical behaviourism sought to explain behavioural events in terms of a publicly observable antecedent stimulus (S) that causes a publicly observable response (R) Goal of classical behaviourism: The prediction and control of publicly observable behaviour The initial influence of behaviourism on psychology was to minimize the introspective study of the mental processes, emotions, and feelings. Instead of this it supposed the study of the objective behaviour of individuals in relation to their environment by means of experimental methods. 1.2. The Work of John Broadus Watson Watson was born in Greenville, South Carolina, in 1878. He died in 1958. Most important works: Animal Education (1903), Behavior (1914), Behaviorism (1925; revised ed., 1930), Psychological Care of Infant and Child (1928) Watson was greatly influenced by the work of Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936) on conditioned reflexes. Watson adapted Pavlov's reflexological terminology to human behaviour. Watson proposed to make the study of psychology scientific by using only objective procedures such as laboratory experiments designed to establish statistically significant results. 1920: Watsons most famous conditioning experiment; the Little Albert study in which he produced, in a small child, the conditioned fear of a white rabbit by repeatedly pairing it with the loud clang of a metal bar. This conditioned fear was then shown to generalize to other white furry objects, including a Santa mask and Watson's own white hair.

Watson formulated a stimulus-response theory of psychology: All complex forms of behaviour are seen as composed of simple muscular and glandular elements that can be observed and measured. Emotional reactions are learned in much the same way as other skills. Between 1920 and mid-century, behaviourism dominated psychology in the United States and also had wide international influence. Watsons point of view was also strongly criticised. Arguments against his theory were that it: ignores consciousness, feelings, and states of mind, that it does not attempt to account for cognitive processes, has no place for intention or purpose, assigns no role to a self or sense of self and regards abstract ideas such as morality or justice as fictions. 1.3. The Work of Burrhus Frederic Skinner The American psychologist Burrhus Frederic Skinner was born in 1904 in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. He died in 1990. Most important works: Behavior of Organisms: An Experimental Analysis (1938), Walden Two (1948), The Technology of Teaching (1968), Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971), About Behaviorism (1974), Particulars of My Life (1976), Society (1978) Skinner's position is known as radical or basic behaviourism. In contrast to Watson, Skinner maintains that inner processes, such as feelings, should be studied by the usual scientific methods, with particular emphasis on controlled experiments using individual animals and humans. His research with animals, focusing on the kind of learning that occurs as a consequence of stimuli known as operant conditioning , demonstrates that complex behaviour such as language and problem solving can be studied scientifically. He postulated a type of psychological conditioning known as reinforcement. Skinner originated the so-called programmed instruction, a teaching technique in which the student is presented a series of ordered, discrete bits of information, each of which he or she must understand before proceeding to the next stage in the series (today still important, for instance, in CBT -computer based training- Software) Skinner learned through experimentation that behaviour can be conditioned by using both positive and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement conditions an animal or a human being by rewarding small acts of behaviour. After a reward, the same act has to be performed without a reward to get to the next step where another reward is possible. Negative reinforcement conditions an animal or a human being by punishing certain acts of behaviour. Conclusion: Skinners research on operant conditioning led him to conclude that simply rewarding small acts can condition complex forms of behaviour. 2.Leonard Bloomfield: The relation between behaviourism and linguistics 2.1. Leonard Bloomfield: Life and work Leonard Bloomfield was born in Chicago in 1887 and died in 1949. 1914: First major publication titled An Introduction to the Study of Language Bloomfield grounded his work, especially his approach to meaning, in the principles of behaviourism.

Bloomfields major work, Language, was published in 1933 and won quasi-biblical status as an elementary text for establishing linguistics as an autonomous field. Bloomfields approach and thinking dominated the development of linguistics, especially in America, for upwards of the next 20 years. Due to Bloomfields use of various techniques in the identification and classification of elements of sentence structures his approach was later called structuralist. 2.2. Bloomfields behaviourism Objective events are behaviours > Only behaviour is publicly observable > Only behaviour has scientific existence. Bloomfield was convinced that human behaviour in general, including linguistic behaviour, was the result of repeated experiences of stimulus co-occurrences. Bloomfields theory about the speech situation: Famous example of Jack and Jill walking down a lane: Jake and Jill are walking down a lane when Jill realizes that she is hungry. Having seen an apple in a tree she produces special sounds using her larynx, tongue and lips. Then Jack climbs the tree to get the apple and gives it to Jill who finally eats it. The incident consists of three parts, in order of time: A. Practical events preceding the act of speech. (speakers stimulus) B. Speech. C. Practical events following the act of speech. (hearers response) Mechanism: Instead of trying to get the apple by herself, i.e. performing the practical reaction R as a consequence of her stimulus S, Jill performed the speech reaction as a substitute reaction. Bloomfield symbolizes this so-called linguistic substitute reaction by a small letter r. The symbolic expression then is the following one: S >>>------> r. Hearing this linguistic substitute reaction of Jill, Jack fetched the apple and gave it to Jill. The hearing acted as a speech stimulus on Jack. Therefore the linguist calls this kind of stimulus linguistic substitute stimulus and symbolizes it by a small letter s: s >>>------> R. Reaction mediated by speech: S >>>-----> r .. s >>>------> R. That means: A practical stimulus received by one person leads to a linguistic substitute reaction. This linguistic substitute reaction is the linguistic substitute stimulus for another person who reacts to this kind of stimulus with a practical reaction. Bloomfields conclusion: "Language enables one person to make a reaction (R) when another person has the stimulus (S). The division of labor, and, with it, the whole working of human society, is due to language." 2.3. Bloomfields concept of meaning Bloomfields concept of meaning: We say that speech-utterance, trivial and unimportant in itself, is important because it has a meaning: the meaning consists of the important things with which the speech utterance (B) is connected, namely the practical events (A and C).

Bloomfield finally can not explain the mechanisms that occur between the different stimuli and reactions, i.e. it is not possible to foretell how a person will react to a certain stimulus. Two theories that suppose different solutions to this problem: 1) The mentalistic theory: It supposes that the variability of human conduct is due to the interference of some non-physical factor, a spirit or will or mind that is present in every human being. The reason why we cannot foretell a persons actions is that this mind or will does not follow cause-and-effect sequences of the material world. 2) The materialistic (or, better, mechanistic) theory: It supposes that the variability of human conduct, including speech, is due only to the fact that the human body is a very complex system. This theory argues that human actions are part of cause-and-effect sequences in the same way as actions studied in physics or chemistry. However, due to the complexity of the human body and especially of its nervous system one cannot foretell human actions either. Bloomfield: Human knowledge in his time was too small to understand this complexity. Bloomfields behaviourism was never really believed in by the linguistic world at large. Criticism: Mere habit formation can not be the basis of, for instance, language acquisition: What is needed for the proper use of a language system is a dynamic mastery of the rules and principles of the language system in terms of input and output, an ability to apply rules that form part of a complex machinery. This mastery of the rules is often called knowledge or competence. 3. The criticism on behaviourism and the further development of linguistics Although the behaviourist school of psychology was important for the development of Bloomfields approach to linguistics, he did not do any actual research in the psychology of language as a field of study. Hickey explains Bloomfields behavioural concept as follows: "Bloomfield is concerned with making linguistics scientifically acceptable and while allowing that the behaviourist method is not perhaps ideal, it is nonetheless the only one which is consistent with scientific method." The importance of Bloomfield as a major figure in American structuralism is due to his actual descriptive work, and above all the design of a general technical, terminological and notional frame for such work. That means that because of the behaviouristic viewpoint arguing that meanings can not be analysed Bloomfield concentrated on the analysis of forms and this was extremely helpful for the development of linguistics theory. Which theoretical background is accepted today by the linguists? It is the theory of a physically implemented computing machinery, inaccessible to awareness, capable of generating an indefinitely large set of strings of symbols according to well-defined finite procedures. However, this computer metaphor is not so different compared to behaviourism. Instead of a stimulus association theory we now work with a computational theory, but the definition of the primary data and the causal question have remained unchanged. The work of Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936): In his most famous experiment, Pavlov was able to cause dogs to salivate at the sound of a tone by first pairing the sound with the presentation of food. After several repetitions of this

procedure, the dog salivated to the sound of the tone alone. This phenomenon is known as a conditioned reflex. Pavlov was also able to show that the response generalizes to tones of different pitch that have never previously been paired with the food.

Skinners theory of operant conditioning:

Positive Reinforcement Positive reinforcement conditions the mouse to find the end of the maze in the illustration shown above. A. The mouse is rewarded with food when it reaches the first turn in the maze. B. Once the first kind of behaviour becomes ingrained, the mouse is not rewarded until it makes the second turn. C. After many times through the maze, the mouse must reach the end of the maze to receive its reward.