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The Perspectives of Watson, Skinner and Tolman Latonia Wells Psy 310 March 5, 2012 Lillian Fillpot
SKINNER AND TOLMAN 2 The Perspectives of Watson. Watson. Tolman were among the many psychologists that changed and improved the theories and practices of American Behaviorism through the ages (Goodwin. He received is doctorial degree in 1903 and later worked as a professor at John Hopkins University Behaviorism was introduced in 1913 by Watson as a dominant force in American psychology for decades. Watson insisted that behavior was a physiological reaction to environmental stimuli and he rejected the exploration of mental processes as being unscientific (2008). Behaviorist principles are widely used in mental health settings by therapists and counselors who utilize techniques to treat mental illnesses. He saw psychology as the study of actions and the ability to control these actions and this thought became the theory of behaviorism. Behaviorism is based on the premise that all organisms have behaviors that involve acting. Skinner and Tolman Behaviorism is one of the strongest forms of psychology that evolved during the 19th century. thinking and feeling. which derived from the philosophical aspect of psychology. Behaviorism is studied by Behaviorist who are concerned with how and why behaviors are learned and reinforced.THE PERSPECTIVES OF WATSON. Watson‟s view on Behaviorism was . South Carolina. Skinner. This paper will examine and compare and contrast the theories of the three men and describe how each of them relates to the field of psychology in modern times. John B. and Edward C. 2008). born in 1878 in Greenville. Behaviorism is a learning-perspective. John B. This school of thought emerged as an American phenomenon that has emphasized the importance of learning through perseverance. Watson John B Watson was an American psychologist. B.F. There are specific concepts and methods that are used in when studying behaviorism. Watson began his own theories about behavior after omitting the idea of introspection and consciousness.
Watson was interested in animal behaviors and began to shape his beliefs about psychology in general through studying them. Watson was interested in how the principle of classical conditioning could be applied to humans. He believed that emotion was a reaction to one‟s surroundings and for this reason he wanted to use human subjects for his research. In today‟s society his research would be viewed as an extremely controversial psychological experiment. Watson would use . In this experiment Watson used an eleven month old boy in which the study would be named after. conditioned emotional responses. out of concern that he would be harmed. SKINNER AND TOLMAN 3 considered extreme or radical because of the radical reduction and extreme anti mentalisms. He used the scientific method in which he conducted research by observing and measuring behaviors. There were also ethical issues about the research being conducted with the baby. Watson's best-known and most controversial contribution the behaviorism was the “Little Albert" experiment. Little Albert was given a mouse to play with and then. in this experiment Watson wanted to research the three basic emotions of children and how he developed a technique to condition the subject and control his emotions. In his research Watson applied the theory used by Ivan Pavlov to animals and human subjects to investigate reflexes.THE PERSPECTIVES OF WATSON. Watson made some claims about behaviorisms ability to improve the quality of life by the use of conditioning. In the Little Albert Watson experiment classical conditioning was used to prove that emotion was a reaction to environment. In his study Watson conditioned the baby to be afraid of objects with fur. and basic emotional responses. Watson ensured that the child would not be harmed and his mother was compensated for allowing him to participate in the study. Watson believed that stimuli and responses were responsible for how behaviors are learned and that psychology should not focus on consciousness and mental processes but instead focus on behavior and its cause.
F. that determined the probability of the behavior being reproduced. B. F. B. His particular type of behaviorism would be known as Radical Behaviorism. and this is how he formed his theory around operant conditioning. He felt that verbal behaviors consisted of responses related to identifiable stimuli and the responses were the direct result of operant conditioning. Skinner was born in the small town of Susquehanna.para 3). F. as opposed to what preceded the behavior. he was an American Psychologist that developed a distinctive approach to understanding human and animal learning and behavior called operant reinforcement/conditioning. the reinforcement) was central. Skinner created his own school of thought that sought out to understand behaviorism and its application to natural selection. whether positive or negative. B. Skinner„s main focus was to study theories of operant conditioning in which repeated behaviors are directly dependent on the positive or negative consequences of behaviors regardless to the way they are stimulated (Goodwin. in March 1904. Pennsylvania. what followed the behavior (that is. “Skinner‟s central insight was that in shaping behavior. This experiment of classical conditioning would soon become a major influence on child rearing. after attaining his Ph. Skinner's theory suggests that behaviors are a result of the environment. In Skinner's approach. as had been claimed by Pavlov and Watson”(2005. SKINNER AND TOLMAN 4 loud noises to instill fear in the child which he soon associated with the rat.THE PERSPECTIVES OF WATSON.D..F. 2008). that the behavior exhibited causes and effects. Skinner was a pioneer in the field of Operant conditioning he believed that behaviors were the result of rewards and punishments. Skinner made claims of explaining human language using operant conditioning. . he rejected the formal theory used in learning and psychology. Skinner B. In 1931. His theory uses the schedule of reinforcement to show how behaviors that are frequently rewarded occur less.
they act on beliefs. They were internal processes which consisted of the goal of the . and discrimination where in reference to the control of a stimulus.THE PERSPECTIVES OF WATSON. Tolman was born in 1886 into an upper-middle class environment in a suburb of Boston. and purpose (2006). He was considered a cognitive behaviorist who developed his own form of behaviorism during the time the field was being dominating by Watson. generalization. inference. record and measure behaviors by operant conditioning. He formulated a behavioristic learning theory that would be called the Sign-Gestalt and expectancy theory . The Skinner Box Is a laboratory apparatus in which the animal is caged and used for experiments in operant conditioning. he felt that animals possessed a special learning ability in where they could learn behaviors that would be used at a later time. Edward C. Skinner developed a chamber which he called the Skinner Box. However . Inside the box was a lever that is pressed by the animal to gain reward or avoid punishment. He focused on studying mental processes that were involved in Behaviorism. Tolman Edward C. The box provided a controlled environment where the behavior of the rats could be carefully monitored with only a few variables at a time (2005). changing conditions. planning. thinking. SKINNER AND TOLMAN 5 Skinner‟s contributed to modern day psychology as are viewed as the building blocks for behavioral analysis. The main focus of Tolman‟s theory was his concern with concepts of knowledge. By using this box Skinner was able to show how conditioning phenomena‟s such as extinction. Tolman believed that individuals do more than merely respond to stimuli. Tolman‟s Sign Gestalt Theory. and they strive toward goals. intention.that emphasized the cognitive nature of learning (2006). This chamber is used as a controlled environment to study. He was an American psychologist who made significant contributions to studying learning and motivation. suggested that the three parts of learning worked together to form a gestalt. attitudes.
was applied to challenge rats in a maze. His theory of Latent Learning.THE PERSPECTIVES OF WATSON. He conducted this study to determine if the animals had the ability to learn their environment. and recall information. These maps are considered mental models of processing and cognition and are composed of psychological functions by which an individual can acquire code. the signal for action. The is a process in which people can process their environments and use problems solving and memory to store special knowledge. The rats traveled through paths and eventually they memorized the maze. In Tolman‟s theory he believed that learning could occur without a reinforcer or rewards and it could take place in other environments and is not the result of an automatic response. Tolman‟s a cognitive map concept is extensively used in various psychological applications. Tolman coined in 1948 in a paper that he published in The Psychological Review. SKINNER AND TOLMAN 6 behavior. Conclusion . Tolman‟s greatest contribution to modern psychology was creating the theory of cognitive learning that is used to solve human problems. In this experiment he built a maze that would offer a reward of food if they could make it to the end of the maze. decode. Edward Tolman used his behavioral methods to understand the mental process of animals as well as humans. store. Cognitive mapping is a process. Many psychotherapists today use cognitive mapping in their practices to aid their patients with figuring out how to change their situations re route themselves from the path of self-destructive behavior. The theoretical model of cognitive mapping describes the three variables which has an influence human on behavior. he believed behavior were learned by configuring these sign gestalts into cognitive maps. and the means-end relations. After internalizing the maze the rats would move through the maze with no problems until they reached their goal.
B. SKINNER AND TOLMAN 7 Behaviorism has been. 2003). Unlike. F. They were all behaviorist with different views in the details of the subject. Tolman believed that behaviorism was instead a response to stimuli. Watson‟s believed that the environment was direct influence in responses. because he disliked his view behaviorism perspectives and believed that learning could be achieved without the use of rewards. Skinner was a radical behaviorist who had different thoughts he believed everything was related to behavior including emotions. Watson believed that there was no need for the use of references as related to mental states. He felt that emotions were a result of other stimuli and not emotions. The ideas of all three men . He believed reoccurring behaviors were based on the consequences received at the time the behavior was presented. He was opposed to the school of thought as it was defined by Watson.THE PERSPECTIVES OF WATSON. and emphasized observable behavior as opposed to the theorizing (Mclntyre. and what is learned from stimuli as related to our environment. All three of these men believed that behavior was the underlying force of why people function in the manner they do. and will continue to be a significant psychological force in American psychology. due to its cognitive nature. Watson's felt that psychology should be used to directly study behaviors and his theories are still practiced in modern psychology. Watson and Skinner had the same outlook on behaviors. Skinner and Watson. but there were differences. The thought Behaviorism has developed vastly because of the different perspectives of the psychologists and researches involved. Skinner's theory is prevalent still a practiced psychology. Skinner's theory differed from Watson in that he believed behavior was a result of consequence. "He rejected ideas that there were inner causes for behavior. but is utilized more in animal training and behavioral studies. Tolman‟s theories still have value because he was firm in his methodology. They were all concerned with similar issues of Behaviorism but differed in the details.
apollolibrary. Psychological theories are always changing but the contributions of these men remain a staple in the value of the study of modern psychology. References behaviorism.com. (2008).THE PERSPECTIVES OF WATSON.com/entry/columency/behaviorism . Retrieved from http://www.ezproxy. SKINNER AND TOLMAN 8 contributed to the study of behaviors and the process that are used to help modify or condition these behaviors. In The Columbia Encyclopedia.credoreference.
SKINNER AND TOLMAN 9 B.J. F.behavioradvisor.com/entry/mwmedicaldesk/skinner _box TOLMAN'S THEORY.credoreference.THE PERSPECTIVES OF WATSON. Retrieved from http://www. Revised Edition.com.html Skinner box.com/entry/estpsyctheory/tolman_s _theory . Mclntyre.apollolibrary. In Key Thinkers in Linguistics and the Philosophy of Language. 2012 fromhttp://www. (2003). A History of Modern Psychology (3rd ed. (2005). (2005). (2006). In Elsevier's Dictionary of Psychological Theories.credoreference. C. T.ezproxy. NJ: Wiley.com.apollolibrary. In Merriam-Webster's Medical Desk Dictionary. Retrieved on March 2.com/BehavoristHistory.ezproxy.ezproxy. Hoboken. The History of Behaviorism.apollolibrary.com/entry/edinburghthinkl/b_f_ski nner Goodwin.). SKINNER. (2008).com. Retrieved from http://www. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.