Behaviorism thesis statement

Far from this, the behaviorism perspective is ineffective in explaining how human learn some behaviors such as language. Behaviorism does not enhance language development. Some aspects such as language learning are interplay of social, psychological and biological transformation and thus cannot be enhanced by rewards or punishment. Behaviorism perspective of rewards and punishment is only applicable in molding behavioral aspects that are ‘external’ such as social relations, bowel control among others (Watson, 1913). However, some behaviors such as sex or language learning arise from interplay of biological, psychological and social influencers.

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Skinner's self-described "radical behaviorist" approach is radical in its insistence on extending behaviorist strictures against inward experiential processes to include inner physiological ones as well. The scientific nub of the approach is a concept of operant conditioning indebted to Thorndike's "Law of Effect." Operants (., bar-presses or key-pecks) are units of behavior an organism (., a rat or pigeon) occasionally emits "spontaneously" prior to conditioning. In operant conditioning, operants followed by reinforcement (., food or water) increase in frequency and come under control of discriminative stimuli (., lights or tones) preceding the response. By increasingly judicious reinforcement of increasingly close approximations, complex behavioral sequences are shaped. On Skinner's view, high-level human behavior, such as speech, is the end result of such shaping. Prolonged absence of reinforcement leads to extinction of the response. Many original and important Skinnerian findings -- ., that constantly reinforced responses extinguish more rapidly than intermittently reinforced responses -- concern the effects of differing schedules of reinforcement. Skinner notes the similarity of operant behavioral conditioning to natural evolutionary selection: in each case apparently forward-looking or goal-directed developments are explained (away) by a preceding course of environmental "selection" among randomly varying evolutionary traits or, in the psychological case, behavioral tricks. The purposiveness which Tolman's molar behavioral description assumes, radical behaviorism thus claims to explain. Likewise, Skinner questions the explanatory utility of would-be characterizations of inner processes (such as Hull's): such processes, being behavior themselves (though inner), are more in need of explanation themselves, Skinner holds, than they are fit to explain outward behavior. By "dismissing mental states and processes," Skinner maintains, radical behaviorism "directs attention to the ... history of the individual and to the current environment where the real causes of behavior are to be found" (Skinner 1987: 75). On this view, "if the proper attention is paid to the variables controlling behavior and an appropriate behavioral unit is chosen, orderliness appears directly in the behavior and the postulated theoretical processes become superfluous" (Zuriff: 88). Thus understood, Skinner's complaint about inner processes "is not that they do not exist, but that they are not relevant" (Skinner 1953) to the prediction, control, and experimental analysis of behavior.

Behaviorism thesis statement

behaviorism thesis statement


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