Behavioral approach: classical and operational conditioning
A classical behavioral approach is one of thethe main directions in psychology, the method of which is the observation and experimental study of the body's reactions to stimuli from the outside for further mathematical justification of the relationship between these variables. The development of behaviourism became a prerequisite for the formation of precise methods of research in psychology, the transition from speculative conclusions to mathematically substantiated. The article describes: the behaviorist approach to the study of the personality, the history of development of this direction and its significance in the modern life of society. The latter is illustrated by the use of behaviourist principles in the development of political science.
Behavioral approach in psychology
Behaviorism in psychology arose on the basis ofmethodology of the philosophy of positivism, which considers the goal of science the study of the directly observable. Hence, the subject of studying psychology should be the behavior of a person who exists realistically, and not a consciousness or subconscious that can not be observed.
The term "behaviorism" comes from Englishbehaviourand means "behavior." Thus, the goal of studying this trend in psychology is behavior - its prerequisites, the formation and the ability to manage it. Man's actions and reactions are units of study of behaviorism, and behavior itself is built on the well-known "stimulus-response" formula.
Behaviorist personality approach has becomea body of knowledge that is based on experimental studies of animal behavior. Adherents of this trend in psychology have created their own methodological basis, purpose, subject, methods of study, as well as ways of correcting behavior. Some theses of behaviorism became the basis for other sciences, whose goal is to study the actions of people. But especially great contribution was made in the theory and practice of teaching and raising children.
Representatives of behaviorism in psychology
A long history of development and improvementits scientific methods of research and therapy has a behaviourist approach. Representatives of it began with the study of elementary principles of behavior of animals and came to the system of practical application of this knowledge on man.
The founder of classical behaviorism D. Watson was an adherent of the opinion that only what can be observed is real. He attached importance to the study of four acts of human behavior:
- visible reactions;
- hidden reactions (thinking);
- hereditary, natural reactions (eg, yawning);
- hidden natural reactions (internal processes of vital activity of the organism).
He was convinced that the strength of the reaction depends on the strength of the stimulus, and proposed the formula S = R.
Watson's follower E. Thorndike developed the theory further and formulated such basic laws of human behavior:
- exercises - the relationship between conditions and reactions to them, depending on the number of playback;
- readiness - the conduct of nerve impulses depends on the availability of internal readiness for this individual;
- associative shift - if from the set of stimuli the individual reacts to one, then the remaining ones will subsequently cause a similar reaction;
- effect - if the action carries a pleasure, then this behavior will manifest itself more often.
Experimental confirmation of theoreticalThe foundations of this theory belong to the Russian scientist I. Pavlov. He experimentally proved that in animals it is possible to form conditioned reflexes, if at the same time to use certain stimuli. Many know his experiment with the formation in the dog of a conditioned reaction to light in the form of salivation without reinforcement in the form of food.
In the 1960s, the development of behaviourism expanded. If earlier it was considered as a set of separate responses to stimuli, then from this time begins the introduction of this scheme of other variables. Thus, E. Tolman, the author of cognitive behaviorism, called this intermediate mechanism a cognitive representation. In his experiments with mice, he showed that animals find a way out of the labyrinth on the way to the stern in various ways, following a route unknown before. Thus, he demonstrated that the goal for the animal is more important than the mechanisms for achieving it.
Principles of behaviorism in psychology
If we summarize the conclusions reached by representatives of classical behaviorism, several principles of this approach can be singled out:
- behavior is the individual's reaction to the stimuli of the external environment by which he adapts (the reaction can be both external and internal);
- a person is an experience acquired by a person in the process of life, a set of patterns of behavior;
- Human behavior forms a social environment, rather than internal processes.
These principles are the theses provisions of the classical approach, which were further developed and challenged by followers and critics.
Types of conditioning
Human development occurs through learning -mastering the experience of interaction with the outside world. This is both mechanical skills, and social development, and emotional. Based on this experience, the behavior of a person is formed. The behaviourist approach considers several types of learning, among which the most famous are operant and classical conditioning.
Operant provides for gradual assimilationa person of experience in which any of his actions entail a certain reaction. So, the child learns that if the toys are scattered, it can anger the parents.
The classical conditioning tells the individual aboutthat one event follows the following. For example, when you see the mother's breast, the child understands that the act will be followed by the taste of milk. This is the formation of an association, the elements of which have one incentive, followed by another.
Ratio of stimulus and reaction
Theoretically proposed by Watson and practicallyPavlov's idea that the stimulus is equal to the reaction to it (S-R) was directed from the disposal of psychology from the "unscientific" notions of the existence of a "spiritual, invisible" principle in man. Studies conducted on animals also extended to the psychic life of man.
But the development of this theory has changed and the scheme "stimulus"reaction." Thus, Thorndike noted that the expectation of reinforcement reinforces the relationship between the stimulus and reaction, on this basis, the person carries out the action if he expects a positive result or avoids the negative consequences (positive and negative reinforcement).
E. Tolman also considered this scheme simplistic and offered his: S - I - R, where between the stimulus and the reaction are the individual physiological characteristics of the individual, his personal experience, heredity.
Teaching from the point of view of behaviorism
Behaviorism became the basis for developmentbehavioral approach in psychology. Though often these directions are identified, but nevertheless there is a significant difference between them. Behavioral approach considers the personality as the result of learning, as a set of externally presented reactions, on the basis of which behavior is formed. Thus, in behaviorism only those actions that manifest themselves externally are meaningful. The behavioral approach is broader. It includes the principles of classical behaviorism, cognitive and personal approach, that is, internal actions of the organism (thoughts, feelings, roles) that are created by the personality and for which it is responsible are subject to investigation.
Behavioral approach has received manymodifications, among which the most common is the theory of social learning of A. Bandura and D. Rotter. Scientists have expanded understanding of human behavior. They believed that the actions of the individual are determined not only by external factors, but also by internal predisposition.
A. Bandura noted that readiness, faith, expectations - as internal determinants - interact with encouragement and punishment, external factors equally. He was also confident that a person is able to independently change his behavior under the influence of the attitude of the world around him. But the main thing is that a person can form a new plan of action by simply observing the behavior of other people even without their direct influence. According to the researcher, a person has a unique ability to self-regulate his behavior.
J. Rotter, developing this theory, proposed a system for predicting human behavior. According to the scientist, the personality will act on the basis of 4 conditions: the potential of the behavior (the degree of probability of the behavior for some stimulus), the expectations (the subject's assessment of the probability of reinforcement in response to his behavior), the value of reinforcement (assessing the personal significance of the response to the actions) and psychological situation (the external environment in which the action may occur). Thus, the potential for behavior depends on the aggregate of these three factors.
Hence social learning is the assimilation of skills and patterns of behavior in the social world, which is determined by both external factors and the internal predisposition of the individual.
Behavioral approach in political science
In place of the usual legal method inpolitical science, who studied legal and political institutions, in the 50's came the behaviorist. His appointment was to study the nature of political behavior of people as citizens and political groups. This method allowed to analyze qualitatively and quantitatively political processes.
Behavioral approach in political science is appliedTo study the behavior of the individual as part of the political system and motivating him to action incentives - motives, interests. Thanks to him, such concepts as "personality", "attitude", "beliefs", "public opinion", "behavior of the electorate" began to sound in political science.
- The emphasis must shift from political institutions to the behavior of the individual within the state's life.
- The main credo: political science should also study directly observed with the help of rigorous empirical methods.
- The dominant motive for participating in political activity is based on psychological orientation.
- The study of political life should strive to uncover the cause-effect relations existing in society.
Representatives of behaviorism in political science
The founders of the behaviourist approach to politicsare C. Merriam, G. Gosnell, G. Lasswell. They came to the conclusion that political science needs methods of "rational" control and social planning. Using Thurstone's idea of the connection between human behavior and his attitudes, scientists adapted it to political science and allowed to move from analyzing state institutions as the main object of research to analyzing power, political behavior, public opinion and elections.
Continuation of this idea found in the writings of P. Lazersfeld, B. Barrelson, A. Campbell, D. Stokes and others. They analyzed the process of elections in America, summarized the manifestations of people's behavior in a democratic society and came to several conclusions:
- The participation of the majority of citizens in elections is, rather, an exception than the rule;
- political interest depends on the level of education and income of a person;
- the average citizen, as a rule, is poorly informed about the political life of the society;
- The results of elections largely depend on group loyalty;
- Political science should develop for the benefit of real human problems in crisis periods.
Thus, the development of the behavioral method in political science produced a real revolution and became a prerequisite for the formation of applied science about the political life of society.