A Conversation for Behaviouristic Theory

this is not behaviorism

Post 1


what you have been discussing here is not behaviorism. it's operant conditioning. whereas operant conditioning has been extensively used as a tool for studying behavior by behaviorists, operant conditioning is not a theory and it is certainly not something on which behaviorism is based.

behaviorism is based on

- the functional analysis of behavior
- the notion that the environment, behavior, and physiological processes are at different abstract level and that explanations of behavior should not be at the same level of abstraction as behavior
- the idea that everything humans do, including speaking, thinking and feeling, are behaviors and should be regarded and studied as behaviors

it's a long way from here to operant conditioning, which is an empirical find, not a theoretcial one.

this is not behaviorism

Post 2


Thanks for the clarification, roffe. I'd also like to point out that the original post incorrectly stated that Pavlov was one of the founders of "behaviorism" (i.e., operant conditioning). Pavlov founded the study of predictive associations between stimuli (e.g., tone and food) and not how reinforcement affects responses that produce or omit that reinforcement (i.e., operant conditioning). Thornkike, however, was one of the earliest proponents of operant conditioning, with his Law of Effect, which states in essence that: the behaviors that are followed by a satisfying outcome (i.e., reinforcement) will increase in probability, while behaviors that are followed by an unsatisfying outcome (i.e., no reinforcement) will decrease in probability. He further recognized that these increases and decreases in the probabilty of behaviors occurs in the context in which the behaviors are meaninful. Example, the probability that a child will yell loudly in church will decrease because of the "hushes" and reprimands he/she will receive, but the probability that a child will yell loudly at a baseball game will increase because his/her peers will encourage it.

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this is not behaviorism

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