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Behaviourist Approach


Ryan Barnshaw

on 20 November 2012

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Transcript of Behaviourist Approach

The Behaviourist Perspective Assumptions The main assumption of this perspective is that all behaviour is learned and shaped by the environment
We learn via classical conditioning: the association between a conditioned stimulus and a conditioned response
We also learn via operant conditioning: the use of positive and negative reinforcement to shape behaviour
Finally, we also learn from Social Learning Theory: Observation of same-sex role model, imitation of such behaviour and finally pos/neg reinforcement would determine is the behaviour is repeated in the future. Example - Bandura et al. How aggresion is shaped by role models In order for psychology to be scientific it should focus on observable behaviour which can be objectively measured. This is instead of things like cognitive measures which can only be observed AS STUDY A2 STUDY Leyens et al. - Effects of movie violence on aggression. This relates to the approach as it shows that delinquent boys are more likely to be aggressive depending on the nurturing environment. It also supports the idea that our behaviour is mouldedd by our response to environmental stimuli. The aim was to measure the effects of viokent media on delinquents. The boys watched either an aggressive or neutral movie every evening for a week. Behaviour was recorded at 3 intervals (before, during and after the films were viewed). Behaviour was measured using a covert observation that involved time sampling twice a day. During ‘movie week’ the experimenters manipulated what films the boys watched – 2 dorms were shown aggressive films, the other 2 dorms were shown neutral films. RESULTS An immediate effect of the violent films was an overall increase of both active behaviours and physical aggression; the effects on verbal aggression were more persistent but limited to 1 of the 2 cottages of boys viewing aggressive films (those with a higher aggression baseline). In the cottage with lower base level of aggression that watched the neutral film an immediate consequences was a decreased its level of physical and verbal aggression. Those most influenced by the aggressive films were the boys who were most dominant, most popular, and least popular. CONCLUSIONS -Violent media has a negative influence on aggression and criminal behaviour. This study demonstrates that anti-social behaviour and criminal behaviour are learned.
This study supports the behaviourist perspective because it demonstrates how the media plays such an influential part in how we learn aggressive behaviour through Social Learning Theory via observation, imitation and reinforcement. Bandura et al This relates to the behaviorist perspective because it demonstrates that children learn the behaviour through observation and imitation of those around us. Also supports the assumption that environmental influences affects our behaviour. To see if children would learn aggressive behaviour from an adult role model. 76 Nursery children, matched according to existing levels of aggression and then separated into 8 groups according to their gender, gender of an adult role model and placed into either aggressive or non-aggressive condition. Children were placed in a room with an adult role model who either behaved aggressively or non-aggressively. RESULTS The researchers found that children exposed to an aggressive condition behaved more aggressively than children exposed to a non-aggressive condition. They also found that children imitated the same sex role model and that the boys were more physically aggressive whilst girls were more verbally aggressive CONCLUSION This study suggests that children learn aggressive behaviours through observation and imitation of other peoples behaviour.
This study supports this perspective because it demonstrates how same-sex role models influence the learning of behaviours such as aggression through observation, imitation and reinforcement (Social Learning Theory) PEC's A strength is that this approach is deterministic as it suggests that any behaviour is learned and results directly from our interaction with the environment so predicting a cause and effect. For example, Bandura's study on the imitation of aggressive behaviour demonstrates how children learn the such behaviour from role models by observation and imitation. This is useful because if behaviours are learned then they could be unlearned, which can lead to many practical applications as the perspective can offer a range of behavioural therapies designed to help people with mental or social disorders. Research used in the behaviourist perspective also relies on the use of highly controlled scientific experiments to find out the extent to which our learning from the environment affects our behaviour and experiences. In Leyen's study on "learning from others", boys were divided into 4 dorms who either viewed aggressive, non-aggressive or neutral movies every evening for a week. This means the research is likely to be reliable as it is easier to replicate due to using standardised procedures to consistently show that factors such as the external world could be the cause of behaviour. A weakness of the behaviourist perspective is that it is reductionist as it assumes that all of our behaviour is learned through our interaction with the environment ignoring the influence of nature. For example, Bandura's study claims that all aggressive behaviours are learned/imitated, however it does not account for natural levels of aggression which is part of an individual's personality. This means the perspective ignores dispositional factors by focusing on the situation which reduces the overall validity of the perspective as understanding of behaviour is limited Another problem with this perspective is that there can be ethical issues with some of the research as studying peoples socially undesirable behaviours means that participants could be exposed to negative influences which could cause them psychological harm. In Leyen's study on how children learn violent behaviour, they were subjected to watching aggressive movies every evening for a whole week. This is a problem as it could lead to damaging the reputation of Psychology and can deter participants from volunteering for future research, jeopardising the recruitment of future samples in Psychology.
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