What the approach is all about.
Behaviourism refers to a psychological approach which emphasizes scientific and objective methods of investigation. The approach is only concerned with observable stimulus-response behaviours, and states all behaviours are learned through interaction with the environment.
Behaviourism emphasizes the role of environmental factors in influencing behaviour, to the near exclusion of innate or inherited factors. This amounts essentially to a focus on learning. We learn new behaviour through classical or operant conditioning (collectively known as 'learning theory').Therefore, when born our mind is 'tabula rasa' (a blank slate).
Classical conditioning theory involves learning a new behaviour via the process of association. In simple terms two stimuli are linked together to produce a new learned response in a person or animal. John Watson proposed that the process of classical conditioning (based on Pavlov’s observations) was able to explain all aspects of human psychology. Everything from speech to emotional responses was simply patterns of stimulus and response. Watson denied completely the existence of the mind or consciousness. Watson believed that all individual differences in behaviour were due to different experiences of learning. He famously said: "Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I'll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select - doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and the race of his ancestors”.
Stage 1: Before Conditioning:
In this stage, the unconditioned stimulus (UCS) produces an unconditioned response (UCR) in an organism. This means that a stimulus in the environment has produced a behaviour / response which is unlearned (i.e., unconditioned) and therefore is a natural response which has not been taught. In this respect, no new behaviour has been learned yet. For example, a stomach virus (UCS) would produce a response of nausea (UCR). In another example, a perfume (UCS) could create a response of happiness or desire (UCR).This stage also involves another stimulus which has no effect on a person and is called the neutral stimulus (NS). The NS could be a person, object, place, etc. The neutral stimulus in classical conditioning does not produce a response until it is paired with the unconditioned stimulus.
Stage 2: During Conditioning:
During this stage a stimulus which produces no response (i.e., neutral) is associated with the unconditioned stimulus at which point it now becomes known as the conditioned stimulus (CS). For example, a stomach virus (UCS) might be associated with eating a certain food such as chocolate (CS). Also, perfume (UCS) might be associated with a specific person (CS)....