Behaviorism proclaims that human's behavior depends on the environment. It happens as follows: an incentive generates a certain reaction. The reaction to behaviorism means human actions; the stimulus – means a stimulus coming from the external world. The main idea of the research is that according to behaviorism, all behaviors are the result of external activity and I am going to consider this issue.
Behaviorism is one of the main directions of modern academic psychology. Behaviorists studied psyche of humans and animals through their behavior. The behaviorists propose to consider the psyche based on objective facts and came to the conclusion that a person's behavior can be investigated, it can be objectively measured, in contrast to the feelings, thinking, memory and perception because people can never be accurate in the study of these processes, as any analysis is based on self-observation, which means that a researcher cannot be objective. In other words, behaviorism is the science that considers behavior, reflexes and reactions.
In 1913, John B. Watson published his work “Psychology from the Standpoint of a Behaviorist” in Psychological Review. According to this paper, the psychology should rid itself of introspective studies of mental events that were not directly observable – imagery, memory, consciousness, et al. – and study behavior. The author suggested that “psychology is the science of behavior” and proclaimed that the terms consciousness, mental states, mind, content, introspectively verifiable, imagery and the like” will not be used according to this approach. In other words, psychology is considered to be a science of behavior, and its goals include the prediction and control of behavior. When behaviorism’s ideas were developed, they didn’t contradict the logical positivism. Later the animal learning laboratory became the hotbed of study. It should be noted that Edgar Chace Tolman significantly contributed to the methodology of behaviorism and most his concepts such as latent learning and cognitive maps still exist in the literature. Pavlov was a famous representative of behaviorism, and Clark Hull published his Psychological Review papers. In 1938, B. F. Skinner’s work The Behavior of Organisms became the most famous behaviorist position (Roediger, 2004). It is widely believed that experiments of Russian scientist Pavlov served as the basis for the behaviorism. He proved the relationship between stimulus and response. For example, the gastric juice is secreted if a dog gets food. Despite the idea that the origin of this science is also associated with American researchers such as Thorndike and J. Watson, only Skinner finally contributed to the behaviorism. According to him, a man looks like a "black box", and it is almost impossible to research his inner content.
According to behaviorists, scientists should stop studying the inner motivation of behavior and concentrate their efforts on the study of external factors. According to Skinner, the behavior and hence, the very "black box" device can be explained through the link between the observed stimulus and its effects – that is a mental reaction to this stimulus. The researchers proposed the following scheme: Stimulus => Reaction that is an elementary unit of behavior. The behaviorists set two main objectives for themselves: to predict the reaction of the person based on incentive; and to learn to determine how the reaction was caused by a stimulus observing.
The main problem was that different people can differently react to the same stimulus and the same reaction of two different persons may also be caused by two different stimuli. This trend was considered by the American scientific psychology and provided a great influence on psychotherapy. There is so-called behavioral therapy, which teaches a person to change the reaction to any stimuli or situations that cause neurotic reactions. There are two types of behavioral conditioning. Classical conditioning technique means that a naturally occurring stimulus is paired with a response. A previously neutral stimulus is paired with the naturally occurring stimulus and the previously neutral stimulus comes to evoke the response without a naturally occurring stimulus. These elements are known as the conditioned stimulus and the conditioned response. From the other point of view, operant conditioning is a method that occurs through reinforcements and punishments for behavior. In other words, there appears a strict association between a behavior and its consequence. If a person reaches a desirable result, the behavior is likely to occur in the future and behavior that caused negative outcomes will unlikely happen again (Cherry, 2015). This idea suggested that the environment forms the personality.
There are some characteristics of behaviorism. They are as follows: causes of behavior lie outside people, the difference between mental processes and observable behavior as unproductive thing, the study of mankind should be restricted, the causes of human behavior are simple, a person is observer of his and others behaviors, and behavioral analysis should be provided before attempts to change the behavior. It is widely believed that behaviorist researchers follow limited principles and ideas (Welko, 1993). Unfortunately, this scheme does not consider such important factors as the nature of man, his memory, experience, feelings, desires, and his state of health. Behaviorism also completely disregards the personality, it fails to understand that the study of any action is impossible without reference to a particular person; it fails to understand that different individuals may experience several reactions in the same conditions and fails to take into account that people and animals are able to adapt their behavior when they get a new information. According to above-mentioned information, behaviorism provides a one-dimensional approach.
An annotated bibliography
Cherry, K. (2015). What Is Behaviorism?. About health. Retrieved from
Everything comes from the idea that Kendra Cherry is a psychology expert and she has a great practice in this field. She wrote a work, in which she considered all basic information about behaviorism. The author proclaimed a main idea «strict behaviorists believed that all behaviors were the result of conditioning» that is the basis for the current research. She considered the basics of this science, types of behavioral conditioning, pros and cons of behaviorism that formed the basis for the study.
Roediger, H. (2004). What Happened to Behaviorism. Observer Vol.17, No.3. Retrieved from
Welko, T. (1993). Behaviorism and cognitivism in education. A journal of human behavior. Vol. 30, n. 3/4. Retrieved from
Cherry, K. (2015). What Is Behaviorism?. About health. Retrieved from
Roediger, H. (2004). What Happened to Behaviorism. Observer. Vol.17, No.3. Retrieved from
Welko, T. (1993). Behaviorism and cognitivism in education. A journal of human behavior. Vol. 30, n. 3/4. Pp. 38-46. Retrieved from