Behaviourism is an approach in the field of psychology that has been designed to combine theory, philosophy and methodology. It is based on the proposition that understanding the science of behaviour is possible. Generally, understanding the approach on behaviourism explains the core issues in behaviour analysis and its applicability to human problems in the society in a scholarly but accessible manner. The major contributor on the theory of behaviourism is the renowned psychologist John Watson. He defined behavioural psychology to being the theory of learning that is based on the notion that all behaviours of an individual are usually acquired through conditioning. Conditioning occurs mostly through the act of interaction between a person and his environment. Most behaviourists believe that, the interaction and our responses to the environment’s stimuli are responsible for shaping our behaviours. This paper aims at expounding on the review of four different journal articles that further explain behaviourism in the field of psychology. It will explain why the article was written and how it ultimately impacts or changed the approach in the field of psychology.
The article, Theoretical behaviourism meets embodied cognition: two theoretical analyses of behaviour, authored by Fred Keijzer, aims at accomplishing three critical things. Firstly, Fred wants to provide a full review of John Staddon’s book on adaptive dynamics in the theoretical analysis of behaviour. Secondly, this article compares Staddon’s behaviourist’s perspective with modern ideas on embodied cognition. Lastly, Fred uses this comparison to explicate some of the outlines of theoretical analysis of behaviour that has been applauded to being one of the most useful behavioural foundations in the field of psychology especially for cognitive phenomena. This article has proven to be helpful in psychology since it provides an extensive analysis of the behaviourist’s models through theoretical behaviourism. According to the article, behaviourism has been previously considered dead by different scholars; nonetheless, the staunch followers of the approach of behaviourism have defiantly responded that it is still alive and is of great importance inthis field of study. This article provides rich and informative data that Staddon uses to explain how behaviourism has had an effect in psychology, but is nowadays becoming outdated. He explains that, in the larger world, behaviourism has been viewed by the cognitive science and psychology communities as an already outmoded approach that has been ousted by cognitive oriented studies. Staddon is quoted to explain that, the theoretical behaviourism has ultimately come close to the notion of embodied cognition especially that has been designed to stress on the importance of behaviour in a contrast to high-level cognition.
The field of behaviourism has been further explained by the article behaviourism for the new psychology by Peter Harzem. This particular article has briefly explained the evolution of behaviourism since its advent with John B Watson’s declaration of 1913. It can be considered as a major contribution to the field of behaviourism and scientific psychology because it has been authored explaining the both the past and the present contributions to this study. It is based on the thesis that, regardless of whether or not the proponents and opponents of behaviourism are aware of the essential underlying factors that make up this approach, it is undeniable that it has been absorbed into all of the available scientific psychology. In this article, Harzem explains that the study on behaviourism was conceived as a result of a coincidence of various significant events that were being associated with psychology and other related disciplines. It becomes apparent that, this article, which is aimed at expounding on what was wrong with behaviourism during its early days, and also during the modern days. According to Harzem, this literature creates a great impact because it has managed to effectively illustrate how Watson’s argument could have changed how behaviourism is being viewed in our contemporary times. It claims that, had Watson utterly considered a balanced and well thought critique in his paper, may be behaviourism would have taken a different course than it did. Arguably, with the ideas that Harzem is putting across in his this article, it is evident that, it will be able make advancements in the science of psychology especially if behaviourism shifts its outdated arguments to empirical theory construction and discoveries.
The article Behaviourism and constructivism explain that there they are two of the predominant educational theories that form basis of many of current educational technology tools in the secondary classrooms. With approximately four hundred languages spoken, tribalism due to indigenous people population, of approximately one hundred million Christians, Hindus, Sikh, Jain and Muslim religious practices practiced by various populations alongside with ethical and cultural differences, promotion of local knowledge system, improving social differences due to caste and class status, definition of a good quality of a system of education remains a formidable and elusive challenge in India. This article, therefore, reflects in the social welfare and location of the child and emphasizes on that, for a quality education system to be effective children should be encouraged to acquire knowledge of high quality through employment of qualified personnel, as well as discrimination based on the ethnical ad cultural differences. This article also focuses on whether the local knowledge systems related to health, agriculture and medicine, artisanship and issues related to culture are integrated in the formal curriculum studies in the formal system. This article emphasizes on the diversification of language in the curriculum studies so as to improve the quality of education acquired and received by the students in Hindu. Culture and religion differences, ethnical group differences and lack of qualified mentors are reflected as the barriers to quality education in India in this article.
The article philosophy of science, with special consideration given to behaviourism as the philosophy of the science of behaviour reviews the historical development of the philosophy of the science, topics of long standing interests and representative individuals in the field. Representative topics in the branch of philosophy of science includes; the origin and nature of scientific language models of scientific activity, the nature of the scientific method, the nature of the scientific reasoning and the validity of the scientific language. In this article in the Auguste Comte 17th -18th century, philosophical position underlying scientific reasoning is credited (positivism). Positivism argues that scientific knowledge is the utmost form of knowledge and that scientific knowledge comes from studying directly observable and measurable occasions. This article also outlines principles of logical positivism which involves: Metaphysical statements were to be rejected since philosophy was about language and not metaphysical pronouncement about the world. Statements had to be subject to verification so as to be meaningful.
Then aim of language analysis was to enhance a rational reconstruction of knowledge claims that are the context of justification. This article outlines rise of behaviourism whereby John Watson in 1913 launched the initial phase of the behavioural revolution where he proposed forms of behaviourism to counter the influences of structuralism, functionalism and the concern about mental life. Mostly observes stimuli and response. This article as well focuses on the challenges since the traditional ages of philosophy of science. Such as critics from other philosophers such as Paul Meehl challenged the orthodox methodology of experimental designs that outlined the comparison between dependent variable scores of experiments and control groups and observing a statistically significant different. Thomas Kuhn challenged the Popperian thought of science as considerably concerned with rationally forging forecast of theories.
In conclusion, from this literature review, it is evident that, behaviourism has had its fair share of both the advantages and disadvantages. According to the articles reviewed, many critics have argued that behaviourism is one dimensional approach that has been modelled to explain human behaviour. They further explain that, the various behavioural theories have failed to account for the free will and the internal factors that are part of an individual such as thoughts, feelings and moods. They have also claimed that, behaviourism is an approach that has also failed to account for the other types of learning especially the forms of learning that entails punishment and reinforcement. On the other hand, some of the authors of these articles have expounded on the numerous strengths that behaviourism possesses. They explain that, behaviourism is an effective approach in scientific psychology since it uses observable behaviours thus making it possible to collect information and data especially when conducting a research. Behaviourism has also been hailed to being one of the most effective methods that can be used in correcting harmful behaviours in both adult and children by psychologists. In general, all the articles reviewed acknowledge the fact that behaviourism is not as dominant as it was in the early and mid-20th century, however, it still remains a very influential force in the field of psychology.
Harzem, P. (2004). Behaviourism for new psychology: what was wrong with
Behaviourism and what is wrong with it now. Behaviour & Philosophy, 32(1).
Keijzer, F. (2005). Theoretical behaviourism meets embodied cognition: Two theoretical
Analyses of behaviour. Philosophical psychology, 18(1), 123-143.
Moore, J. (2010). Philosophy of science, with special consideration given to
Behaviourism as the philosophy of the science of behaviour. Psychological Record, 60(1).
Raina, V. (2011). Between Behaviourism And Constructivism: Quality education in a
Multicultural context. Cultural studies, 25(1), 9-24.