Behaviourism also known as behaviourist psychology, studies the learning of stimulus in response to human interaction with the environment. It focuses on observable and measurable stimulus-response behaviours as opposed to your thoughts and emotions. Most behaviourist eliminate internal feelings and thoughts overall and those who do not, believe they exist but cannot and should not be studied. Behaviorism involves a theory in which studies a theory that the human mind is a reflection of human actions and behaviours as opposed to human thoughts and feelings. Behaviourism explains to us why we choose to do certain actions in response to something. These behaviours happen through conditioning which occurs in two types classical, which is when a natural reflex responds to a stimulus or operant condition which is when a response to a stimulus is from a reinforcement. In this paper, you will come to find the history of behaviourism and the many scientists involved in the development of it, and learn important details and facts about behaviourism. John Watson In 1913, John Watson published an article called “Behaviourism as the Behaviourist Views it”. In this article, he stated the major features of behaviourism and explained to people why humans did what they did. He took the works of Ivan Pavlov, who is a physiologist and transformed it into his own works. In his article, he makes several appropriate assumptions and statements about behaviourism. Firstly, he states that “All behaviour is learned from the environment”, environmental factors institute our behaviours and when we are born we are born with a “tabula rasa” also known as a blank state. Secondly, that psychology is a scientific study and all behaviourist theories need to be backed up with evidence such as data that is received from observations made about human behaviours. Thirdly, that behaviourism is just the study of human behaviors not human thoughts or feelings, it is okay to accept human thoughts and feelings but, they should not be taken into consideration when making scientific observations. Fourthly, behaviourists should not find any differences between animal and human behaviours and studies can and should be conducted on animals. Lastly, that stimulus response create behaviours, and all behaviors are subject to stimulus responses. As he specifically states in his article, “To predict, given the stimulus, what reaction will take place; or, given the reaction, state what the situation or stimulus is that has caused the reaction.” (1) Watson also proposed the idea of classical conditioning with human behaviours, and how it can be used to explain human behaviours. Classical conditioning involves three stages, the first stage being before conditioning which is an unconditioned response in a natural stimulus as a result of the surrounding environmental factors and has not been learnt, so unconditioned stimulus produces unconditioned responses. The second stage during conditioning, is a conditioned stimulus that associates a stimulus that has no response with the unconditioned stimulus, so a person could have no response to something until a connection with the unconditioned stimulus-response is created. The last stage is after conditioning, where a connection between the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus is made to form a new conditioned response. Classical conditioning focuses on natural or learnt behaviour responses. Watson was known to essentially develop “behaviourism” and came up with the main ideas of behaviourism. He was known as the founder of behaviourism, and he implemented many experiments show casing behaviourism. Little Albert Experiment In 1920, John Watson and Rosalie Rayner were able to prove Ivan Pavlov’s assumption that classical conditioning also applied to animals. The Little Albert experiment was conducted by these two using a 9-month old infant named Albert and observing his reaction to fluffy animals like a rat. When Albert seen these animals on their own, he did not fear them but, he would fear the loud noise of a hammer against a steel bar behind him, making him cry. When he was 11-months, he was shown a white rat and loud noises using the hammer and steel bar were made, this was done to him for seven weeks straight, once in each week. By the end, just seeing the rat would make Albert scared and cry without even hearing the noise because he associated the rat with the loud banging noise. They were able to condition the child’s phobia using this loud scary noise and it not only brought a phobia to Albert of white rats but, other fluffy things like the family dog and a fur coat. Soon overtime this response of fearing the rat started to die out which was known as extinction, although, he still feared the rat, they just had to use conditioning to recreate the phobia again. Ivan Pavlov In 1890, Pavlov began his research about behaviourism. He was also involved in the creation of classical conditioning, his studies were able to allow Watson and Rayner’s prove conditioning. He began his studies over the salvation of dogs, in response to receiving food and being fed. He was able to learn that this behaviours in dogs was not learnt. This reflex is natural in dogs and referred to unconditioned stimulus with unconditioned responses known as stage one in classical conditioning. He began to see that any person or thing the dog associated with food, it would begin to salivate. His lab assistant began to participate in his research, when the dogs first saw the assistant they would not salivate, but as the assistant started to feed them overtime, it started to associate the assistant with food and produce the behavioural response every time it saw her. Pavlov was very well known in founding the concepts of classical conditioning which is a main part in behaviourism. Dog Experiment Pavlov decided to conduct his very own experiment after seeing the response of his dogs after associating food with his lab assistant. He decided to create a stimulus that was neutral and produced no response when the dogs seen or heard it in the beginning, just as the lab assistant. He went with using a bell, so whenever he fed the dogs he would ring the bell, and conducted this experiment several times, and later when he rang the ball on its own without food, the dogs still salivated as they now associated the bell with food. He taught this response to the dogs, so it was known as a conditioned response and he realized that for the dog to salivate when seeing the food, he had to have perfect timing for when he rang the bell and fed the dogs food. The longer the time gap between feeding the dogs and ringing the bell, the less the dogs took up on learning this response. Edward Thorndike Thorndike’s studies helped in the creation of operant conditioning, although Skinnier essentially was the main founder of it, without Thorndike’s discoveries it would not have been possible. He studied certain behaviours as in response to consequences just like Skinnier. He conducted an experiment with cats to help with his discoveries. He started by putting a cat in a puzzle box and putting a piece of fish outside so that the cat would learn how to escape out of the box and get its reward. Through many trial and errors, the cat then realized that the lever helped in opening the cage and escaping from it so, the cat adapted to this and each time it was put back in the cage it went to the lever to escape. He then came up with the law of effect, in which he said, “responses that produce a satisfying effect in a particular situation became more likely to occur again in that situation, and responses that produce a discomforting effect become less likely to occur again in that situation” (2) B.F Skinner Burrhus Frederic Skinner began to study behaviourism in 1920, after being heavily influenced by John Watson’s study and his article. He began to study and develop operant conditioning after reading Thorndike’s law of effect. He had a belief that human thoughts and feelings did exist but, should not be studied as it would be very difficult to do so. He is known to be the main founder after Thorndike of operant conditioning in which certain repetitive behaviour is in response to reinforcements that could be negative or positive. He came to discover three things that created repetitive behaviour, reinforcers that increased the chances of behaviours repeating, punishers that decreased those chances and neutral operants that neither increased or decreased those chances. He showed how positive reinforcements will result in the increase of repetitive behaviour, he proved this by putting a hungry rat in a box with a lever that would drop food, as the rat moved in the box the lever would fall and food would as well, the rat overtime realized that the lever provided food for it so, it just went straight to the lever to get food. He believed positive reinforcements work in a way that makes a person want to repeat a certain behaviour if the consequences are beneficial to them. He proved negative reinforcements work to decrease repetitive behaviour by placing a rat in a box with an electric current that was a negative aspect for the rat as it made it uncomfortable, and as the rat moved in the box and the lever fell, the current would shut off relieving its discomfort, to which it learnt to go to the lever to shut the current off. Skinnier then went on to release a book called The Behaviour of Organisms, explaining operant conditioning and the concepts involved in the making of it in which he discovered through his experiment. In conclusion, behaviourism is the concept of behaviours learnt through our surrounding environment. Your mental thoughts and feelings are not put in use when studying behaviourism as behaviours are conducted based on conditioning either classical which is a natural stimulus response or operant which is a stimulus response as a result of reinforcements. Looking into emotions and feelings becomes very difficult so data is collected over observable behaviours, which you see in the experiments conducted by behaviourists such as John Watson and his little Albert experiment, Ivan Pavlov and his dog experiment, Edward Thorndike and his cat experiment and lastly, B.F Skinner and his rat experiment.