The Art and Science of How People Learn - Revised Edition
Edited By Greg S. Goodman
Section II: Behaviorism
c_ch 1 thru 12_EdPsychReader_2013 11/9/2013 3:31 PM Page 60 Although different from Pavlov’s theory, Watson’s theory shared one common principle with Pavlov’s: Responses, whether behavioral or emotional, are caused by stimuli or associations of the stim- uli. Watson’s theory can also be explained by the stimulus-response formula and adds another layer to classical conditioning. Watson contributed to behaviorism in the following areas: 1. Emotional responses—such as fear, love, and anger—can be conditioned in the same way as behavioral responses. 2. Contrary to what most people believed at the time, emotional responses are not instinc- tual or biological. They can be learned and trained. 3. In addition to human emotional responses, human interests, hobbies, or career choices can also be trained. OPERANT CONDITIONING BY SKINNER Following Watson’s lead, Skinner also emphasized behavior as the basic subject matter of psychol- ogy (Skinner, 1938/1974). Often seen as a major proponent of radical behaviorism, Skinner’s work differed fundamentally from Watson’s work and that of his contemporaries who followed Watson. Classical conditioning emphasizes the role of stimuli or antecedents on behavioral change. Skinner, however, believed that the consequences following the responses are more critical in determining behavioral changes. Skinner’s well-known experiment involved an ingenious apparatus known as the Skinner box. This box contained a bar (or lever) and a small tray. Outside the box was a hopper holding a supply of food pellets that were dropped into the tray when the bar was pressed under certain conditions. A hungry...