According to Watson’s Behaviorism, behaviors can be measured, trained and changed. John B. Watson claims, “Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take anyone at random and train him to become any 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 race of his ancestors.” This idea of behaviorism was advanced further through the publication of Watson’s classic paper Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It (1913).
Miller (1983) adds that behaviorism, or behavioral psychology is based on the argument that all behavior is acquired through conditioning which takes place through contact and interaction with the environment, and therefore, it is the responses to our environmental conditions that shape our behavior. Behavior is considered in a systematic and observable manner with no weight on internal mental states such as mood and emotions which are argued to be purely subjective. It takes only conditioning for any person to be trained to perform any function completely independent of things such as genetic background, personality or thoughts.
There are two main types of conditioning in behaviorism. The first type is the classical conditioning which is a method of conditioning in which a naturally occurring stimulus is paired with a response then a previously neutral stimulus paired with a naturally occurring stimulus. It is seen that, in the end, the previously neutral stimulus (conditioned stimulus) elicits the response (conditioned response) in the absence of naturally occurring stimulus. The second type of conditioning called the operant conditioning or the instrumental conditioning takes place via rewards and punishments for behavior and therefore a relationship is drawn between a behavior and a consequence for that particular behavior.
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