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The Limitations of the Behaviourist Approach to the Study of Learning, with Reference to Chomsky's Critique of Skinner - Essay Example

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The limitations of the behaviourist approach to the study of learning, with reference to Chomsky’s critique of skinner Name Institutional affiliation Tutor Date The limitations of the behaviourist approach to the study of learning, with reference to Chomsky’s critique of skinner 1.0…
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The Limitations of the Behaviourist Approach to the Study of Learning, with Reference to Chomskys Critique of Skinner
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The Limitations of the Behaviourist Approach to the Study of Learning, with Reference to Chomsky's Critique of Skinner

Chomsky’s works have been rated as the most influential pieces in the study of psychology particularly concerning behaviourism. In this case, a lot of transformations were witnessed amongst learners who studied the language. With his works labelled as classics, and having all the evidence in regard to the study of language, as opposed to behaviourism that is too general, this work shall aim to understand the limitations of the behaviourist approach, with the reference to Skinner. 2.0. Body In the views of Noam Chomsky, the aspect of behaviour cannot be understood in the study of B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning. According to the thoughts of Routledge & Chapman (2005) Chomsky indicates that Skinner’s work is the worst ever written in the history of psychology. In this case, Chomsky indicates that his work comprises tangible evidence and conclusions as compared to the behaviourism standpoint. First, Chomsky argues against the viewpoint of Skinner’s learning through operant conditioning by arguing that one cannot study the behaviour of an individual, but not the components under study. The psychologists in this case, must not rely on the existing evidence and the abilities portrayed by the individuals, but the psychologists must go a step ahead and analyze the contents of the brain of the persons under study. From the brain, the researchers are likely to understand how the behaviours portrayed by the individuals have come into practicality. The brain, according to Chomsky (2006), is the root of the behaviours portrayed by the individual. The behaviours are simply a replica of the processes that go on in the individuals’ brain and cannot be alienated from the end product that is the behaviours of the individuals (Chomsky, 2006). In relation to Chomsky, Skinner went for end product- the behaviours portrayed- without getting to the grounds in which the behaviour has its roots. According to Altmann & Gaskell (2007), Chomsky emphasises that study of the brain gives evidence of the behaviours portrayed by the individuals. In his work, Chomsky compares the study of behaviour to referring to Physics as readings in Science without considering the fact that the readings are mere data collected after an occurrence of a certain experiment by the learners or scientists in the laboratory (Randall, 2007). The study, analysis, testing and comparisons of data in the study of any field are compulsory. The end product cannot be alienated from its components; thus, the study of behaviour by Chomsky holds much evidence as compared to Skinner’s study on operant conditioning and learning. On another view point, Chomsky indicates that yet another limitation of Skinner’s behaviourist approach is that he relied so much on speculations as compared to critical study of the conditional behaviour. Scheer (2010) indicates that Skinner applied experimental investigations that had unfounded experimental techniques that would have led to his study to having valid evidence on human behaviour. The limited significance of the techniques led to the coming up with the premise that behaviour cannot rely on inferences, but critical analysis of facts. According to Shackelford & Vonk (2012), Chomsky holds the view that language can only be understood in relation to Information ... Read More
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