Behavioural approach to normal and abnormal psychology

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The behavioural approach to psychology focuses on observable behaviour rather than unobservable,mental phenomena such as feelings and thoughts.It assumes that both normal and abnormal psychology can be explained in terms of environmental factors


Specifically, the behavioural approach assumes that all behaviour is learned or conditioned, and can be explained in terms of principles of reinforcement. " The gap between normal and abnormal behaviour is reduced, since both are viewed within the same general framework" (Davison & Neale, 1990), and conceptions of normality and abnormality are relative to the social or cultural contexts in which they are considered.Classical conditioning (Pavlov, 1927) refers to a type of learning in which a stimulus that wouldn't normally elicit a particular response eventually comes to do so by being repeatedly paired with a stimulus that would normally elicit the response. For example, if the sound of a bell is repeatedly paired with the presentation of food, the sound of the bell alone will eventually elicit the response of salivation. Food is an unconditioned stimulus that elicits the unconditioned response of salivation; by being repeatedly paired with food, the sound of the bell becomes a conditioned stimulus that elicits the conditoned response of salivation.Whereas classical or respondent conditioning is essentially passive, Skinner (1938) viewed the learner as much more active when he proposed his theory of operant or instrumental conditioning. According to Skinner's law of effect,' behaviour is shaped and maintained by its consequences'. ...
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