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General Overview

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Behaviorism as a
theory of learning was
prominent in the 20th
century. It rejected
prior psychological
ideals which proposed
the researchers should
assess the conscious
and unconscious
aspects of the mind to
understand human
functioning. The
perspective proposed
that it was more
important to
understand observable
(external) human
actions rather than the
human thought
processes (internal
and unobservable),
(Windsor, Murrell,
Magun-Jackson, p.

Whether a behavior is
studied as a physical
or internal, it is still
hard to figure out why
humans act as they
do, (Windsor, Murrell,

conditioning primarily
focuses on the ability
to use stimuli to create
involuntary responses,
such as blinking and
salivating, (Pavlov,
1927, p. 32).

Pavlov created an
experiment that
proved classical
conditioning. He
trained a dog with a
bell to go eat. When
the bell sounded off
the dog automatically
salivated. So now
when the dog hears a
bell he salivates
because its a signal
that food may be
around, (Pavlov,
1902; 1927).

Classical Conditioning
Classical Conditioning
(Pavlov) Findings


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Operant Conditioning

Operant conditioning
refers to the control of
an individuals
voluntary responses;
and places emphasis
on an individuals
actions, (Windsor,
Murrell, MagunJackson, p. 34).

Skinner trained
pigeons to turn around
in circles by giving a
treat after every time
they turned a little to
the left. Soon after
learning this
condition, the pigeons
finally completed a
full circle, (Skinner,


Reinforcement is
anything that
strengthens or
increases the
likelihood that a
behavior will
continue, (Windsor,
Murrell, MagunJackson, p. 34).

In order for a
reinforcement to be
affective it has to be
enticing. Age group
and personal
preference matter
also, (Windsor,
Murrell, MagunJackson).


Punishment, on the
other hand, is
anything that might
weaken or diminish
the likelihood that a
behavior will
continue, (Windsor,
Murrell, MagunJackson, p. 35).

A punishment is when
something most liked
is taken away or used
in a negative way to
turn around negative
behavior, (Windsor,
Murrell, MagunJackson).

The social learning

theory perspective
involves the
interaction between
individuals and
others. This
perspective suggests
that a substantial
amount of human

People act together

and also learn from
one another. This is
everyday growth,
(Windsor, Murrell,

Watson Findings

Schedules of
Social Learning


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learning takes place as

individuals observe
the actions that occur
within the
(Windsor, Murrell,
Magun-Jackson, p.
Bandura Findings

Albert Bandura is an
psychologist who is
credited for
developing social
cognitive theory. His
theory was initially
known as social
learning theory
(Bandura, 1977), and
it is recognized for
several concepts
including modeling,
observational learning
(as demonstrated in
the well-known Bobo
Doll), vicarious
learning, self-efficacy,
and learning contracts,
(Windsor, Murrell,

Bandura focused on
social learning
groups. His theories
were used for several
different concepts,
(Bandura, 1977).

Learned Helplessness

Learned helplessness
develops when an
individual responds
passively to an
adverse stimulus
rather than escaping
and avoiding it
(Seligman, 1975, p.

Once a person fails so

much they become
hopeless and feel that
there is no need for
faith or to even try
anymore. Also, all
negative things in
society controls the
persons outcome,
(Windsor, Murrell.

Optional Extra



Windsor, D.L., Morne II, V.S., & Magun- Jackson, S. (2015). Lifespan development: An
educational psychology perspective. Boston, MA: Pearson Learning Solutions.