Behaviorism (Psychology)

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  • A concept that emphasizes the role of learning (especially classical and operant conditioning) and behavioral observation in psychology and dominated psychological research between 1920 and 1960. John B. Watson, heavily influenced by Ivan Pavlov, believed that the observable behavior of animals and humans is the most important and parsimonious source of scientific information in psychology. Unlike earlier researchers (especially, the structuralists and functionists), he did not propose to use behavior as the basis for inferences about consciousness, but he advocated that psychologists should ignore mental events (because they cannot be observed) and base psychology only on overt behavior occurring in response to environmental stimuli. Behaviorists like Watson assumed that adaptation to the environment is achieved through learning and that this basic principle holds true for ...

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