Behaviorism is a philosophy and conceptual framework for the study of behavior. It advocates the use of a natural science approach to establish general laws and principles that explain the causes of behavior—its acquisition, maintenance, and change—without reference to mental events or internal psychological processes. These principles emphasize relationships between behavior and the physical and social environment, particularly the contingencies of reinforcement that control the occurrence, strength, and choice of behaviors.

Behaviorism developed primarily in the United States, originally in opposition to the philosophy of “introspection” as a technique for investigating mental processes (thoughts, feelings, and perceptions). Behaviorists disagreed with both the subject matter of introspection (subjective experience and internal states) and the questionable reliability and validity of the technique itself (critically examining one's own mental ...

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