Behaviourism- the idea that people’s behaviour can be predicted and controlled/modified based on the events that motivated it in the first place. But they place stress on a person’s childhood and early years; tracing the factors that motivated certain behaviours to it’s roots.

Behaviourism is very much observational based. This makes it easier to collect information and provide solid examples of experiments.

John B Watson believed that children should have very strict and structured lives, as concluded in his work Psychological Care of the Infant and Child.

On the other side, Benjamin Spock reasoned that a child’s life should be more permissive. He encouraged a loving, flexible, and supportive relationship between the child and parents.

A large part of behaviourism is the idea of conditioning. Most well known for Ivan Pavlov’s experiment with the dog, conditioning is when a being becomes to accommodate a behaviour with an action, sense perception, or idea. For example, Pavlov would ring a bell before he fed a dog. After repeating this many times the dog would automatically salivate whenever the bell was rung, regardless of whether there was food or not.

There are two types of conditioning:

Classic Conditioning is like Pavlov’s dog. A subject will respond to a stimulus of any kind. At the stimulus of a bell, the dog would respond by salivating.

Operant Conditioning is similar, but instead of responding to a stimulus, the subject learns the correct response from the consequences of following an action. Keeping with the dog theme, if you scold your dog every time it eats your shoes, it will learn that eating shoes gets it in trouble and it will stop. At the same time, you can teach your dog to sit on command with the positive reinforcement of treats.

Another theory within behaviourism is the Social Learning Theory, originated by Albert Bandura. It basically gives the idea that people learn behaviours from seeing others around them do them. Mimicry, really. Our dog in this case would see another dog begging for food at the table. It would then join in and, after a while, start begging at meals even when the other dog wasn’t present.

Drive Reduction Theory is a theory of behaviourism that looks at the other variables in the stimulus/consequence+organism=response. Things like personality, motives, and habits that could effect the response in major or minor ways.

Major Psychologists in Behaviousism
Ivan Pavlov (Classic Conditioning)
B.F. Skinner (Operant Conditioning)
John B Watson (Strict Childhood)
Clark Hull (Drive Reduction Theory)