Behaviorism

Address the following in an essay, which should be a minimum of 500 words. Make sure to
elaborate fully on your main ideas, providing supporting details and explanations.
? Summarize three to five major points from the article.
? Evaluate the claim of the paper, that behaviorism has evolved into a distinct field,
separate from psychology.
o Summarize the basis on which the author makes this claim.
o Evaluate the strength of these argument, and identify any weaknesses or limitations to
these arguments.
Describe your own interpretations and opinions regarding the major claims the author
makes.
Choose one of the major contributors to behaviorism discussed in this unit (e.g., Watson,
Hull, or Skinner), and consider how this person would have viewed this new discipline of
behaviorology.
Format your paper using APA style. Use your own words, and include citations and
references as needed to avoid plagiarism.
Information about accessing the Blackboard Grading Rubric for this assignment is
provided below.

Behaviorism At 100
Summary of the Main Points

For the last 100 years, behaviorism has evolved greatly as a science quite separate from
psychology. This happened after the failure in attempts by several scientists to change
psychology into a natural science. Behaviorism as a natural science can improve the status of

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BEHAVIORISM AT 100
other natural sciences by offering explanations to certain aspects of behavior that would attract
explanations from mystical and superstitious perspectives (Ledoux, 2012). In this regard,
behaviorism will improve the overall human development by solving the human behavior-related
problems. Moreover, this is only achievable if there is harmony and mutual respect between
other natural scientists and behaviorists.
The discipline of behaviorism originated from biology. However, this discipline has
evolved to offer comprehensive analyses to wider areas such as human values, ethical standards,
and the field of engineering (Ledoux, 2012). Behaviorism explains the close connection between
the surrounding environment of the organism and the responses these stimuli elicit.
Behaviorism has several applications in real life. Many aspects of our life require
behavior change. Such areas include green house emissions that cause global warming. Children
suffering from autism can successfully realize fruitful lives when handled with behaviorists.
Furthermore, the discipline of behaviorism continues to inform the instructional methods in
schools (Ledoux, 2012). Better outcomes are realized when learners receive instruction with the
use of models created by behaviorists.

Behaviorism as a discipline

Behaviorism evolved into a separate discipline from psychology due to several reasons.
Firstly, psychology did not recognize standards, and procedures based on scientific evidence.
Secondly, behaviorism never relies on non-scientific and mythical explanations to behavior,
which marked the foundations of psychology (Ledoux, 2012). Lastly, behaviorism is already a
discipline as a natural science, and should continue independently.

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BEHAVIORISM AT 100

Evaluation of Claims

Ledoux (2012) claims that psychology, as a discipline did not recognize scientific
procedures of relying on evidence. This claim does not entirely hold, since most experiments
carried out in the other branches of psychology rely on empirical data. Thus, the deductions from
such experiments follow rigorous scientific procedures. The second claim on mythical and non-
scientific explanations is still not plausible. This because psychology seeks to connect behavior
and stimuli, not to offer the scientific sense, and mechanisms accompanying such complex
processes. However, there should be some incorporation of necessary concepts from other
natural sciences to enrich the stimuli-behavior connection. The last argument of behaviorism
being established, and thus should be a separate discipline does not hold. The writer seems to
rely on what otherwise should be justified. This argument appears viciously cyclic.

Opinion on the Claims

The only valid claim should be on the inability of psychology as a discipline to adopt
explanations from other fields of natural sciences. However, this requires evidence of complete
refusal from the psychologists to accept mechanistic justifications of behavior, and the presence
of non-scientific accounts to various forms of behavior. The writer does not offer any instances
in support of these two grounds.

Skinner and Behaviorism as a discipline

To evaluate the view that Skinner would have given the new discipline of behaviorism, it
is imperative to reflect on his psychological endeavors. Skinner got his doctorate in psychology,
but his instructors had a firm biological background. The mentors of Skinner had emphasized the
need for a proper explanation to the mechanism of interaction between stimuli and behavior

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BEHAVIORISM AT 100
(Ledoux, 2012). Such a view would have made Skinner to radically reduce the boundary
between psychology and other natural sciences, and thus keep behaviorism within the realm of
psychology.

References

Ledoux, S. F. (2012). ‘Behaviorism at 100: Over its second 50 years, the study of behavior
evolved to become a discipline, behaviorology, independent of psychology’. American
Scientist, Academic One File in the CSU Online Library.

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