ch6 - behaviorists insist that psychologists should study...

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- behaviorists – insist that psychologists should study only observable, measurable behaviors, not mental processes o they seek the simplest possible explanation for any behavior and resist interpretations in terms of understanding or insight - methodological behaviorists – study only the events that they can measure and observe o the environment and the individual’s actions – but they sometimes use those observations to infer internal events depriving an animal of food, making it exercise increases the probability that the animal will eat, work for food o intervening variable – something that we cannot directly observe but that links a variety of procedures to a variety of possible responses hunger o observe facial expressions to make inferences about sadness o sometimes use behavioral observations to make inferences about motivations or other internal states - radical behavior – deny that hunger, fear, or any other internal, private event causes behavior o any internal state is caused by an event in the environment (or by the individual’s genetics); therefore, the ultimate case of any behavior lies in the observable events that led up to the behavior, not the internal states o study facial expressions and the events leading to the, without inferring internal processes o avoids discussion of internal events as much as possible and insists that internal events never the cause of behavior - structuralists – studied people’s thoughts, ideas, and sensations by asking people to describe them o behaviorists insisted, it must deal with observable, measurable events – that is, behavior and its relation to the environment - JACQUEST LOEB – argued that animal and human behavior could be described in terms of simple responses to simple stimuli o Walking toward or away from moisture, clinging to hard surfaces, turning away from strong smells o Complex behavior, he surmised, is the result of adding together many changes of speed and direction elicited by various stimuli o Stimulus-response psychology – the attempt to explain behavior in terms of how each stimulus triggers a response Misleading description of today’s behaviorists They believe that behavior is a product of not only the current stimuli but also the individual’s history of stimuli and responses and their outcomes, plus the internal state of the organism, such as wakefulness or sleepiness - Behaviorists make several assumptions o Determinism – behaviorists assume that we live in a universe of cause and effect They accept the idea of determinism
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Given that our behavior is part of the universe, it too must have causes that we can study scientifically Behavior must follow laws Goal of behaviorism is to determine more and more detailed laws of behavior o Ineffectiveness of mental explanations – our motivations, emotions, and mental state They avoid mental terms as much as possible Skinner preferred simply to describe what individuals DID instead
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