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The Approach to Psychology Suggesting That Psychological Disorders Complexities of Human Behavior

the approach to psychology suggesting that psychological disorders

Since I’m discussing the approach of behavioral psychology, it’s important to understand its history. This field of psychology emerged in the early 20th century as a reaction to the prevailing schools of thought at the time.

  • Here are some key points about the history of behavioral psychology:
  1. Ivan Pavlov: One of the pioneers in the field was Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist. In the late 1800s, he conducted experiments on dogs, which led to the discovery of classical conditioning. His work laid the foundation for understanding how behavior can be influenced by environmental stimuli.
  2. John B. Watson: Another significant figure in the development of behavioral psychology was John B. Watson, an American psychologist. In 1913, he published a groundbreaking paper called “Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It.” Watson argued that psychology should only focus on observable behavior and rejected the study of mental processes. This marked a departure from the prevailing approach of introspection.
  3. B.F. Skinner: B.F. Skinner, an American psychologist, is often regarded as the most influential figure in behavioral psychology. His work expanded on the principles of classical conditioning established by Pavlov and introduced the concept of operant conditioning. Skinner’s experiments with animals, such as rats and pigeons, demonstrated how behavior could be shaped through reinforcement and punishment.
  4. Behaviorism’s Influence: The rise of behavioral psychology had a significant impact on the field of psychology as a whole. It challenged the predominant focus on the unconscious mind and emphasized the importance of observable behavior. Behaviorism also influenced other areas, such as education, where it promoted the use of behavior modification techniques to facilitate learning.

The Approach to Psychology Suggesting That Psychological Disorders

Behavioral psychology, also known as behaviorism, is an approach to psychology that suggests that psychological phenomena can be explained by focusing on observable behavior rather than by examining the inner workings of the mind. As a behavioral psychologist, I am fascinated by the principles and concepts that form the foundation of this approach. In this section, I will discuss some of the key concepts of behavioral psychology that have shaped our understanding of human behavior.

1. Conditioning

One of the fundamental concepts in behavioral psychology is conditioning. Conditioning refers to the process by which associations are formed between stimuli and responses. There are two main types of conditioning: classical conditioning and operant conditioning.

  • Classical conditioning: This type of conditioning, discovered by Ivan Pavlov, involves learning through the association of two stimuli. For example, Pavlov’s famous experiments with dogs demonstrated that a neutral stimulus (such as a bell) could come to evoke a response (such as salivation) when associated with a naturally occurring stimulus (such as food).
  • Operant conditioning: B.F. Skinner expanded on the idea of conditioning by introducing operant conditioning. This type of conditioning focuses on the consequences of behavior. It suggests that behavior is influenced by the outcomes or consequences that follow it. For example, positive reinforcement involves providing a reward to increase the likelihood of a behavior occurring again, while punishment aims to decrease the probability of a behavior by providing a negative consequence.

2. Behavior Modification

Another important concept in behavioral psychology is behavior modification. This approach utilizes the principles of conditioning to change behavior patterns. Behavior modification techniques are often used in various settings such as schools, workplaces, and even in clinical settings. By identifying the antecedents and consequences that influence behavior, behavior modification strategies can be implemented to reinforce desired behaviors and decrease undesirable ones.

3. Observational Learning

Observational learning is another concept that has been extensively studied in behavioral psychology. It suggests that individuals can learn by simply observing others. This concept was popularized by Albert Bandura, who conducted the famous Bobo doll experiment. Bandura showed that children could learn aggressive behaviors by observing adults acting aggressively towards a doll. Observational learning has significant implications for education and social learning, as it suggests that individuals can acquire new behaviors and skills through observation alone.


It is important to acknowledge the criticisms of behavioral psychology in order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of human behavior. By recognizing the neglect of internal processes, oversimplification of behavior, lack of consideration for individual differences, ethical concerns, and limited focus on internal factors, we can refine and advance the field of psychology.

Addressing these criticisms will enable us to move towards a more holistic approach to psychology, one that takes into account the complexities of human behavior and the various factors that influence it. By doing so, we can gain a deeper understanding of the mind and behavior, and ultimately, improve the lives of individuals.