Behaviourism

Behaviourism 3

              A great mind makes a great statement, a statement so bold and specific that to renege

on it would almost certainly discredit his ability to be held as one of the greats in his field. He

claimed that he could take healthy infants, put them in a world that he chooses to bring them

up in, his ideal world, and then train them to be anything he chooses, regardless of their talent

and abilities, even regardless of their hereditary traits. That by manipulating the environment,

he could mould them into what he envisioned them to be. An outspoken critic of the

psychoanalytic theory and a philosophy to push boundaries that other great minds before him

laid a solid foundation upon, and thus began a new way of thinking about how we as humans

react and the reasoning behind those actions. But what was this theory really about? And did

other scientific minds support it, or even believe it was possible for it to have any impact in

anyway to psychology – past, present or future?

              Behaviourism was initially an American model. A gentleman by the name of J.B

Watson is often referred to as the “founder” of behaviourism, but a modest Watson referred

to himself as merely an advocate and endorsed the efforts of Harvard psychologist B. F.

Skinner’s ideas on the subject as the base to which Watson simply expanded and elaborated.

behaviourisms view on psychology is purely objective, it makes no reference or relation to

mental processes or consciousness. Its position states that in order for psychology to be

labelled a “science” as such, it must focus its attentions on what is observable – on what is

tangible. In other words, what Watson was trying to achieve was moving psychology in the

direction of making it a science of behaviour, not one of consciousness. Although most

theories work on the assumption that human beings have a desire for free will and are moral

thinkers, behaviourism...
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