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Perspectives of John B. Watson, B.F. Skinner and Edward C. Tolman

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  1. Introduction
  2. Little Albert experiment
  3. Radical behaviorism
  4. Intervening Variables
  5. Conclusion

John B. Watson, B. F. Skinner and Edward C. Tolman were psychologists responsible for a large amount of innovative thought known as Behaviorism. Watson, Skinner and Tolman were important names in the psychology field and each of these men were forward thinkers with ideas that ultimately changed the way that the psychological world viewed behavior and their impact on the learning process of an organism.

John B. Watson was born in 1978. He achieved a master's degree at the age of 21 and later returned to school at the University of Chicago.Watson began to form his own theories that later became known the Behaviorist School of Thought that is still widely popular. He was named the founder of the school of Behaviorism. Merriam-Webster (2010) says, ?Behaviorism is a school of psychology that takes the objective evidence of behavior (as measured responses to stimuli) as the only concern of its research and the only basis of its theory without reference to conscious experience.? The philosophies of empiricism and associationism put a large amount of emphasis on experience and these philosophies laid the foundation for behaviorism.

[...] His theories emphasized molar over molecular behavior, the purposiveness or goal-directedness of behavior, and the use of intervening variables.? Tolman argued that the unit of study must be larger than the molecular responses that Watson emphasized in his theories. He termed molar behavior to be broad patterns of behavior directed at a goal (Goodwin, 2008). He did not think that learning involved just the connection between a stimuli and the response that Watson proposed. Goodwin (2008) stated. ?Tolman proposed that the brain was like a map control room and that during learning an animal develops a map of the environment.? Tolman proposed that goal directedness or purposiveness was universal to behaviors learned or more simply put, that goals direct the behaviors. [...]

[...] He decided he would take a year off from school to write but later came to realize that he would never achieve the level of greatness that his favorite authors were capable of (Goodwin, 2008).The year he took off from school with the decision to become a writer, Skinner read many articles on behaviorism which led him to study Pavlov and Watson that piqued his interest in behaviorism. Skinner developed his own system of behaviorism that he later referred to as radical behaviorism, while attending Harvard for graduate studies. [...]

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