Behaviorism

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Behaviorism (or behaviourism) is a systematic approach to understanding the behavior of humans and other animals. [1] It assumes that behavior is either a reflex evoked by the pairing of certain antecedent stimuli in the environment, or a consequence of that individual's history, including especially reinforcement and punishment contingencies, together with the individual's current motivational state and controlling stimuli. Although behaviorists generally accept the important role of heredity in determining behavior, they focus primarily on environmental events.

Contents

It combines elements of philosophy, methodology, and psychological theory. Behaviorism emerged in the early 1900s as a reaction to depth psychology and other traditional forms of psychology, which often had difficulty making predictions that could be tested experimentally, but derived from earlier research in the late nineteenth century when Edward Thorndike pioneered the law of effect, a process that involved strengthening or weakening behavior through the use of consequences.

During the first half of the twentieth century, John B. Watson devised methodological behaviorism, which rejected introspective methods and sought to understand behavior by only measuring observable behaviors and events. It was not until the 1930s that B. F. Skinner suggested that covert behavior—particularly, thoughts and feelings—should be subjected to the same controlling variables as observable behavior, which became the basis for his philosophy called "radical behaviorism." [2] [3] While Watson and Ivan Pavlov investigated how stimulus-response procedures elicit reflexes in classical conditioning, Skinner assessed the controlling nature of reinforcement and its potential effect on the antecedents (or discriminative stimuli) that emits behavior; the technique became known as operant conditioning.

The application of radical behaviorism—known as applied behavior analysis—is used in a variety of contexts, including, for example, organizational behavior management and pediatric feeding therapy, to the treatment of mental disorders, such as autism and substance abuse. [4] [5] [6] In addition, while behaviorism and cognitive schools of psychological thought may not agree theoretically, they have complemented each other in the cognitive-behavior therapies, which have demonstrated utility in treating certain pathologies, such as simple phobias, PTSD, and mood disorders.

Varieties

There is no universally agreed-upon classification, but some titles given to the various branches of behaviorism include:

Two subtypes of theoretical behaviorism are:

Radical behaviorism

B. F. Skinner proposed radical behaviorism as the conceptual underpinning of the experimental analysis of behavior. This viewpoint differs from other approaches to behavioral research in various ways, but, most notably here, it contrasts with methodological behaviorism in accepting feelings, states of mind and introspection as behaviors subject to scientific investigation. Like methodological behaviorism, it rejects the reflex as a model of all behavior, and it defends the science of behavior as complementary to but independent of physiology. Radical behaviorism overlaps considerably with other western philosophical positions, such as American pragmatism. [12]

Experimental and conceptual innovations

This essentially philosophical position gained strength from the success of Skinner's early experimental work with rats and pigeons, summarized in his books The Behavior of Organisms [13] and Schedules of Reinforcement. [14] Of particular importance was his concept of the operant response, of which the canonical example was the rat's lever-press. In contrast with the idea of a physiological or reflex response, an operant is a class of structurally distinct but functionally equivalent responses. For example, while a rat might press a lever with its left paw or its right paw or its tail, all of these responses operate on the world in the same way and have a common consequence. Operants are often thought of as species of responses, where the individuals differ but the class coheres in its function-shared consequences with operants and reproductive success with species. This is a clear distinction between Skinner's theory and S–R theory.

Skinner's empirical work expanded on earlier research on trial-and-error learning by researchers such as Thorndike and Guthrie with both conceptual reformulations—Thorndike's notion of a stimulus–response "association" or "connection" was abandoned; and methodological ones—the use of the "free operant", so called because the animal was now permitted to respond at its own rate rather than in a series of trials determined by the experimenter procedures. With this method, Skinner carried out substantial experimental work on the effects of different schedules and rates of reinforcement on the rates of operant responses made by rats and pigeons. He achieved remarkable success in training animals to perform unexpected responses, to emit large numbers of responses, and to demonstrate many empirical regularities at the purely behavioral level. This lent some credibility to his conceptual analysis. It is largely his conceptual analysis that made his work much more rigorous than his peers', a point which can be seen clearly in his seminal work Are Theories of Learning Necessary? in which he criticizes what he viewed to be theoretical weaknesses then common in the study of psychology. An important descendant of the experimental analysis of behavior is the Society for Quantitative Analysis of Behavior. [15] [16]

Relation to language

As Skinner turned from experimental work to concentrate on the philosophical underpinnings of a science of behavior, his attention turned to human language with his 1957 book Verbal Behavior [17] and other language-related publications; [18] Verbal Behavior laid out a vocabulary and theory for functional analysis of verbal behavior, and was strongly criticized in a review by Noam Chomsky. [19] [20]

Skinner did not respond in detail but claimed that Chomsky failed to understand his ideas, [21] and the disagreements between the two and the theories involved have been further discussed. [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] Innateness theory, which has been heavily critiqued, [28] [29] is opposed to behaviorist theory which claims that language is a set of habits that can be acquired by means of conditioning. [30] [31] [32] According to some, the behaviorist account is a process which would be too slow to explain a phenomenon as complicated as language learning. What was important for a behaviorist's analysis of human behavior was not language acquisition so much as the interaction between language and overt behavior. In an essay republished in his 1969 book Contingencies of Reinforcement, [33] Skinner took the view that humans could construct linguistic stimuli that would then acquire control over their behavior in the same way that external stimuli could. The possibility of such "instructional control" over behavior meant that contingencies of reinforcement would not always produce the same effects on human behavior as they reliably do in other animals. The focus of a radical behaviorist analysis of human behavior therefore shifted to an attempt to understand the interaction between instructional control and contingency control, and also to understand the behavioral processes that determine what instructions are constructed and what control they acquire over behavior. Recently, a new line of behavioral research on language was started under the name of relational frame theory. [34] [35] [36] [37]

Education

Behaviourism focuses on one particular view of learning: a change in external behaviour achieved through using reinforcement and repetition (Rote learning) to shape behavior of learners. Skinner found that behaviors could be shaped when the use of reinforcement was implemented. Desired behavior is rewarded, while the undesired behavior is not rewarded. [38] Incorporating behaviorism into the classroom allowed educators to assist their students in excelling both academically and personally. In the field of language learning, this type of teaching was called the audio-lingual method, characterised by the whole class using choral chanting of key phrases, dialogues and immediate correction.

Within the behaviourist view of learning, the "teacher" is the dominant person in the classroom and takes complete control, evaluation of learning comes from the teacher who decides what is right or wrong. The learner does not have any opportunity for evaluation or reflection within the learning process, they are simply told what is right or wrong. The conceptualization of learning using this approach could be considered "superficial" as the focus is on external changes in behaviour i.e. not interested in the internal processes of learning leading to behaviour change and has no place for the emotions involved the process.

Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning was developed by B.F. Skinner in 1937 and deals with the management of environmental contingencies to change behavior. [39] [40] [41] Operant is a set of stimulus that produces meaningful consequences to an animal. It can further divided into Reinforcement (stimulus that increase the probability of performing behaviors) and punishment (stimulus that decrease the probability of performing behaviors). The core tools of operant conditioning, are either positive (delivered following a response), or negative (withdrawn following a response). [42] The following descriptions explained the concepts of four common types of operant conditioning in details:

Classical experiment in operant conditioning, for example the Skinner Box, "puzzle box" or operant conditioning chamber to test the effects of operant conditioning principles on rats, cats and other species. From the study of Skinner box, he discovered that the rats learned very effectively if they were rewarded frequently with food. Skinner also found that he could shape the rats' behavior through the use of rewards, which could, in turn, be applied to human learning as well.

Skinner's model was based on the premise that reinforcement is used for the desired actions or responses while punishment was used to stop the undesired actions responses that are not. This theory proved that humans or animals will repeat any action that leads to a positive outcome, and avoiding any action that leads to a negative outcome. The experiment with the pigeons showed that a positive outcome leads to learned behavior since the pigeon learned to peck the disc in return for the reward of food.

Ratio and interval

In operant conditioning experimentation, research frequently presented reinforcement and punishment based on either time (interval) or number of responses (ratio). They can be fixed and variable by nature. The following descriptions are four common types of ratio and interval schedules:

Classical conditioning

Although operant conditioning plays the largest role in discussions of behavioral mechanisms, classical conditioning (or Pavlovian conditioning or respondent conditioning) is also an important behavior-analytic process that need not refer to mental or other internal processes. Pavlov's experiments with dogs provide the most familiar example of the classical conditioning procedure. At the beginning, the dog was provided a meat (unconditioned stimulus, UCS, naturally elicit a response that is not controlled) to eat, resulting in increased salivation (unconditioned response, UCR, which means that a response is naturally caused by UCS). Afterwards, a bell ring was presented together with food to the dog. Although bell ring was a neutral stimulus (NS, meaning that the stimulus did not had any effect), dog would start salivate when only hearing a bell ring after a number of pairings. Eventually, the neutral stimulus (bell ring) became conditioned. Therefore, salvation was elicited as a conditioned response (the response same as the unconditioned response), pairing up with meat—the conditioned stimulus) [43] Although Pavlov proposed some tentative physiological processes that might be involved in classical conditioning, these have not been confirmed.[ citation needed ] The idea of classical conditioning helped behaviorist John Watson discover the key mechanism behind how humans acquire the behaviors that they do, which was to find a natural reflex that produces the response being considered.

Watson's "Behaviourist Manifesto" has three aspects that deserve special recognition: one is that psychology should be purely objective, with any interpretation of conscious experience being removed, thus leading to psychology as the "science of behaviour"; the second one is that the goals of psychology should be to predict and control behaviour (as opposed to describe and explain conscious mental states); the third one is that there is no notable distinction between human and non-human behaviour. Following Darwin's theory of evolution, this would simply mean that human behaviour is just a more complex version in respect to behaviour displayed by other species. [44]

In philosophy

Behaviorism is a psychological movement that can be contrasted with philosophy of mind. [45] [46] [47] The basic premise of radical behaviorism is that the study of behavior should be a natural science, such as chemistry or physics, without any reference to hypothetical inner states of organisms as causes for their behavior. [48] [49] Behaviorism takes a functional view of behavior. According to Edmund Fantino and colleagues: "Behavior analysis has much to offer the study of phenomena normally dominated by cognitive and social psychologists. We hope that successful application of behavioral theory and methodology will not only shed light on central problems in judgment and choice but will also generate greater appreciation of the behavioral approach." [50]

Behaviorist sentiments are not uncommon within philosophy of language and analytic philosophy. It is sometimes argued that Ludwig Wittgenstein defended a logical behaviorist position [8] (e.g., the beetle in a box argument). In logical positivism (as held, e.g., by Rudolf Carnap [8] and Carl Hempel), [8] the meaning of psychological statements are their verification conditions, which consist of performed overt behavior. W. V. O. Quine made use of a type of behaviorism, [8] influenced by some of Skinner's ideas, in his own work on language. Quine's work in semantics differed substantially from the empiricist semantics of Carnap which he attempted to create an alternative to, couching his semantic theory in references to physical objects rather than sensations. Gilbert Ryle defended a distinct strain of philosophical behaviorism, sketched in his book The Concept of Mind. [8] Ryle's central claim was that instances of dualism frequently represented "category mistakes", and hence that they were really misunderstandings of the use of ordinary language. Daniel Dennett likewise acknowledges himself to be a type of behaviorist, [51] though he offers extensive criticism of radical behaviorism and refutes Skinner's rejection of the value of intentional idioms and the possibility of free will. [52]

This is Dennett's main point in "Skinner Skinned." Dennett argues that there is a crucial difference between explaining and explaining away… If our explanation of apparently rational behavior turns out to be extremely simple, we may want to say that the behavior was not really rational after all. But if the explanation is very complex and intricate, we may want to say not that the behavior is not rational, but that we now have a better understanding of what rationality consists in. (Compare: if we find out how a computer program solves problems in linear algebra, we don't say it's not really solving them, we just say we know how it does it. On the other hand, in cases like Weizenbaum's ELIZA program, the explanation of how the computer carries on a conversation is so simple that the right thing to say seems to be that the machine isn't really carrying on a conversation, it's just a trick.)

Curtis Brown, Philosophy of Mind, "Behaviorism: Skinner and Dennett" [53]

Molecular versus molar behaviorism

Skinner's view of behavior is most often characterized as a "molecular" view of behavior; that is, behavior can be decomposed into atomistic parts or molecules. This view is inconsistent with Skinner's complete description of behavior as delineated in other works, including his 1981 article "Selection by Consequences". [54] Skinner proposed that a complete account of behavior requires understanding of selection history at three levels: biology (the natural selection or phylogeny of the animal); behavior (the reinforcement history or ontogeny of the behavioral repertoire of the animal); and for some species, culture (the cultural practices of the social group to which the animal belongs). This whole organism then interacts with its environment. Molecular behaviorists use notions from melioration theory, negative power function discounting or additive versions of negative power function discounting. [55]

Molar behaviorists, such as Howard Rachlin, Richard Herrnstein, and William Baum, argue that behavior cannot be understood by focusing on events in the moment. That is, they argue that behavior is best understood as the ultimate product of an organism's history and that molecular behaviorists are committing a fallacy by inventing fictitious proximal causes for behavior. Molar behaviorists argue that standard molecular constructs, such as "associative strength", are better replaced by molar variables such as rate of reinforcement. [56] Thus, a molar behaviorist would describe "loving someone" as a pattern of loving behavior over time; there is no isolated, proximal cause of loving behavior, only a history of behaviors (of which the current behavior might be an example) that can be summarized as "love".

Theoretical behaviorism

Skinner's radical behaviorism has been highly successful experimentally, revealing new phenomena with new methods, but Skinner's dismissal of theory limited its development. Theoretical behaviorism [57] recognized that a historical system, an organism, has a state as well as sensitivity to stimuli and the ability to emit responses. Indeed, Skinner himself acknowledged the possibility of what he called "latent" responses in humans, even though he neglected to extend this idea to rats and pigeons. [58] Latent responses constitute a repertoire, from which operant reinforcement can select.

21st-century behavior analysis

The early term behavior modification has been obsolete since the 1990s as it currently refers to the brief revival of methodological behaviorism in the 1970s and early 1980s. [59] [60] [61] Applied behavior analysis—the term that replaced behavior modification—has emerged into a thriving field.

The independent development of behaviour analysis outside the US also continues to develop, In terms of motivation, there remains strong interest in the variety of human motivational behaviour factors, e.g.,. [62] [63] [64] [65] [66] Some, may go as far as suggesting that the current rapid change in organisational behaviour could partly be attributed to some of these theories and the theories that are related to it. [67]

The interests among behavior analysts today are wide-ranging, as a review of the 30 Special Interest Groups (SIGs) within ABAI indicates. Such interests include everything from developmental disabilities and autism, to cultural psychology, clinical psychology, verbal behavior, Organizational Behavior Management (OBM; behavior analytic I–O psychology). OBM has developed a particularly strong following within behavior analysis, as evidenced by the formation of the OBM Network and the influential Journal of Organizational Behavior Management (JOBM; recently rated the 3rd highest impact journal in applied psychology by ISI JOBM rating).

Applications of behavioral engineering, also known as applied behavior analysis or ABA, have been particularly well established in the area of developmental disabilities since the 1960s. Treatment of individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders has grown especially rapidly since the mid-1990s. This demand for services encouraged the formation of a professional credentialing program administered by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc. (BACB) and accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. As of early 2012, there are over 300 BACB approved course sequences offered by about 200 colleges and universities worldwide preparing students for this credential and approximately 11,000 BACB certificants, most working in the United States. The Association of Professional Behavior Analysts was formed in 2008 to meet the needs of these ABA professionals.

Modern behavior analysis has also witnessed a massive resurgence in research and applications related to language and cognition, with the development of relational frame theory (RFT; described as a "Post-Skinnerian account of language and cognition"). [68] [34] [35] [36] RFT also forms the empirical basis for the successful and data-driven acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). [69] [70] [71] [72] [73] [74]

Some of the behavior analytic journals include the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis (JABA), the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior (JEAB), the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management (JOBM), Behavior and Social Issues (BSI), the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science (JCBS), as well as the Psychological Record .

Currently, the US has 14 ABAI accredited MA and PhD programs for comprehensive study in behavior analysis.

Behavior analysis and culture

Cultural analysis has always been at the philosophical core of radical behaviorism from the early days (as seen in Skinner's Walden Two , Science & Human Behavior, Beyond Freedom & Dignity, and About Behaviorism).

During the 1980s, behavior analysts, most notably Sigrid Glenn, had a productive interchange with cultural anthropologist Marvin Harris (the most notable proponent of "cultural materialism") regarding interdisciplinary work. Very recently, behavior analysts have produced a set of basic exploratory experiments in an effort toward this end. [75] Behaviorism is also frequently used in game development, although this application is controversial. [76]

Behavior informatics and behavior computing

With the fast growth of big behavioral data and applications, behavior analysis is ubiquitous. Understanding behavior from the informatics and computing perspective becomes increasingly critical for in-depth understanding of what, why and how behaviors are formed, interact, evolve, change and affect business and decision. Behavior informatics [77] [78] and behavior computing [79] [80] deeply explore behavior intelligence and behavior insights from the informatics and computing perspectives.

Criticisms and limitations

In the second half of the 20th century, behaviorism was largely eclipsed as a result of the cognitive revolution. [81] [82] This shift was due to methodological behaviorism being highly criticized for not examining mental processes, and this led to the development of the cognitive therapy movement. In the mid-20th century, three main influences arose that would inspire and shape cognitive psychology as a formal school of thought:

In the early years of cognitive psychology, behaviorist critics held that the empiricism it pursued was incompatible with the concept of internal mental states. Cognitive neuroscience, however, continues to gather evidence of direct correlations between physiological brain activity and putative mental states, endorsing the basis for cognitive psychology.

List of notable behaviorists

See also

Related Research Articles

B. F. Skinner American psychologist and social philosopher (1904-1990)

Burrhus Frederic Skinner, commonly known as B. F. Skinner, was an American psychologist, behaviorist, author, inventor, and social philosopher. He was the Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University from 1958 until his retirement in 1974.

Operant conditioning is a learning process through which the strength of a behavior is modified by reinforcement or punishment. It is also a procedure that is used to bring about such learning.

Operant conditioning chamber laboratory apparatus used to study animal behavior

An operant conditioning chamber is a laboratory apparatus used to study animal behavior. The operant conditioning chamber was created by B. F. Skinner while he was a graduate student at Harvard University. It may have been inspired by Jerzy Konorski's studies. It is used to study both operant conditioning and classical conditioning.

Reinforcement consequence that will strengthen an organisms future behavior whenever that behavior is preceded by a specific antecedent stimulus

In behavioral psychology, reinforcement is a consequence applied that will strengthen an organism's future behavior whenever that behavior is preceded by a specific antecedent stimulus. This strengthening effect may be measured as a higher frequency of behavior, longer duration, greater magnitude, or shorter latency. There are two types of reinforcement, known as positive reinforcement and negative reinforcement; positive is where by a reward is offered on expression of the wanted behaviour and negative is taking away an undesirable element in the persons environment whenever the desired behaviour is achieved.

Radical behaviorism was pioneered by B. F. Skinner and is his "philosophy of the science of behavior." It refers to the philosophy behind behavior analysis, and is to be distinguished from methodological behaviorism—which has an intense emphasis on observable behaviors—by its inclusion of thinking, feeling, and other private events in the analysis of human and animal psychology. The research in behavior analysis is called the experimental analysis of behavior and the application of this field is called applied behavior analysis (ABA), which was originally termed "behavior modification."

Social learning theory is a theory of learning process and social behavior which proposes that new behaviors can be acquired by observing and imitating others. It states that learning is a cognitive process that takes place in a social context and can occur purely through observation or direct instruction, even in the absence of motor reproduction or direct reinforcement. In addition to the observation of behavior, learning also occurs through the observation of rewards and punishments, a process known as vicarious reinforcement. When a particular behavior is rewarded regularly, it will most likely persist; conversely, if a particular behavior is constantly punished, it will most likely desist. The theory expands on traditional behavioral theories, in which behavior is governed solely by reinforcements, by placing emphasis on the important roles of various internal processes in the learning individual.

The experimental analysis of behavior is school of thought in psychology founded on B. F. Skinner's philosophy of radical behaviorism and defines the basic principles used in applied behavior analysis. A central principle was the inductive reasoning data-driven examination of functional relations, as opposed to the kinds of hypothetico-deductive learning theory that had grown up in the comparative psychology of the 1920–1950 period. Skinner's approach was characterized by observation of measurable behavior which could be predicted and controlled. It owed its early success to the effectiveness of Skinner's procedures of operant conditioning, both in the laboratory and in behavior therapy.

<i>Verbal Behavior</i> book

Verbal Behavior is a 1957 book by psychologist B. F. Skinner, in which he inspects human behavior, describing what is traditionally called linguistics. The book Verbal Behavior is almost entirely theoretical, involving little experimental research in the work itself. It was an outgrowth of a series of lectures first presented at the University of Minnesota in the early 1940s and developed further in his summer lectures at Columbia and William James lectures at Harvard in the decade before the book's publication. A growing body of research and applications based on Verbal Behavior has occurred since its original publication, particularly in the past decade.

The psychology of learning is a theoretical science that covers the various psychological theories that relate with learning. Throughout history, there has been many various psychological learning theories. Some take on a more behaviorist approach which focuses on inputs and reinforcements. Other approaches, such as theories related to neuroscience and social cognition, focus more on the brain's organization and structure to define learning. Some psychological approaches, such as social constructivism, focus more on one's interaction with the environment and with others. Other theories, such as those related to motivation, like the growth mindset, focus more on the individual.

<i>Beyond Freedom and Dignity</i> book by Burrhus Skinner

Beyond Freedom and Dignity is a 1971 book by American psychologist B. F. Skinner. Skinner argues that entrenched belief in free will and the moral autonomy of the individual hinders the prospect of using scientific methods to modify behavior for the purpose of building a happier and better-organized society.

The cognitive revolution was an intellectual movement that began in the 1950s as an interdisciplinary study of the mind and its processes. It later became known collectively as cognitive science. The relevant areas of interchange were between the fields of psychology, linguistics, computer science, anthropology, neuroscience, and philosophy. They used approaches developed within the then-nascent fields of artificial intelligence, computer science, and neuroscience. A key goal of early cognitive psychology was to apply the scientific method to the study of human cognition. Some of the main ideas and developments from the cognitive revolution were the use of the scientific method in cognitive science research, the necessity of mental systems to process sensory input, the innateness of these systems, and the modularity of the mind.

Shaping is a conditioning paradigm used primarily in the experimental analysis of behavior. The method used is differential reinforcement of successive approximations. It was introduced by B. F. Skinner with pigeons and extended to dogs, dolphins, humans and other species. In shaping, the form of an existing response is gradually changed across successive trials towards a desired target behavior by reinforcing exact segments of behavior. Skinner's explanation of shaping was this:

We first give the bird food when it turns slightly in the direction of the spot from any part of the cage. This increases the frequency of such behavior. We then withhold reinforcement until a slight movement is made toward the spot. This again alters the general distribution of behavior without producing a new unit. We continue by reinforcing positions successively closer to the spot, then by reinforcing only when the head is moved slightly forward, and finally only when the beak actually makes contact with the spot. ... The original probability of the response in its final form is very low; in some cases it may even be zero. In this way we can build complicated operants which would never appear in the repertoire of the organism otherwise. By reinforcing a series of successive approximations, we bring a rare response to a very high probability in a short time. ... The total act of turning toward the spot from any point in the box, walking toward it, raising the head, and striking the spot may seem to be a functionally coherent unit of behavior; but it is constructed by a continual process of differential reinforcement from undifferentiated behavior, just as the sculptor shapes his figure from a lump of clay.

In psychology, mentalism refers to those branches of study that concentrate on perception and thought processes: for example, mental imagery, consciousness and cognition, as in cognitive psychology. The term mentalism has been used primarily by behaviorists who believe that scientific psychology should focus on the structure of causal relationships to conditioned and operant responses or on the functions of behavior.

Instinctive drift

Instinctive drift, alternately known as instinctual drift, is the tendency of an animal to revert to unconscious and automatic behaviour that interferes with learned behaviour from operant conditioning. Instinctive drift was coined by Keller and Marian Breland, former students of B.F. Skinner at the University of Minnesota, describing the phenomenon as "a clear and utter failure of conditioning theory." B.F. Skinner was an American psychologist and father of operant conditioning, which is learning strategy that teaches the performance of an action either through reinforcement. It is through the association of the behaviour and the reward or consequence that follows that depicts whether an animal will maintain a behaviour, or if it will become extinct. Instinctive drift is a phenomenon where such conditioning erodes and an animal reverts back to its natural behaviour.

Steven C. Hayes American psychologist

Steven C. Hayes is an American clinical psychologist and Nevada Foundation Professor at the University of Nevada, Reno Department of Psychology, where he is a faculty member in their Ph.D. program in behavior analysis, and coined the term clinical behavior analysis. He is known for devising a behavior analysis of human language and cognition called relational frame theory, and its clinical application to various psychological difficulties, such as anxiety. Hayes also developed a widely-used and evidence-based procedure often used in counseling called acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), which relies heavily on counterconditioning techniques, such as mindfulness, and positive reinforcement.

In operant conditioning, punishment is any change in a human or animal's surroundings that occurs after a given behavior or response which reduces the likelihood of that behavior occurring again in the future. As with reinforcement, it is the behavior, not the animal, that is punished. Whether a change is or is not punishing is determined by its effect on the rate that the behavior occurs, not by any "hostile" or aversive features of the change. For example, a painful stimulus which would act as a punisher for most people may actually reinforce some behaviors of masochistic individuals.

In behavioral psychology, stimulus control is a phenomenon that occurs when an organism behaves in one way in the presence of a given stimulus and another way in its absence. Any stimulus that modifies behavior in this manner is referred to as a discriminative stimulus. Stimulus-based control of behavior occurs when the presence or absence of a discriminative stimulus controls the performance of a particular behavior. For example, the presence of a stop sign at a traffic intersection increases the probability that "braking" behavior will occur.

The behavioral analysis of child development originates from John B. Watson's behaviorism. Watson studied child development, looking specifically at development through conditioning. He helped bring a natural science perspective to child psychology by introducing objective research methods based on observable and measurable behavior. B.F. Skinner then further extended this model to cover operant conditioning and verbal behavior. Skinner was then able to focus these research methods on feelings and how those emotions can be shaped by a subject's interaction with the environment. Sidney Bijou (1955) was the first to use this methodological approach extensively with children.

Psychological behaviorism is a form of behaviorism — a major theory within psychology which holds that generally human behaviors are learned — proposed by Arthur W. Staats. The theory is constructed to advance from basic animal learning principles to deal with all types of human behavior, including personality, culture, and human evolution. Behaviorism was first developed by John B. Watson (1912), who coined the term "behaviorism," and then B. F. Skinner who developed what is known as "radical behaviorism." Watson and Skinner rejected the idea that psychological data could be obtained through introspection or by an attempt to describe consciousness; all psychological data, in their view, was to be derived from the observation of outward behavior. The strategy of these behaviorists was that the animal learning principles should then be used to explain human behavior. Thus, their behaviorisms were based upon research with animals.

James “Jim” A. Dinsmoor was an influential experimental psychologist who published work in the field of the experimental analysis of behavior. He was born October 4, 1921, in Woburn, Massachusetts to Daniel and Jean Dinsmoor. He graduated with his bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College in 1943. Subsequently, he attended Columbia University in New York City, where he received his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees under the mentorship of William N. Schoenfeld and Fred S. Keller. There, he was introduced to the work of B.F. Skinner, whose behavior analytic research inspired Dinsmoor to pursue a lifetime of research in conditioned responding.

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