Perspectives Paper Essay

Perspectives Paper Julia M. Whitmore PSY/310 University of Phoenix Perspectives Paper Psychological perspectives have changed as the field of psychology has progressed. There are a few perspectives that have core values that have remained steadfast even in today’s pool of theories. John Watson, B. F. Skinner, and Edward Tolman, all had theories that remain the foundation for many schools of thought in psychology today. This paper will compare and contrast these theories. The three different psychologists discussed in this essay were alike and very different in multiple ways.

Watson, Skinner and Tolman all practiced psychology with a behaviorist point of view, and were all thinking along the same lines when it came down to the fundamental reasons as to which we, as people, act and think the way we do. The only differences between them were the small details involved (Wikipedia, 2010). As far as John Watson is concerned, his beliefs all revolve around the classical behaviorist’s thinking. He had the understanding that some sort of connection exists between response and the environment.

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McIntyre believes that, “Prominent researchers identified with this orientation noted that an even that formally did not elicit a behavior (known as a neutral stimulus) can be made to do so by pairing (presenting) it with an unconditioned (already present) stimulus. This newly effective stimulus (and the responses to it) are said to be ‘conditioned’ (trained)”. This goes right along with the thinking of Watson. The theories of John Watson are still in practice at this day in age by contemporary psychologists; they are still relevant.

If there is a patient that has been having a hard time with specific behaviors, there are quite a few psychologists that will attempt to fix the issue with behavior modification. As one example, Sam has a fear of flying in airplanes, even though she has never been in one. Sam wants to resolve this issue so she takes herself to a psychologist to fix this problem. The first step for the psychologist would be to give Sam just a little bit of exposure to an airplane with some pictures of the aircrafts.

Once Sam is comfortable with this step in the process, her doctor will then move onto the next stage, which is more exposure. During this step, Sam’s psychologist will put her into a virtual flight where she is not actually in an aircraft, but is feeling the same sensations as a person would on an actual flight. The psychologist will continue onto the next step as soon as it seems that Sam is at ease with the situation. The third part of the process involves taking Sam to the actual airport, but not putting her on a plane; this way Sam can see the airliner up close and personal.

Fourth comes the actual aircraft. In this stage, Sam will step foot on the plane while it is still grounded. Finally, after all of the previous steps have been completed and all is still well, she will be able to go on a real flight! Watson thought this process of gradually introducing the patient to his/her fear(s) would be a good way to desensitize them, therefore making them unafraid. Skinner, on the other hand had a slightly changed approach from that of Watson. B. F. Skinner believed that all behaviors are a direct result of consequence, whether negative or positive.

McIntyre says, “He rejected the idea of inner causes for behavior, and placed emphasis on observable behavior as opposed to the theorizing, based on unverifiable evidence, often done by others” (Mclntyre ,2003). It was Skinner’s thinking that the coming back of a specific behavior or action was based simply and exclusively on the actual consequence that was given at the point in time in which the actual behavior was existing. He also thought that a schedule of reinforcement could either do something to excel or hold back the development of the behavior that is being done.

If, every time a certain behavior is carried out a reward was presented, there would be a cease in the act. Behaviors still need to be given motivation if they are wanted to be seen in the future (Wikipedia, 2010). People today still are making use of Skinner’s theories, especially when it comes to the training of animals. Many animal teachers are still using what is known as operant conditioning to get the responses they want out of animals. These coaches will take something that comes naturally for an animal and turn it into what we call a solicited behavior. As one example, dolphins jump out of the water.

It is just one of their natural behaviors; they were not trained on how to do it before they knew how. To make use of Skinner’s methods, the trainer will place the dolphin in a controlled environment and reward the dolphin whenever the trainer sees him jump into the air. After a while, whenever the animal jumps out of the water, the teacher will begin to put this together with a gesture, usually a hand movement or a noise, and a treat. Eventually, the dolphin will realize what is going on and will connect the noise or gesture with the action he is making and the reward he receives.

This process has been the conditioning of the dolphin to bring about a specific behavior by stimulation of a reward. The final psychologist discussed is Edward C. Tolman. Tolman was again a psychologist whose main beliefs circled around behavior. He believed that the process of taking in information or learning could occur whether or not a person knows what is going on and without the promise of reward at the end. Tolman tested the majority of his hypotheses on lab rats in mazes with and without rewards, but also did some testing on human beings as well.

His thinking included the belief that we, as people take in information unknowingly. The only time we are made aware of this process is when we find the information to be a necessity. Edward Tolman also thought that one of the main drives of a behavior is motive. If the motive changes, then so will the behavior behind it. Tolman is also well known today because of his creation of the cognitive map. Many professions, even outside of psychology take part in the use of this. Because of this, Tolman was named to be the father of the cognitive theory (Wikipedia, 2010).

All in all, Skinner, Tolman and Watson were all creators, or fathers of psychology in their own ways. Each of them together had wonderful thoughts that put in to create the way we all see the behavioral aspect of psychology modernly. They all had hypotheses that assisted in the production of multiple forms of behavior modification along with the different procedures that are associated with psychology. Even though there are daily expansions on the way we view psychology, the three different theories of Watson, Tolman and Skinner will forever remain at the core of up to date psychology.

References A2zpsychology (2006). Edward C. Tolman (1886-1959). Retrieved on August 20, 2010 fromhttp://www. a2zpsychology. com/great_psychologists/edward_c_tolman. htm B. F. Skinner (2007). In Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved on August 20, 2010 fromhttp://en. wikipedia. org/w/index. php? title=B. _F. _Skinner=173748857 Cognitive Map (2007). In Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved on August 20, 2010 fromhttp://en. wikipedia. org/w/index. php? title=Cognitive_map=171599404 Edward C. Tolman (2007). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

Retrieved on August 20, 2010 fromhttp://en. wikipedia. org/w/index. php? title=Edward_C. _Tolman=170339259 John B. Watson. (2007) In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved on August 20, 2010 fromhttp://en. wikipedia. org/w/index. php? title=John_B. _Watson=172124112 Mclntyre, T. (2003). The History of Behaviorism. Retrieved on August 20, 2010 fromhttp://www. behavioradvisor. com/BehavoristHistory. html Watson, J. , & Rayner, R. (1920). Conditioned Emotional Reactions. Retrieved on August 20, 2010 fromhttp://psychclassics. yorku. ca/Watson/emotion. htm


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