Behaviorism From Beginning to End

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    The Evolution of Behaviorism

  • Born: Ivan Mikhailovich Sechenov

    Sechenov studied the phyiology of refelxes laying the foundation for the later study of reflexes, neuroscience, animal and human behavior. He did not believe thoughts cause behavior. Instead, he concluded that both internal and external processes are the response to environmental factors.
  • Born: Ivan Petrovivh Pavlov

    His major contribution to behaviorism is the process classical conditioning. Classicalconditoning is the systematic training of a specific response using a particular stimuli. Pavlov determined that a neutral stimulus can be transformed into a conditoned stimulus to elicit a conditioned response. Neuroses occur when excitatory and inhibitory conditoned reflexes are in conflict. He further concluded that humans respond to symbols of physical events (use of language, words as symbols)
  • Born: Vladimir Mikhailovich Bekhterev

    Bekhterev founded the field of psychoreflexology. He led an objective study of the relationship between environmental factors and overt (observable) human behavior. He criticezed Pavlov's dogs and instead applied the techniques to study human behavior.
  • Born: William McDougall

    McDougall was a contibutor to the study of instinct and social psychology. He was critical of Watson's limited scope in the field and McDougall defined psychology as the science of behavior. Unlike Watson, McDougall valued mental activities and observed them by way of the behaviors exhibited by the subject. He emphasized the purposive nature of behavior.
  • Born: John Broadus Watson

    J.B. Watson was the founder of Behaviorism in America. He believed that all behavior could explained from objective observation. He concluded that all behavior, including thinking, falls into 1 of 4 categories: Explicit Learned and Unlearned and Implicit Learned and Unlearned.
  • Born: Clark Leonard Hull

    Hull was a neobehaviorist most noted for his use of quantitative methods to describe behavior in mathematical terms. His goal was to completely externalize the study of behavior.
  • Born: Edward Chace Tolman

    Tolman is a neobehaviorist best known for his studies in learning behaviors using rats and mazes. His work can be found in books and a series of papers mentioned in this timeline.
  • Pavlov presents his work on Classical Conditioning

    Pavlov presented his paper "The Experimental Psychology and Psychopathology of Animals" at the 14th International Medical Congress in Madrid. He hightlighted his work on Classical Conditioning, Conditioned Reflexes and Reinforcement.
  • Born: Burrhus Fredric Skinner

    B.F. Skinner was a radical behaviorist for the most part; although he relaxed his views as the approach to behaviorism evolved over the years. He is famous for his work on Operant Conditioning and the Functional Analysis of behavior.
  • Thorndike formalizes his Law of Effect

    The Law of Effect states that behaviors that bring a satisfying effect are more likely to recur and behaviors that do not bring a satisfying effect are less likely to recur.
  • Bekhterev publishes the book 'Objective Psychology'

    'Objective Psychology' highlights Bekhterev's belief that complex behavior can be explained through the study of reflexes. He was strongly influenced by Pavlov's dogs.
  • Thorndike publishes the book 'Animal Inteligence'

    'Animal Intelligence' outlines Thorndike's mechanistic and objective theory of learning through observing overt behavior. It also lays the foundation for Connectionism and explains the Puzzle Boxes experiment.
  • Loeb publishes book 'The Mechanistic Conception of Life'

    Loeb's book highlights the concept of Tropism and his findings from his rat experiments related to animal consciousness and associative memory.
  • Watson gives lecture "Psychology as the Behaviorist Views it"

    Watson founds the School of Behaviorism with this speech at Columbia University.
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    Stage One Watson's School of Behaviorism

    Stage One Watson's School of Behaviorism
  • Watson publishes book 'An Introduction to Comparative Psychology'

    In the book, Watson stressed the importance of Animal Psychology to behaviorism and strongly advocated the use of animal subjects in behavioral research.
  • Born: Julian Rotter

    Rotter was a sociobehaviorist best known for his work on Social Learning Theory (a phrase he coined) and his Locus of Control concepts.
  • Watson published "Little Albert" experiment

    The controversial experiment tested Pavlov's classical conditioning techniques using 8 month old Albert as the subject. Baby Albert was confronted with various fuzzy white objects simultaneously with a frighteningly loud clanging pipe. The result was that Albert grew to fear the fuzzy white objects. Watson and others considered this a successful proof of Watson's theory (and Pavlov's!)
  • Born: Alfred Bandura

    Albert Bandura is the David Starr Jordan Professor Emeritus of Social Science in Psychology at Stanford University. He is a sociobehaviorist most famous for his social cognitive theory and his modeling technique. He determined that behaviors are learned through modeling the behavior of those in the environment.
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    Stage Two Neobehaviorism

    Stage Two Neobehaviorism
  • Tolman publishes book 'Purposive Behavior in Animals and Men'

    Tolman introduced his Molar Learning model and defines Purposive Behavior and the concept of the Intervening Variable. He also introduces the idea of Latent Learning based on experiments using rats.
  • Skinner publishes book 'The Behavior of Organisms'

    Skinner establishes his Empty Organism Approach to behaviorism. He also introduces the testing method using Schedules of Reinforcement to study the S-R relationship. Operant Conditioning.
  • Tolman publishes paper "The determinants of behavior at choice points"

  • Tolman publishes book 'Drive Towards War'

    Tolman examines the motivation, or drives, that cause humans to war with one another.
  • Hull pulishes book 'Principles of Behavior'

    This is considered Hull's most important work. He describes his Mechanistic view of human behavior and explains his S-R learning theory. He also introduces his concepts of Drive, the Law of Primary Reinforcement and Habit Strength.
  • Skinner heads Project Pigeon for the US Army

    During Worl War II, Skinner trained pigeons to guide missiles to specific targets. This is an early example of Operant Conditioning used in a real life situation.
  • Tolman publishes paper "Cognitive maps in rats and men"

  • Hull publishes book 'Mathematico: Deductive Theory of Rote Learning: A Study of Scientific Methodology'

    In this book, Hull interprets the S-R relationship in mathematical terms using a formula. He believed that the formula could accurately describe and precdict behavior; he felt the formulas could replace introspection.
  • Tolman publishes paper "There is more than one kind of learning"

    Tolman argues that learning motor skills and problem solving are governed by different laws. This directly refutes the strictly S-R learning theories of Thorndike and Hull.
  • Hull's book 'A Behavior System' is published posthumously

    Hull lays out his entire life's work including his S-R learning theory and his 4th method of objective methodology and quantification, the Hypothetico-deductive Method.
  • Skinner publishes book 'Science and Human Behavior'

    He compiled the book from a series of lectures given at Harvard University in 1947 when he was asked to be the William James lecturer. His lectures elucidated many topics including Behavior Modification, Operant Conditioning and the Law of Acquisition
  • Tolman publishes paper "Principles of performance"

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    Third Stage Sociobehaviorism

    Third Stage Sociobehaviorism
  • Bandura conducts the BoBo Dolls Experiment

    The Bobo Dolls experiment supported Bandura's theory that children acquire behaviors by modeling those behaviors demonstrated or occuring in the emvironment.
  • Rotter publishes monograph on Locus of Control

    In the monograph called 'Generalized Expectancies for Internal Versus External', Rotter explores his Locus of Control concept in real world terms. He also created the Internal-External Locus of Control Scales which are still used.
  • Skinner publishes book 'Contingencies of Reinforcement'

    He wrote this book in response to concerns about the implications of behavioral science for society as a whole. A major issue was the application of Skinner's style of Behavior Modification in mental hospitals, factories, prisons and schools.
  • Skinner publishes book 'About Behaviorism'

    Skinner penned thhis book due to the continued lack of understanding and misrepresentation of his work. He believed that he 'behavior modify' the world into a utopia like place.
  • Bandura publishes book 'Psychological Modeling: Theory and Practice'

    He fully describes and explains his Modeling Theory and the techniques and applications attached to it. Modeling Therapy is a landmark concept still practiced today.
  • Rotter publishes book 'The Development and Applications of Social Learning Theory: Selected Papers

    This tome is a compilation of Rotter's reseacrh, methodolody and techniques, and applications of Social Learning Theory.
  • Bandura publishes book 'Social Foundations of Thought and Action

    Bandura provides the framework for Social Cognitive Theory including topics like Vicarious Reinforcement and Self Efficacy.
  • B.F. Skinner dies

    It is said that Behaviorism, in the traditional sense, dies with Skinner. Sociobehaviorism and other cognitive process friendly approaches will take center stage.