Critically Evaluate Ways In Which Behaviourist Concepts May Be Incorporated Into More General Theories Such As Social Cognitive Theory. Behaviourism is focused on what individuals actually do rather than what they may be thinking or feeling.
It is difficult to measure the thinking or feeling of individuals. Therefore observing individual behaviour is important because behaviour can be interpreted: this could be achieved through observation in terms of speech, speed of movement and facial expression. Behaviour can be observed directly and interpreted.
Behaviourist theorists have argued that behaviour is environmentally controlled (e.g. B.
F. Skinner)Behaviourist have argued that the way an individual behaves is reinforced from the past, for example, if a child is always behaving good it receives no attention from parents therefore parents will ignore the child, the child will then deliberately misbehave to attain attention from parents. Therefore the child will reinforce this behaviour in the future to gain attention from parents.Behaviour is also associated with rewards and punishments; organisations have a tendency of using rewards and punishment to reinforce individual behaviour. Rewards are used to reinforce good behaviour, for example an employee who is never late, never absent may receive a reward such as a bonus, and therefore this is seen as a good gesture. Other employees may be influenced to reinforce the same behaviour in order to receive a reward. However, good behaviour can be reinforced as well as bad, for example if an employee is always late for work and management are not bothered about the individual, other employees can be influenced to reinforce bad behaviour which results to negative reinforcement.”The reason why a particular outcome reinforces a particular behaviour, it becomes difficult to avoid reference to an individual internal state” (Arnold J, 1998 P32) It could be seen as the individual may want or actually like the outcome to take place, this therefore results to debating on weather they like and want it to happen internally.
Some behaviourists have taken into account the requirement of internal states. Therefore it can be said that reinforcement not only is environmentally controlled however the individual could control it.Behaviourism, with its emphasis on experimental methods, focuses on variables we can observe, measure, and manipulate, and avoids whatever is subjective, internal, and unavailable i.e.
mental. In the experimental method, the standard procedure is to manipulate one variable, and then measure its effects on another. All this goes down to a theory of personality that says that one’s environment causes one’s behavior.However, Bandura wanted to take the study further.
He began to look at personality as an interaction among three “things:” the environment, behaviour, and the person’s psychological processes. These psychological processes consist of our ability to entertain images in our minds, and language. At the point where he introduces imagery, in particular, he ceases to be a strict behaviourist, and begins to join the ranks of the cognitivists. Adding imagery and language to the mix allows Bandura to theorize much more effectively for example, B. F.
Skinner’s research has illustrated, two effects that many people would consider the “strong suit” of the human species: observational learning (modeling) and self-regulation.Bandura was responsible for, one group of study which stands out above the others: the bobo doll studies. He made a film of one of his students, a young woman; essentially beating up a bobo doll, a bobo doll is an inflatable, egg-shape balloon creature with a weight in the bottom that makes it bob back up when you knock him down. The woman punched the clown, shouting “sockeroo” She kicked it, sat on it, hit with a little hammer and shouting various aggressive phrases. Bandura showed his film to groups of kindergardners who liked it a lot.They then were let out to play.
In the play room, there were several observers with pens and clipboards in hand, a brand new bobo doll, and a few little hammers. And you might predict as well what the observers recorded: little children beating the daylights out of the bobo doll. They punched it and shouted “sockeroo,” kicked it, sat on it, hit it with the little hammers; therefore they imitated the young lady in the film, and quite precisely at that.