Introduction: There are many hypotheses on what contributes to human behaviour, what makes humans do the things they do and the choices they make. Theorists have used a variety of ways to study the human mind and its relation to human behaviour. Some experiments that were carried out in the past to determine how and why, would not be considered ethical in today’s society, however they have given an insight into the reasoning of different theorist and why they chose to believe that their theory was superior to others. 87Behaviourist Perspective: hypothesis Behaviourism theory is well-known and Watson’s pioneering work, which drew on the works of Pavlov and enabled Watson and other theorists like Thorndike and Skinner, go on to develop classical and operant conditioning and Psychology as the behaviourist views It. It remains to be a significant influence in the study of behaviour to date. The behaviourist approach associated itself with observable behaviour and did not acknowledge approaches that associated itself with the mind.
it dominated experimental psychology until the 1950’s when other approaches, such as humanistic and cognitive were revived. The theory behind the behaviourist approach is that much of all human behaviour is learned from the environment and we are born as blank slates. It is our experiences and interactions after birth that contribute to how we learn. The behaviourist perspective stands on the side of nurture in the Nature/Nurture debate. The main points of Skinner’s theory are that people behave the way they do due to the consequences learned from their actions. An individual’s behaviour is driven by a incentive and could recur or be abandoned based on the outcome.Skinner’s operant conditioning theory, where rats were used to respond to positive reinforcement explained how many aspects of human behaviour could be acquired. He concluded that random animal behaviours can be conditioned through a positive reinforcer.
Quote, A criticism can be made of behaviourism and its use of animals in laboratory experiments. Within the education system today, behaviourist theory can be seen in practice as part of classroom management. Teachers tend to ignore negative behaviour and reward the positive. This reward can be praise, stickers and even giving children an opportunity to take responsibility for certain tasks, not only improving their behaviour but also their self-esteem and confidence.
Studies and programmes for children with special educational needs, e.g.; Early Bird and TEECH and SPELL use positive reinforcement to modify behaviour or teach new skills. Psychodynamic Perspective:Sigmund Freud, a Viennese doctor who specialised in neurology, first developed the basic idea that understanding behaviour requires insight into the thoughts and feelings which influence our actions. Freuds theory of the unconscious mind, is that thoughts, feelings, urges and memories are outside of the consciousness, pain, anxiety, and unpleasant memories are stored in the unconsciousness and this also influences behaviour beyond our control. Freud’s understanding of the mind was largely based on interpretive methods.Freud argued that, childhood experiences play a crucial part in adult development including the development of adult personality. Every child must pass through the psychosexual stages of development; how a child experiences these stages plays a crucial role in the development of their personality.
These five stages contribute to the ego and super ego developing.Cognitive Perspective:Cognitive theorist sees the human mind as a computer, focusing on how the mind stores, processes and interprets the information it receives, research mainly focuses on how our brains process information and research tends to be in laboratory conditions rather than in real-life settings. The cognitive approach to unwanted behaviours and disorders, is that they have been learnt, and so can be unlearned through cognitive behaviour therapy. Jean Piaget is the best known cognitive theorist; his research and theory was developed through observing and questioning children. Piaget believed that children had to go through four of stages of development, the first being the sensorimotor stage whereby babies would make sense of their world through their senses and actions.The pre-operational stage would come next at around 2 -7 years, during this stage children would only be able to focus on one experience or situation at a time and would be typically egocentric.
Their thoughts and language revolved around themselves, it was difficult to see and understand different points of views.By the end of the pre-operational stage children can see other points of views and this was concluded by Piaget and Inhelders three mountains task.During this task children were presented with a model of 3 mountains, the child was positioned on one side and a doll on the other. The children had to choose the picture they thought was the view the doll could see. This study revealed that the children aged 4yr’s almost always choose the incorrect picture, at 6yr’s they would choose a picture different to their own view but was still incorrect and children who were 7 or 8yr’s consistently chose the correct picture from the dolls point of view. Many other studies have been carried out with varying results that challenge Piagets theory, The final two stages ¬¬are the concrete operational, and then the formal operational stage.
As children develop through these 4 stages they are learning by imitating, observing, listening and their own individual experiencesPiagets work is still relevant today and can be seen as fundamental in the classroom today. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), High/Scope and Reggio Emilia approach base learning on children’s interests and key experiences support learning and the role of the adult is to facilitate and extend learning when necessary. Allowing children to determine their own learning. The environment also plays a big part in Humanistic perspective looks at the individual as a whole and promotes concepts such free will, self-efficacy, and self-actualization. Humanistic psychology takes a holistic approach and believes people are innately good.
This perspective strives to help people fulfil their potential and maximize their well-being. The reasoning behind this is that humans choose new ways new develop and learn new things and this is the key motivator to their behaviour.Abraham Maslow hierarchy of needs is known as a theory of motivation and this theory suggests that individual’s actions are motivated in order to accomplish certain goals.
Maslow was interested in understanding what people required to be happy and content and what they needed to do to achieve this.The hierarchy is presented as a pyramid with 5 levels. It starts with basic elements required by all, food, water, sleep and once these needs are met individuals progress to through the stages to the final stage, self-actualization.