of the Behaviorismus is a science-theoretical point of view, which takes as a basis that the behavior can be examined by humans and animals with the methods of the natural science. He understands himself thus as a theory of the science about the behavior, the behavior science or behaviour analysis. It became after importantPre-work by Edward Thorndike of John B. Watson at the beginning 20. Century justified and into the 1950er years particularly popularized by Burrhus Frederic Skinner equally as radicalizes. As forerunners of the Behaviorismus Iwan Petrowitsch Pawlow know and its experiments for the conditioning of behavior outstandinglybecome. The term Behaviorismus is derived from the American-English word behavior = behavior. Behaviorismus is not to equate with classical or Operanter conditioning, although these laws were discovered by Behavioristen.

In the USA the advocates of the Behaviorismus were long decades the most influential behavior researchers at the universitiesand decided opponents of at the same time arising psychoanalytischen directions. Also since the 1930er years in Europe from the animal psychology developing Ethologie (comparative behavior research) foot could not seize in the USA because of the there supremacy of the Behaviorismus.

On the realizations of the behavioristischen research various rely behavior-therapeutic proceedings, among other things the so-called systematic desensitization of patients with a Phobie and the treatment of earlychildlike Autismus, in addition, modern straightening of dogs and circus animals. Also programmed learning, language laboratories and the today usual PC programs for the self-instruction of foreign languages are onePractical application of the behavioristischen theory of a science of the human behavior.


like investigated Behavioristen the behavior of humans?

The Initialzündung of the Behaviorismus represents Watsons of famous articles “Psychology as the Behaviorist views it”, in which he expressed himself vehement against the method of the Introspektion then common in the psychology. Watsons a goal was it to justify the psychology as it were again as a natural science. Itexclusively set on the so-called “objective method”, by dividing all behavior into attraction and reaction (English: stimulus response); one calls this form of the Behaviorismus therefore also “molecular” Behaviorismus. As “attraction” he understood each change in the outside environment or inside the individual,been based on physiological procedures, thus for example also a “lack of food”, speak: Hunger; as reaction he understood any activity , is it turning to or way turns of a source of light or the letter of books. By John the B. Watson justified formthe Behaviorismus also “classically” or “methodologischer” Behaviorismus is called.

To the observable behavior at the basis lying physiological procedures are considered to the Behavioristen as uninteresting; from its view they belong to the field of application of the physiologists. The Behaviorist exclusively concentrates on processes, itself between organism and environmentplay. The organism is regarded by the classical Behavioristen as black box.

Skinners Hauptwerk Science and human Behavior (German: Science and human behavior) appeared 1953 in the USA. Contrary to Watson and the methodologischen Behaviorismus Skinner in the so-called “radical” Behaviorismus closed internal-psychological processesthe research of behavior not out. Statements about “mental” or “psychological” procedures could be met however never by outstanding, thus independent observers, but if necessary by the observing individual. React for example a pupil to the question of the teacher unintentionally with a completely mismatching answer, sothe “internal condition” of the pupil frequently spirit absent one call. This writing up does not explain the conditions the inside one the brain in reality however by any means; it is in reality only an additional, graphic description for the incorrect expression of the pupil, thus for those the observer anyway alreadyadmitted reaction the pupil.

The representatives of a behavioristischen science of the behavior therefore demanded that also all procedures, which influence in an experiment on an organism (thus the causes of behavior), with strictly scientific terms to be described are; the psychology must a “accurate science” in the sensea natural science become (whereby Skinner rather at the science term of biology as at that physics oriented itself). This had among other things as a consequence that non-scientific influences on the behavior (for example of “social structures” or of “culture and tradition”) in the studies of the Behavioristen noneRole played, if they are not defined on the level by environmental influences and behavior. The most important means of their research laboratory studies became, since very large control of all factors of influence for the behavior of the test animals and test persons is possible only there, and particularly particularly for behavioristischeSkinner box developed experiments. Besides laboratory studies can be substantially more easily repeated than the open land studies preferred of Ethologen.

the brain - a black box?

The renouncement of consulting internal-psychological procedures for the explanation of behavior, which are not to be described with scientific terms -that by the way also still applies to our present! - brought in continuous violent criticism for the Behaviorismus. That regards the brain as bare black box, which, if an attraction her affects, with a reaction answer automatful. Exclusive analyzing of the connection between inputs and outputsit misjudges however that it gives internal, variable, centralnervously steered drives for behaviors, which became apparent as hunger feeling for example as sexual desire and.

Skinner rejects the “Black box” - metaphor. Mentalisti statements in the kind “it eats, because it is hungry” is after it however noneExplanations for behavior. In science and human behavior he writes: “He eats and he is hungry describes the same fact. (...) The habit to explain an statement by another is in as much dangerous as it arouses the impression that we the cause upthe trace came and therefore not further to search need. “Skinner rejects the conception of a cartesianischen attendant, who steers humans to a certain extent inside the head sitting; humans as a whole individual (“Organism as A whole”) behave in a certain way (“molecularBehaviorismus "), due to the environmental influences, it was subjected to which in its current and past environment and is and due to the environmental influences, its ancestors were subjected to which in the Phylogenese.

historical background

as forerunners of the Behaviorismus apply themselves the rather unknown “objective psychology”,in the German research council end 19. Century not to intersperse knew, as well as the scientific work of McDougall and Iwan Petrowitsch Pawlow. The term Behaviorismus became for the first time 1913 in a specialized essay, which was kind at the same time a communist manifesto, of John B. Watson introduced to the psychology.Watson had experimented at the same time as Iwan Petrowitsch Pawlow with reflexes and at its Reflexologie had tied, with whose assistance Pawlow had already developed a hypothetical physiological explanation for the structure of complex behavior patterns.

Watson held the point of view that an organism only throughon it to get to know knows influencing attractions something over his environment. The possibility of “innate experience” or innate recognizing (like it the classical comparative behavior research investigated) was neglected therefore in the behavioristischen research long time. The term environment is extremely far stretched by Watson, tooan almost magic concept, since expressly also heart impact, Magenknurren, which itself expanding of the filling bladder and similar internal changes in status are defined as environment. From this environmental term then also the conception is due that all behavior - also each behavior disturbance - is due to environmental factors.

The classical Behaviorismusend of the 1920er/at the beginning of the 1930er lost years at meaning, since the explanations of the behavior given by it proved as too simple. The first crisis of the Behaviorismus released thereby became however by the work of Clark L. Cladding overcome of the Yale University.The Neobehaviorismus justified by cladding relied like Watsons of classical Behaviorismus on attraction reaction relations, contained however a sophistizierte theory about attraction reaction chains, which result from classical conditioning (so-called SR psychology). The theory justified by cladding is called systematic behavioral theory and did not contain also acceptance over not directlyobservable hypothetical Konstrukte like e.g. a general drive, in which all energies existing in the organism into a certain time were combined. To Hulls to most important pupils Kenneth W belonged. Spence, John Dollard and Neil E. Miller, the inventor bio feedback.

Despite the remarkableAchievements of the Hull school - their research methodology remained to today the root of the methodology of the scientific psychology - this form of the Behaviorismus was replaced starting from the 1950er years fast by the radicals Behaviorismus from Burrhus Frederic Skinner. A cause for it is that itself thoseHull reason for the effect of reinforcement - the satisfaction of physiological needs - when had proven too closely. In addition the principle of the linkage of attraction reaction on basis of classical conditioning was not sufficient, in order to be able to explain the variety of the behavior completely.

Skinners earnings/services was it, thatTo steer interest of research of attraction reaction chains in the sense of the stimulus Response model away and to the operanten behavior. In the center of the interest any longer respondent behavior mentioned on basis of classical conditioning was not located, but the operante behavior, with which an organism succeeds in affecting its environmentto change and. For the Skinnerianer behavior is therefore mainly not a passive reaction to attractions, but behavior is spontaneously emitted and formed afterwards by its consequences (“selection by consequences”). There Skinner this principle both in the biological evolution of the kind andin the learning history of the individuals equally to works, plays the distinction sees of “innately” and “acquired” for it a subordinated role. He does not deny however by any means that there are both kinds of behavior. In addition Skinner closed also thoughts and feelings, thus what Behavioristen asprivate events designate, not from the scientific view out. On the contrary that consists radicals at radicals the Behaviorismus of understanding and supplying thus to a scientific analysis private events as covered behavior. Skinner sees in this connection that he of the behavior laws, those on the basis observable behavior won, on directly observable behaviors extrapolates, it does not explain this extrapolation however for more useful than the reverse, traditional way, on which by thoughts and feelings on behavior one closes.

Skinners most important research-methodical innovation was the introduction of an apparatus to the quantitative collection of reactions with the help ofthe Skinner box developed by it: the cumulative recording (cumulative records). This seized both the frequency of the reaction, which an organism shows, and the frequency and the times of reinforcement. By this method the view of the behavior researchers of the exact analysis became that one Amplifier guided, on which behavior depends after radical behavioristischer view: Today it is a general place that a behavior arises more frequently if a positively intensifying event (colloquial, but not completely correctly also called reward) follows it; each dog school and each Pferdedressur are based today on theseRealizations. The goal of the experimental behaviour analysis justified by Skinner (experimental analysis OF Behavior or Behavior analysis, see. Web on the left of) consists exactly of, such elementary finding in addition, the more complex behavior laws and beginning it for the forecast and modification of the behavior. One of the more well-known behavior lawsfrom the behavioristischen school Skinners is the Matching Law, which its pupil and successor smelling pool of broadcasting corporations gentleman stone formulated for the first time and to a behavioral theory developed 1961.

Starting from the 1960er and 1970er years the Behaviorismus was replaced increasingly from the cognitivism as prevailing research paradigm in the psychology. In additioncarried among other things the development of the digital computer and its use as model for the human brain as well as realizations from the Ethologie , according to which transmission nevertheless plays a larger explanation value for present behavior. The studies Harry Harlows proved besides that pure Futterdressuren not on allhigher organisms to be transferred can. Also the devastating review of Skinners book verbal Behavior by Noam Chomsky, in which Skinner applied the radical behavioristischen beginning to the speech behavior, stands for the doubt about the load-carrying capacity of the Behaviorismus, beginning at that time, and the turn to the cognitivism. Thatarising cognitivism describes internal-psychological procedures in its simplest form as chain of internal attractions and reactions, without demanding that all must be directly observable these procedures. Interestingly enough it had already given representatives of a cognitive oriented school during the bloom time of the Behaviorismus under its trailers.This cognitive neobehavioristische school is particularly with the name Edward C. Tolman connected.

Also today there are still behavioristisch oriented currents within the psychology. Beside the Behaviorismus of the Skinner coinage several new beginnings, which took up also different aspects of older behavioristischer directions, exist to orthodox radicals,so e.g. Howard C. Rachlins of Teleologi Behaviorismus and John E. R. Staddons of theoretical Behaviorismus. On the other hand the methodologische Behaviorismus in the research program of the scientific psychology came up: Psychologists investigate still almost exclusively the objectively observable behavior for other one (to a large extent however in the response behavior when filling out questionnairesand tests exists) and do not close on this basis on not observable hypothetical Konstrukte like e.g.Extra version or Neurotizismus (from the personality theory of Eysenck). Besides many parts of the modern psychology and Psychotherapie , particularly the behavior therapy , use realizations from behavioristischen research.

Work on []


  • Klaus Jürgen brother: Psychology without consciousness. The birth of the behavioristischen social technology. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt/Main 1982, ISBN 3-518-28015-5
  • William O' Donohue (OD.). HandbookOF Behaviorism. Academic press, San Diego 1998. ISBN 0125241909.
  • John A. Mills: Control: A History OF Behavioral Psychology. New York University press, New York 2000, ISBN 0814756123 (PAPER-bake edition).

see also

Web on the left of

Wiktionary: Behaviorismus - word origin, synonyms and translations

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