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History and Systems of Psychology

BEHAVIORISM:Albert Weiss, Edwin Holt, Learning, Canalization, Walter Hunter

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History and Systems of Psychology ­ PSY502
VU
Lesson 18
BEHAVIORISM
Albert Weiss
Albert Weiss was an early behaviorist who was born in 1879 and died in 1931. He was born in
Germany but he came to America when he was very young. He studied and worked for the rest of his life in
America, therefore he is considered to be an American behaviorist.
The era of the behaviorists was the time when man had adopted a rational approach towards
gaining of knowledge and speculation was no more considered as a means for it. This was the time after the
industrial revolution which changed the outlook of mankind completely. Writing on psychology, Weiss
asserted that anything that cannot be studied with the methods of natural sciences should not be a part of
psychology. In other words, anything that is based on mere speculation and cannot be substantiated by
concrete evidences should not be a part of psychological study. In other words psychology should concern
itself only with observable concrete facts and not with elements, structure or functions of consciousness
because these variables are not directly observable. As the Functionalists and Structuralists before the
behaviorists had been trying to develop theories about the structure and functions of consciousness, Weiss
rejected their approach. To him their methods of explaining phenomena were based on speculative studies.
Weiss further stated that psychologists only pretend when they regard introspection as a method of
scientific data collection. This was the method adopted by the schools before the Behaviorists.
One of the important arguments of Weiss is that there are no mental forces apart from
physiological forces which are reducible to physical forces. In other words, all mental forces can be studied
using a physiological approach and not considering them to be extraordinary forces which cannot be
studied through ordinary scientific methods of inquiry.
Another contribution of Albert Weiss is that he also noted the impact of social forces on a person.
He said that every person's behavior is impacted by social forces. This means that the social environment, in
which an individual lives, influences his or her behavior and thinking. Therefore, he regarded human beings
as a product of biological and social factors. He stated that humans are biological and social in nature and
psychology is a bio-social science which focuses on relating the biological processes of learning and human
behavior with the social environment that is responsible for them.
Edwin Holt
Edwin Holt was another early behaviorist who was born in 1873 and died in 1946. He was at two
of the top universities in America; Harvard and at Princeton. He agreed with the contemporary point of
view prevailing on the American continent that psychology should concern itself only with directly
observable facts and data. The speculative methods of learning and exploring were rejected by him like all
other behaviorists. Therefore, he also declared psychology be a scientific discipline which was based on
rationality. Only the facts that could be substantiated should be considered in psychology.
Holt further proposed that psychology should concern itself with behavior, therefore he is also
considered as a behaviorist. According to him, behavior is the result of two factors:
i.  Learning
Learning takes place when an organism is exposed to internal or external stimulation, e.g.
internal stimulation may be hunger, thirst etc. while external stimulation may be heat, coldness
etc. Organism behaves in response to these stimuli.
ii. Canalization
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History and Systems of Psychology ­ PSY502
VU
Further, behavior is also the result of canalization which is what we learn in our childhood.
Childhood experiences influence and produce behavior and in any study of psychology we
must not ignore those childhood experiences.
Walter Hunter
The third early behaviorist was Walter Hunter, born in 1889 and died in 1953. He proclaimed that
he started with dealing in psychology of experience and shifted to psychology of behavior.
He proposed, agreeing with his contemporary psychologists, that psychology should concern itself
with observation of behavior of humans and should not concern itself with the problems of consciousness.
He said that Wundt was partly correct when he studied consciousness as the subject matter of psychology
because consciousness is merely a name used to describe concrete objects in the environment. In other
words, a person's consciousness mostly comprises of objects in his environment, which is a view point
similar to the one given by Weiss. Environment plays a dominant role in determining a person's behavior
and his habits. The prime example relevant here is the impact of the industrial revolution. The example
could be related to the behavior of the psychologists themselves. As the environment of mankind changed
from speculation to rationality and factualism, psychologists also shifted towards scientific outlook. The
need was to have the greatest productivity from the labor force, which was of course related to the study of
behavior. Therefore, psychologists shifted towards the study of behavior. The point remains, that the
environment and social circumstances have a profound impact on the behavior of the individuals which
psychology tends to identify and study.
Hunter chose experimental method as his method of investigation and he is credited with the
development of temporal maze for his experiments. Temporal maze was used to conduct experiments in
which an animal was allowed to find its way around the maze to the food. When the animal had become
familiar with the maze, it would take much less time to reach the food and thus Hunter drew his
conclusions based on these observations. He conducted experiments on delayed reaction time of animals
for which he is known for. He is also considered as a behaviorist because of his scientific outlook and his
emphasis on behavioral approach towards psychology.
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Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION:Methodology, Grading, Course Overview up to Midterm
  2. ANCIENT GREEK PHILOSOPHY/PSYCHOLOGY:Socrates, Plato
  3. GREEK THINKERS:Aristotle, Contiguity, Contrast
  4. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE 5TH TO 12TH CENTURY:Saint Augustine, Avicenna
  5. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE 5TH TO 12TH CENTURY:Al-Ghazali, Ibn-Rushd, Averroes
  6. RENAISSANCE:Rene Descartes
  7. ASSOCIATIONISTS:Thomas Hobbes, John Locke
  8. ASSOCIATIONISTS:David Hume, FRENCH REVOLUTION, Denis Diderot
  9. GERMAN CONTRIBUTION:Wilhelm Liebniz, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Hegel
  10. INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION:RUSSIAN CONTRIBUTIONS
  11. RUSSIAN CONTRIBUTIONS:Ivan Pavlov, Reflex, Acquisition
  12. RUSSIAN CONTRIBUTIONS:Vladimir Bekhterev
  13. IMPACT OF PHYSICAL SCIENCES ON PSYCHOLOGY:Charles Darwin, Gustav Fechner
  14. STRUCTURALIST SCHOOL OF PSYCHOLOGY:Wilhelm Wundt
  15. FUNCTIONALISM:William James, John Dewey
  16. EUROPEAN FUNCTIONALISTS:David Katz, Edgar Rubin, Jean Piaget
  17. BEHAVIORISM:Edward Lee Thorndike, Law of belongingness
  18. BEHAVIORISM:Albert Weiss, Edwin Holt, Learning, Canalization, Walter Hunter
  19. BEHAVIORISM:J.B.Watson
  20. NEO-BEHAVIOURISTS:Clark Hull, Edward Tolman, Edwin Gutherie
  21. NEO-BEHAVIORISTS:B.F. Skinner, Karl Lashley, Donald Hebb, Hobart Mowrer
  22. GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY:Max Wertheimer, Similarity, Proximity, Closure
  23. GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY:Wolfgang Kohler, Kurt Koffka, Edward De Bono
  24. GESTALT SCHOOL AND DYNAMIC PSYCHOLOGY:Kurt Lewin, DYNAMIC PSYCHOLOGY
  25. HISTORICO-EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY:Leon Vygotsky, Sergei Rubenstein
  26. HISTORICO-EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY:Alexei Leontiev, K.M Bykov
  27. SCIENTIFIC LOOK AT MENTAL DISORDERS
  28. SCIENTIFIC LOOK AT MENTAL ILLNESS:Philippe Pinel, Sameul Tuke
  29. SIGMUND FREUD AND THE PSYCHOANALYTIC MOVEMENT:The Superego
  30. SIGMUND FREUD AND PSYCHOANALYTICAL MOVEMENT:Anna Freud
  31. CARL JUNG AND ANALYTICAL PSYCHOLOGY:Carl Gustav Jung
  32. JUNG’S ANALYTICAL PSYCHOLOGY:Carl Gustav Jung
  33. ALFRED ADLER AND INDIVIDUAL PSYCHOLOGY:Alfred Adler
  34. NEO-FREUDIANS:Harry Stack Sullivan, Karen Horney
  35. NEO-FREUDIANS:Karen Horney, Erich Fromm
  36. ERIKSON and MORENO:J.L. Moreno, Protagonist, Audience, Role playing
  37. HUMANISTIC PSYCHOLOGY:Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, Positive Psychology
  38. MODERN TRENDS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENT
  39. MODERN TRENDS IN PSYCHOLOGICAL TREATMENT:Biological Approaches
  40. ANTI-PSYCHIATRY MOVEMENT:D.L. Rosenhan, R.D. Laing, Aaron Esterson
  41. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE THIRD WORLD:Frantz Fanon
  42. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE THIRD WORLD CHINA AND PAKISTAN
  43. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE 21st CENTURY
  44. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE 21ST CENTURY:Consumer Psychology
  45. PSYCHOLOGY IN THE 21ST CENTURY:Sports Psychology, Positive Psychology