Behavioral Theory

Behavioral Theory

Using behavioral theory, identify what happens as individuals move through developmental stages. Address the following in your initial post:

  • How can interruptions in the achievement of developmental stages affect an individual?
  • According to your theory, identify the developmental vulnerabilities that could precipitate mental health symptoms. Behavioral Theory

using APA format Cite three or more references, using at least one new scholarly resource.

Behaviorism started as a reaction against introspective psychology in the 19th century, which relied heavily on first-person accounts. J.B. Watson and B.F. Skinner rejected introspective methods as being subjective and unquantifiable. These psychologists wanted to focus on observable, quantifiable events and behaviors. They said that science should take into account only observable indicators. They helped bring psychology into higher relevance by showing that it could be accurately measured and understood, and it wasn’t just based off opinions.

Watson and Skinner believed that if they were given a group of infants, the way they were raised and the environment they put them in would be the ultimate determining factor for how they acted, not their parents or their genetics. Behavioral Theory

Pavlov’s Dogs is a popular behaviorism experiment. A group of dogs would hear a bell ring and then they would be given food. After enough time, when the bell would ring the dogs would salivate, expecting the food before they even saw it. This is exactly what behaviorism argues—that the things we experience and our environment are the drivers of how we act.


The stimulus-response sequence is a key element of understanding behaviorism. A stimulus is given, for example a bell rings, and the response is what happens next, a dog salivates or a pellet of food is given. Behavioral learning theory argues that even complex actions can be broken down into the stimulus-response.

In the classroom, the behavioral learning theory is key in understanding how to motivate and help students. Information is transferred from teachers to learners from a response to the right stimulus. Students are a passive participant in behavioral learning—teachers are giving them the information as an element of stimulus-response. Teachers use behaviorism to show students how they should react and respond to certain stimuli. This needs to be done in a repetitive way, to regularly remind students what behavior a teacher is looking for.  Behavioral Theory

Positive reinforcement is key in the behavioral learning theory. Without positive reinforcement, students will quickly abandon their responses because they don’t appear to be working. For example, if students are supposed to get a sticker every time they get an A on a test, and then teachers stop giving that positive reinforcement, less students may get A’s on their tests, because the behavior isn’t connected to a reward for them.

Repetition and positive reinforcement go hand-in-hand with the behavioral learning theory. Teachers often work to strike the right balance of repeating the situation and having the positive reinforcement come to show students why they should continue that behavior.  Behavioral Theory

Motivation plays an important role in behavioral learning. Positive and negative reinforcement can be motivators for students. For example, a student who receives praise for a good test score is much more likely to learn the answers effectively than a student who receives no praise for a good test score. The student who receives no praise is experiencing negative reinforcement—their brain tells them that though they got a good grade, it didn’t really matter, so the material of the test becomes unimportant to them. Conversely students who receive positive reinforcement see a direct correlation to continuing excellence, completely based on that response to a positive stimulus Behavioral Theory

Also check: Pathways Mental Health