Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
J. M. Blackbourn
While the systematic application of the principles of conditioning are generally attributed to Ivan Pavlov, the Russian physiologist and experimental psychologist, behaviorism is a psychological theory of American origin based primarily upon the work of Edward Thorndike, John Watson, and B. F. Skinner. Behaviorism was a reaction to the European concept of “introspective psychology” and an attempt to conduct a scientific study of human behavior. Behaviorism emphasizes observable and measurable operant behavior (behavior under conscious control by which an individual “operates” on and within the environment), its relation to stimuli (events or conditions immediately preceding a behavior), and consequences (events or conditions immediately following a behavior). According to the theory of behaviorism, stimuli (antecedents) signal a behavior or range of behaviors (behavioral repertoire) that an organism (rat, pigeon, human) could produce (emit) to bring about a specific consequence. Following the specific behavior with a positive (desirable) consequence increases the chance ...