Theories of Edward Tolman, B. F. Skinner, and J. B. Watson.

I will pay for the following article Theories of Edward Tolman, B. F. Skinner, and J. B. Watson. The work is to be 6 pages with three to five sources, with in-text citations and a reference page. John Broadus Watson (1878-1958) made numerous contributions towards the field of psychology. however, his defining moment entailed spearheading the behaviourist school of thought. According to the tenets of his new theory, experimentation and introspection played a pivotal role in understanding and predicting behaviours displayed by humans and animals (Barker, 1997). His interest in understanding the learning process surfaced after reading publications made by Edward Lee Thorndike and Ivan Pavlov. Watson disagreed with Thorndike’s “Law of Effect” principle citing the presence of subjective elements embedded within it as a contradiction to his behaviourist approach of understanding behaviour. However, Pavlov’s work on classical conditioning intrigued him, which led to his investigation of the role of classical conditioning in the development of fear responses (Barker, 1997). With the help of his assistant, Rosalie Rayner, Watson experimented on an eleven-month-old baby named Albert. Initially, the baby was not afraid of the white rat presented to him. However, after Watson paired the white rat’s presentation with the banging of a noisy iron rod severally, Albert reacted in fear. Watson also investigated whether Albert’s fear transcended the white rat whereby, he presented Albert with a fur coat, rabbit and dog, and observed his reactions. He concluded that fear and all other emotions are susceptible to conditioning and are transferrable from one object to another (Barker, 1997).

Classical conditioning is a theory proposed by Ivan Pavlov that explains the learning process in animals and humans. It entails establishing an association between a previously neutral stimulus and an unconditioned stimulus to solicit an unconditioned response from an organism. In the case of Watson’s experiment, the unconditioned stimulus was the noise resulting from the banging of the iron rod whereas, the neutral stimulus was the white rat. After Watson repeatedly paired the two, Albert cognitively associated the noise made by the iron rod when banged with the white rat. Therefore, the presentation of the white rat alone without the accompanying sound made by the iron rod when banged solicited fearful reactions from Albert (Barker, 1997). Based on his findings, it is evident that associations formed via conditioning result in behavioural change, which is the definition of learning. Watson’s experiment proved useful in advertising campaigns, which he designed while working on a part-time basis for J. Walter Thompson, an advertising agency (Hothersall, 1995).

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