One of the major reason’s behavior theory is considered to be overcomplicated is that there are several approaches within it (contiguity theory, classical conditioning theory, operant conditioning theory, etc.), each suggesting its own interpretation of stimuli and feedback. According to scholars, learning is often associated with the behavioral view and is understood as a change of behavior resulting from acquisition of new experience (Staddon, 2014).
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I believe that among all parts of this theory, psychological behaviorism interests me most as this branch particularly emphasizes the importance of stimuli to control human behavior, which is applicable in any field of professional activity. It is currently the major theory within psychology, which states that observable behaviors are predetermined by producing both positive and negative reinforcements. I am intrigued by the fact that various genetic, environmental, emotional, and other factors measured by personality tests can predict (with a certain degree of precision) how an individual will behave in this or that situation. This can be applied in a number of settings. For example, creating positive reinforcement in a family may make a child behave better. In classroom settings, a professor can motivate students to boost their performance devising both positive and negative incentives (which I will try to balance if I ever decide to teach). In business, job satisfaction achieved through both financial and non-financial stimuli is now the key component of success.
Another branch that resonates with me is behavior therapy–an umbrella term encompassing all types of treatment of mental disorders. Behaviorism treats human organism as a “black box”, which means that it is unknown what is going on inside it. We can make conclusions only on the basis of the overt behavior. Thus, it is highly important to know how dangerous and self-destructive behaviors can be identified and changed. In criminal justice, the outcome of proceedings often depends on the ability to find out whether the behavior of the prosecuted was malicious or caused by a heat of passion. Besides, the ability of a criminal to rehabilitate after the release is also largely dependent on the success of behavior therapy.
Staddon, J. (2014). The new behaviorism. Abington, UK: Psychology Press.