From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Psychology (Rated Start-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Psychology, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Psychology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject History of Science (Rated Start-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is part of the History of Science WikiProject, an attempt to improve and organize the history of science content on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, you can edit the article attached to this page, or visit the project page, where you can join the project and/or contribute to the discussion. You can also help with the History of Science Collaboration of the Month.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Philosophy (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Philosophy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of content related to philosophy on Wikipedia. If you would like to support the project, please visit the project page, where you can get more details on how you can help, and where you can join the general discussion about philosophy content on Wikipedia.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Cognitive science (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Cognitive science, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Cognitive science on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Autism  
WikiProject icon Behaviorism is within the scope of WikiProject Autism, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of all aspects of autism and Autistic culture on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.

I found this article on behaviorism to be very helpful and informative in showing how it has become a more general theory in todays time. I would have liked to see more information that shows some of the negatives and criticisms that come with analysis of this behavior. Allisoj3 (talk) 01:39, 4 December 2012 (UTC)

Having Behavior Analysis, a scientific discipline, redirect to Behaviorism (and not even Radical Behaviorism at that) makes no sense. Behavior Analysis is a research discipline that has nothing to do with Pavlov, Watson or any historical philosophy or other behaviorisms (and I am not kidding, really).

See The Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis or the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior and tell me if they look even close to philosophy.

Please make Behavior Analysis it's own page, or have the decency to redirect it to Radical Behaviorism which is, at least, the philosophy that parallels Behavior Analysis.

It is a mistake to cluster all the behaviorisms together. Read Mecca Chiesa's Radical Behaviorism: The Philosophy and The Science and you'd see what a mistake it is to pretend there is much to unite the Behaviorisms except the most superficial qualities. This is the same mistake Chomsky makes in his inept review of Verbal Behavior.

--Florkle 08:59, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

Wow. Very nice edit of Behaviorism,!

Arthur 18:42 Jan 22, 2003 (UTC)

Reverted move to Behavior Analysis. Behaviorism is by far the more common name, and it is also more general; Behavior analysis is a term used essentially by subscribers to Skinner's radical behaviorism, and connotes that particular flavour of behaviorism. There are several other flavours, and this article should and does them all - it did last time I looked at it. Trying to make the article cover one flavour only offends against Wikipedia's NPOV rules. If we need a specific article on Skinnerian behaviourism, it should either be under radical behaviorism or under the experimental analysis of behavior, both of which we have. Furthermore, "behavior analysis" and "behavioral science" are in no way synonyms for behaviorism; behaviorism is an approach to psychology, behavior analysis and behavioral science are terms for a field of study, which may or may not be coterminous with psychology. seglea 06:08, 21 Mar 2004 (UTC)

The way the page is now, behaviorism is based upon a proposition that EVERYONE agrees with ("the proposition that behavior is interesting and worthy of scientific research"). That's neither informative nor interesting. It makes it look like everyone but everyone is a behaviorist.

Please sign your comments, so that a discussion can go on intelligibly. If you haven't got a username, it doesn't take a moment to get one.
Would that it were true that everyone agreed that behaviour is interesting and worthy of scientific research... It wasn't true in William James's time, and it isn't true now: try talking to some transpersonal psychologists, for example, or a good many cognitive scientists. seglea 04:02, 22 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Bandura's social learning theory[edit]

One crucial behaviourist theory which is ignored is Bandura's study on SLT. He used it to explain learned behaviour, aggression and other sorts of behaviour. On the whole, I reckon this is an omission, deliberate or no. How do people feel about including this theory on the page? (I am appealing to expert psychologists here)

I'm a student and I agree, so I added a mention of it to the Approaches section. Molindo 20:15, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Much of Bandura's work does not qualify as behavior analytic work. He appeals to inner, mental states as the causative agents of behavior frequently. A lot of his social learning work does not place importance on the consequences of socially learned behavior. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:40, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

Bandura is not a behavorist and his theory has nothing to do with bahaviorism. Even thought it tries to explain behavior. Bandura is a key figure in the cognitive developement. Explaining bahavior with reference to the inner self. Skinner and the like would turn in their grave if they knew about this.Buibjarmar (talk) 14:01, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Change in references[edit]

See [1]

Is this vandalism or a correct change? Suspicious since made by anonymous editor and date changed to 2005. Enochlau 12:13, 16 August 2005 (UTC)

Watson was a "S-R" Psychologist; Skinner an "S-R-S" Psychologist -- The Critical "S" is the one after the "R"[edit]

It's misleading to say that B.F. Skinner was a "disciple" of John B. Watson -- though it is true that Skinner, a very loyal person, defended Watson throughout Skinner's long career. It is more apt to speak of Clark Hull of Yale University, and his disciples, e.g. John Dollard and Neal Miller, as "disciples of John B. Watson."

Skinner characterized the stimulus-response psychology of Watson and his intellectual offspring as a kind of "push button" analysis, derived from the strictly "push-pull" causation found in traditional (though possibly not post-Einsteinian) physical science. In a very important paper published in "Science," in the early 1980s, "Selection by Consequences," Skinner provided a brief intellectually rigorous elaboration of a kind of causation he claimed affected living matter -- and only living matter -- in addition to the "push button" causation adapted from physics and chemistry by the descendents of Pavlov and Watson.

Thomas Henry Huxley, Darwin's bulldog, in one of his many essays seems to depart from his intellectual mentor when he states his admiration for Rene Decartes (See and any other of his essays where Huxley mentions Descartes, cf. Vols I through 9, bottom of that page.) And indeed, in one of those essays, Huxley recognizes that the mechanistic causes and effects of physical science rendered the traditional materialist helpless to explain "consciousness" or "mind." Another kind or order of causation was needed.

The characterization of B.F. Skinner as an "S-R-S" psychologist is found in "Skinner for the Classroom," a very valuable compilation of Skinner's papers by Robert Epstein, a tireless scholarly protegé of this critically important scientist, thinker, and culture critic. Another very valuable link is this 60 minute RealPlayer rendering of a speech, "On Having a Poem," which Skinner gave at the Poetry Center in Manhattan just a few weeks after "Beyond Freedom and Dignity" was published:

According the Skinner, the S-R formulation ( "respondent conditioning") of Pavlov and Watson works well for analyzing the action of the smooth muscles and glands; the activity of the striated musculature requires a different, "operant analysis"; "operant conditioning" is what is referred to by the "S-R-S" designation; it covers every thing from a walk across the room to an casual conversation, and to the most abstruse mathematical analysis or the most sublime poem -- but not as recorded conversations, mathematics, or a poem on a page, but as things done.

R.S. Peters, a mid-twentieth century scholarly expert on Thomas Hobbes, once wrote that Hobbes was the "great metaphysician of motion." B.F. Skinner might be said to have been the "great metaphysician of consequences" (or "results") -- except that he was convinced that philosophy -- and metaphysics especially -- were a great waste of time and a fatally tempting digression from the true Baconian scientific precept of "reading nature, not books."

But it is still fair to say I think that the most potent "S" in Skinner's "S-R-S" psychology is the final one: the consequence or result -- a result furnished by an selectively active environment. (This, incidently, is not teleology or "future causation" -- living creatures only "work for" results because of a history of having do so successfully in their history, in a context of the selective action of their environment; or, if not for that reason, then that of their species' history under the contingencies of Darwinian natural selection.)

first link to Association, is this the intended page?[edit]

the first association link takes you to "Classical Conditioning" wouldn't

Association (psychology)

be better?

A few notes - I don't want to start an edit war, but just a few things about this article are fairly bizarre, in particular at the beginning. I'm not going to attempt to hack this up too much, at least not until there has been some time for others to discuss thoughts (below).

"One of the assumptions of behaviorist thought is that free will is illusory"

Who says? Which behaviorists? There is no slate on which is written the requirement that a behaviorist must believe that free will is illusory. You can be a compatibilist, for example, and believe that free will is totally legitimate (just not dualistic). Daniel Dennett does not identify as a behaviorist, for example, but others call him one, and it is hard to argue that he is ENTIRELY unlike a behaviorist, especially on issues like determinism - and he wrote "Freedom Evolves," which is very much a compatibilist work. That means he does not say free will is illusory, he just says it's something nonmagical. You can argue whether compatibilism is really possible or desirable, but it just isn't right to use the article on behaviorism to editorialize on these things. Go hack on articles about free will or compatibilism where it is more directly relevant. Free will is really not crucial to any variety of behaviorism I know of.

"Some behaviorists argue simply that the observation of behavior is the best or most convenient way of investigating psychological and mental processes."

Maybe this is true (although it is awfully weaselly; who specifically says this?) However, the article then goes on to discuss EAB, conveniently omitting the E (that's for Experimental.) Skinner, for one example, makes much of the difference between his approach and what he calls "structuralism," emphasizing that his "structuralism" rests on mere-observation and does not involve causal manipulations involved in an experiment. You could maybe justly say that Skinner is beating a straw man, but it certainly is the case that behaviorists (in psychology at least) tend to emphasize experiment, and not just observation. So, perhaps this statement needs to get specific about who is observational, or talk about experimental approach rather than observational one (as this would pretty accurately span from Watson through Tolman, Spence, Skinner, blah blah blah - in general little work in experimental psychology has been purely observational)

Re: Versions. Okay, I don't want to be too harsh, but we seem to have here, for each of a small collection of behaviorisms, a collection of disconnected adjectives a little reminiscent of a wine review. In the description of Theoretical Behaviorism, for example, is the word "dynamic." What does that mean here? Is dynamic an aspect of a philosophy of the science of behavior known as behaviorism, or are theoretical behaviorists dynamic sorts of people, or what? Or maybe theoretical behaviorism as a research project is associated with an interest in dynamic theories, as opposed to static ones like matching.

The opening of the article currently emphasizes "not to be confused with behavioralism in political science." Maybe this is necessary, but if we buy it then we certainly shouldn't later say "Behaviourism has been criticised within politics as it threatens to reduce the discipline of political analysis to little more than the study of voting and the behaviour of legislatures." To my awareness, psychological behaviorism has nothing direct to do with voting behavior or the behavior of legislatures, and behavioralism does. The subsequent rant against behavioralism and about the claim that it is "value free" is not only a rant, but is off topic in an entry on behaviorism.

Toward the end - "what is needed is an understanding of the real-time dynamics of operant behavior, which will involve processes at both short and long time scales." I agree, but this is pretty clearly editorializing. Is that you, JERS?

- yours truly,


I think there should be a section on Criticism of the Behaviorial school?

Probably. Feel free to add one so long as you can add some references. Molindo 20:16, 22 April 2006 (UTC)
I agree. Chomsky has some serious issues with it.
Chomsky simply didn't understand what Skinner was saying. That said - I agree - should be a section on criticism.
I think the focus on external observable behavior while completely discounting the internal processes was criticized. Andries 20:29, 26 October 2006 (UTC)
Didn't behaviorism collapse from the inside out?-- 14:08, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
Shockingly there are still behaviorists alive today ;)Ratinabox (talk) 21:27, 19 June 2009 (UTC)

Alfie Kohn's 'Punished by Rewards...' holds plenty of criticisms against what he calls 'popular behaviorism' and people's lighthearted misuse of the concept, i.e rewards/punishments. If the criticism section comes up, his work should be mentioned, imo.

Alfie Kohn's criticisms are quite interesting and should be taken into accountability. He asserts that you simply cannot motivate people but only maximize conditions which increase the individuals natural interest. He then goes on to explain the three C's of motivation which are also interesting. I think that having some section addressing Kohn's analysis would be helpful to add to the sectionAllisoj3 (talk) 00:08, 10 December 2012 (UTC)


Hi everybody, if you look at the history page of this article, you can see there is a lot of vandalism since few days. Maybe we could block unregistered users for a while, i don't know how...What do you think about this idea? Frédérick Lacasse 13:34, 8 December 2006 (UTC) (P.S. I a bit new that's why i ask questions instead of doing things by myself)

Language/Verbal Behavior[edit]

I suggest adding a sentence about Kenneth MacCorquodale's 1970 paper On Chomsky’s Review of Skinner’s Verbal Behavior (Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, volume 13, pages 83–99). Skinner didn't reply to Chomsky's review, but someone did. Milktoast 07:14, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

Article needs a better definition[edit]

The article starts with Behaviorism is an approach to psychology based on the proposition that behavior can be studied and explained scientifically without recourse to internal mental states. Is there a way this can be defined more clearly and lucidly, without resorting to a slew of indirect references and prepositions? After all, this is the very first sentence of the article. - 17:29, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

"Wittgenstein was not a behaviorist"[edit]

This assertion needs a cite or it needs to be removed. I'm not saying Wittgenstein was a behaviorist, but I am saying the matter is up for debate (and therefore needs to not be stated so categorically one way or the other in this article).

Good point, I think that the influence of behaviorism in philosophy and the philosophy of science need be clarified in even the scholarly literature on the subject. --Kenneth M Burke 18:53, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Behaviorism is not allowed to resort to internal physiological events?[edit]

The second sentence reads:

The school of psychology maintains that behaviors as such can be described scientifically without recourse either to internal physiological events or to hypothetical constructs such as the mind.

That does not seem accurate to me. I know I've recently read in a behaviorist text that changing skin conductances are a behavior (arguably not "internal"), and I do not believe that they have any objection to fMRI, etc. I suggest that this sentence be changed to simply:

This school of psychology maintains that behaviors as such can be described scientifically without recourse to hypothetical constructs such as the mind.

Thoughts? Ben Hocking (talk|contribs) 19:52, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Can you explain a little more? It seems to me that schools of psychology today are less definable in such a way (rather, misunderstood or more broadly defined). If a text is "behaviorist," it may not necessarily be a behavioral science as the article discusses the school of psychology. Just because it is interested in human behavior does not mean it is necessarily "behaviorism." I have not been involved in this page except for some copy editing, but I believe that I could find a cited source to support how the article reads (at least for behaviorism at its origins). If the text you note is a contemporary "behaviorism" that suggests the change of assumptions, then maybe you could note it accordingly. But, certainly I'm no expert. --Kenneth M Burke 21:03, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
I don't have the text with me, but it is a text for a course in applied behavioral analysis (that my wife is taking), so I suppose that would be radical behaviorism. That does still qualify as behaviorism, though, right? (That's a sincere question.) Ben Hocking (talk|contribs) 21:54, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Applied behavior analysis to my knowledge does have its origins with "behaviorism" and "radical behaviorism;" but certainly I would think it has come along way from those theoretical origins as an applied discipline. At least, I hope it has. It would be interesting to further research it, the correlation and to what extend behaviorism influenced ABA. For example, to what extent do ABA methods in therapy for autism actually account for what they know about biological states of an autistic mind? If you feel the article is misleading, I think a change or at least disclaimer is agreeable. Maybe someone more knowledgeable than myself can help. --Kenneth M Burke 00:43, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
The issue discussed here is philosophical and historical. Skinner argued (ca. 1938) that psychology needs not refer to internal events in order to be a complete science. Internal events here means physiological events. This is generally misunderstood to mean mental events. The reason for the debate was the inadequacy of physiological knowledte at the time. Skinner adapted a non-reductionist position, arguing that a behavioral account is not less true than a physiological one, it's just at another level of explanation. The original text on beahviorism reiterated the common misunderstanding that behaviorism rejects inner events and that inner events is the same as mental events. roffe (talk)

Clause doesn't seem to make sense[edit]

"some would say it as true"? AnonMoos 02:32, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Anon comment[edit]

The irony is that Skinner was such an over-the-top behaviorist only because being such got him lots of attention. That'd be a behaviorist interpretation, anyway.

Anyway, where is the criticism section on the soulless, patently absurd nonsense that is behaviorism? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Did you have a specific criticism or suggestion? If you have reliable sources to back up your claims, feel free to add them. WLU (talk) 19:11, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Are you saying it is absurd because it is a naturalistic approach to psychology, rejecting free-will and inner-determinants? If so, that's fine. I'll repeat what I mentioned further down the page. The notion that anything is of a "mental" substance is rediculous. Rather, the behaviorist would view these suppossed "mental" events as behavior and, as such, take them into account as setting factors along with the external environment that influence psychological events. See Hayes, Barnes-Holmes, and Roche (2001). Relational Frame Theory: A Post-Skinnerian Account of Human Language and Cognition...that should give you a good start. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Static7181 (talkcontribs) 18:18, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Comments on attachment theory?[edit]

I wonder whether someone would come to the Attachment theory article and insert into the criticism section some discussion of the behaviorist view of attachment. Particularly, can someone comment on whether the behaviorist view is argued to be a better predictor of behavior than the nativist view, or is it simply argued to be as good, and more parsimonious?Jean Mercer (talk) 15:13, 23 April 2008 (UTC)


I get the impression that radical behaviorism has pretty much been discredited by modern psychology, which has studied internal mental constructs in detail. Would it be appropriate to mention this in the article? -- Beland (talk) 01:01, 21 June 2008 (UTC)

I believe on education, people (academics) use more Constructivism (psychological school) than Behaviorism. Tosqueira (talk) 06:18, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

Behavior analysts view the suppossed "internal mental" phenomena as behavior like any other. There isn't anything "mental" about it. For a good start on this issue, see Hayes, Barnes-Holmes, and Roche (2001). Relational Frame Theory: A Post-Skinnerian Account of Human Language and Cognition. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Static7181 (talkcontribs) 18:11, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Practice (learning method)[edit]

I believe it is basically Behaviorism. Tosqueira (talk) 06:18, 13 September 2008 (UTC)

That is your personal opinion, and is not justification for the merging of these articles. Even if the theory of practice were based off of behaviorism, it is a distinct phenomenon that merits its own page in accordance with the wiki guidlines. I suggest that someone take down your template, although I will not do so myself, as I do not wish to sink to your level of forcing my opinions on others in what should be an unbiased medium. Utmostevil (talk) 17 December 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:14, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Behavior Analysis and Culture[edit]

Cultural analysis has always been at the philosophical core of Radical Behaviorism from the early days (As seen in Skinner's Walden Two, Science & Human Behavior, Beyond Freedom & Dignity, and About Behaviorism.)

During the 1980s, behavior analysts, most notably Sigrid Glenn, had a productive interchange with cultural anthropologist Marvin Harris (the most notable proponent of "Cultural Materialism") regarding interdisciplinary work. Very recently, behavior analysts have produced a set of basic exploratory experiments in an effort toward this end [1] Link to article:[2] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Static7181 (talkcontribs) 18:07, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

Behaviorism is a Philosophy of Science[edit]

I think it is incorrect to describe behaviorism as "a philosophy of psychology". Behaviorists can be found in psychology, anthropology, sociology and other sciences. Behaviorism should therefore be described as "a philosophy of science", and then the schools of psychology that embrace behaviorism can be listed and described. Greg987 (talk) 05:24, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Behaviourism in philosophy of mind[edit]

There's only a small section on this. Perhaps a subarticle could be created, e.g. Behaviorism (philosophy of mind)? We spent a while on this in the philosophy of mind course I'm doing and the Jackson/Braddon-Mitchell text has a whole chapter on it, not to mention surely numerous whole books on the subject. Richard001 (talk) 11:10, 22 October 2009 (UTC)


The second phase of behaviorism, neobehaviorism was associated with Edward C. Tolman, Clark Hull, and B. F. Skinner. Like Thorndike, Watson, and Pavlov, the neobehaviorists believed that the study of learning and a focus on rigorously objective observational methods were the keys to a scientific psychology. Unlike their predecessors, however, the neobehaviorists were more self-consciously trying to formalize the laws of behavior. They were also influenced by the Vienna Circle of logical positivists, a group of philosophers led by Rudolph Carnap, Otto Neurath, and Herbert Feigl, who argued that meaningful statements about the world had to be cast as statements about physical observations. Anything else was metaphysics or nonsense, not science, and had to be rejected. Knowledge, according to the logical positivists, had to be built on an observational base, and could be verified to the extent that it was in keeping with observation.

Read more: Behaviorism - Neobehaviorism (1930–1955)


Some of the journals include but others don't include? For ****'s sake with this sick use of the word "include". -- (talk) 20:09, 2 April 2010 (UTC)


Behaviorism is a theory of learning based upon the idea that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning. Conditioning is a behavioral process where a response is more frequent or predictable in a given environment. There are three types of behaviorism. There is methodological behaviorism, psychological behaviorism, and analytical behaviorism.

Graham, George, "Behaviorism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2010 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). <>.

Ldahotboyg (talk) 21:55, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Behaviorism is not focused on internal processes such as feelings, thoughts, and emotions. Instead it is focused on what can be observed which includes any actions of the living being or it's environment. Anything that can be seen with the human eye is the basis of which behaviorism uses to study and draw conclusions.

Boeree, D. C. (2000). Behaviorism. Retrieved April 16, 2012, from Shippensburg University:

Kasobus (talk) 04:14, 23 April 2012 (UTC)


According to behaviorism, individuals response to different environmental stimuli shapes our behaviors. Behaviorists believe behavior can be studied in a methodical and recognizable manner with no consideration of internal mental states. Thus, all behavior can be clarified without the need to reflect on psychological mental states.

Graham, George, "Behaviorism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2010 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.). Web. 15 Apr 2012. <>.

Leesville70 (talk) 07:39, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

Classical Conditioning[edit]

Would it be appropriate to add a small section on classical conditioning as an aspect of behaviorism?

Would it be appropriate to add a small section on operant conditionign as an aspect of behaviorism? After all there are two types and honorable mentions, such as Pavlov, contributed to this type of conditioning during their research. Matlin372 (talk) 18:40, 26 April 2012 (UTC)

Nichol23 (talk) 14:29, 23 April 2012 (UTC)


Would it be appropriate to add this to the philosophy section of the Behaviorism article?

Behaviorism as described here is, in a broad sense, all of the following things. Firstly “Psychology is the science of behavior. Psychology is not the science of mind.”(George) Secondly “Behavior can be described and explained without making ultimate reference to mental events or to internal psychological processes. The sources of behavior are external (in the environment), not internal (in the mind, in the head).(George) Lastly “In the course of theory development in psychology, if, somehow, mental terms or concepts are deployed in describing or explaining behavior, then either (a) these terms or concepts should be eliminated and replaced by behavioral terms or (b) they can and should be translated or paraphrased into behavioral concepts.”(George) In order to more fully understand the previous examples the following sentences will further break their concepts down into a more simplistic material. The first statement is alluding to the idea that Psychology is not about the study of the mind but it is rather a study of behavior. The second statement is in reference to the theory that when behavior is being addressed in reference to human beings, it can be described and understood without definitively alluding to specific mental/psychological processes. The last statement summarizes, what appears to be a note of good practice, the simplification of psychological terminology when referencing a humanistic behavior into something which merits behavioral

Here is the source.

George, Graham. "Behaviorism." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford, 2010. Web. 17 Apr 2012. <>.

Briandnorton (talk) 20:04, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

Operant Conditioning[edit]

There should be a section about operant conditioning as an aspect of behaviorism. B.F. Skinner and his work on operant conditioning has impacted behaviorism greatly in the past century. The section could also mention how it is used education and parenting and a few experiments Skinner has done.

This is part of a college course at the University of South Carolina so please share if you have any recommendations or comments.

Kylewagner2 (talk) 00:53, 5 December 2012 (UTC) Haineyt (talk) 19:18, 6 December 2012 (UTC)

Behaviorism in Education[edit]

This is part of a college course to submit onto the talk page.

Although, at this time, behaviorist teaching, or rather direct instruction is getting criticism for use in general education it still has a practical use. One example is modeling. Modeling can be extremely useful for many students. It has been shown that modeling or the act of explaining and demonstrating each step, is great for students with learning disabilities. If the educator is aware of their student’s strengths and weaknesses in learning, they can have successful classrooms with students progressing through the curriculum. There is also another instructional technology field of behaviorism. Precision teaching is repetition training and constant student monitoring to organize a skill base that makes harder activities easier to learn by students and ultimately progressing through a curriculum. This style of learning is ideal for students with Autism. [2] [3] Haineyt (talk) 19:18, 6 December 2012 (UTC) Kylewagner2 (talk) 16:38, 10 December 2012 (UTC)

Outdated vocabulary[edit]

There is several issues to this article.
First of all, behaviorism does NOT exist anymore.
It was developed by John B. Watson and refers to classical conditioning.
The lead should be placed in the history section, and the article name should be changed to Behavior Analysis.
Behavior Analysis is what is used today. It refers to the subject of operant conditioning.
It should say in the lead section:

Behavior analysis, formerly known as Behaviorism, uses operant conditioning to change behavior. It is a behavioral science to psychology that has been around for nearly a century. In the 1930s, behavior analysis was developed by B. F. Skinner who also devised Radical behaviorism (now known as the Experimental analysis of behavior) which consists of research in the field of behavior analysis. Behaviorism was developed in the 1890s by John B. Watson and is a previous term referring to changing behavior through classical conditioning.

In the 1960s through the 1990s, the application to behavior analysis was called behavior modification. Today, the application of behavior analysis which uses "global technology" and an examination through functional assessments is referred to applied behavior analysis (ABA).

ATC . Talk 01:37, 28 April 2013 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but a number of those statements are incorrect in whole or in part. B. F. Skinner is still pretty widely read today, although hardly anybody accepts his views. He always referred to his approach, including the theory of operant conditioning, as Behaviorism, and for modern purposes Behaviorism could just about be defined as the approach he promoted. Behaviorism, as Skinner framed it, includes (1) a philosophy, (2) a theory of learning, (3) a methodology. "Behavior analysis" really only refers to the methodology, so it is not the same thing. "Radical behaviorism" is mostly used to refer to the philosophy, although sometimes more broadly. And John Watson was only 22 years old at the end of the 1890s and certainly did not develop Behaviorism during that decade. Looie496 (talk) 02:16, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
I did not say that B. F. Skinner is not widely read today. But he referred to his method as "Radical behaviorism". Then he published in a journal article one day discussing that he and his colleagues would not like to be called "radical behaviorists" and retitled it to the Experimental analyst of behavior, a form behavior analysis. But B.F. Skinner did not develop behaviorism. He developed Behavior analysis, Operant conditioning, radical behaviorism, and verbal behavior. When he first came out, he used the term "behaviorism" but later on the term has vanished from his vocabulary. Do you have sources? That may help. ATC . Talk 04:09, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
Also Behaviorism has been called behavior analysis for countless years. And for 17 years, Behavior modification has been called ABA. Some researchers still publish the term "behavior modification" in studies which confuses people because the researchers do not understand behavior analysis. The authors that first defined ABA in 1987 had the same definition as behavior modification, just worded differently. Take care. ATC . Talk 04:12, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
I don't think it can be said that Skinner dropped the term from his vocabulary, given that he wrote a book called About Behaviorism when he was 70, a book called Reflections on Behaviorism and Society when he was 74, and the second volume of his autobiography, The Shaping of a Behaviorist, when he was 75. The first of those is highly recommended for a clear expression of Skinner's views. The term "radical behaviorism" was used by other people to characterize Skinner's views -- as far as I know, he never used it himself. Looie496 (talk) 04:36, 28 April 2013 (UTC)
Direct instruction, from the Philosophy of Behaviorism', is still in use and advocated for Early learners. Behaviorism is a philosophy not Instructional theory. The applicable Instructional theory is Pedagogy.Stmullin (talk) 00:46, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on behaviorism, psychological behviorism not the same thing as philosophical behaviorism. Just because both use the same term does not mean it is means the same thing in each case or is part of the same work/line of inquiry/theory. Following the to SEP entry, I would not place operant conditioning (or its kin) in the same article as logical positivism or Wittgenstein, except only to talk about how the latter might have influenced the former, if that case can even be made through verifiable sources.--Lhakthong (talk) 14:36, 22 July 2013 (UTC)
Linguistics is a major hurdle in these discussions . . . the term Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Humanism, and Constructiveism have very different implications in Learning theory (education) where Behaviorism as Direct Instruction is used to provide schema in the lower grades such as memorizing multiplication tables. That does not suggest the the teachers have any less concern for the emotional development of the child . . . just that rote memorization is necessary to learn multiplication tables.Stmullin (talk) 21:27, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

Doubts concerning new edits on Applied Behavior Analysis[edit]

I'm pretty dubious about the massive edits that took place today. My impression is that this article is being hijacked to promote some sort of modern technique, which might be notable enough to deserve mention but surely doesn't deserve to occupy the bulk of the article, especially when central themes that have historically been associated with Behaviorism have been removed. Looie496 (talk) 02:03, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

After encouragement at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Psychology, I have reverted back to the prior version of the article. I think there is valuable material in the new edits, but it needs to be discussed. In fact, I don't really understand what is going on here. Are these changes being made as part of some sort of class editing project? Looie496 (talk) 15:07, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

The very recently created article Behaviorism (philosophy of education) overlaps significantly with this article, and has little new to offer. I propose to merge it into this one. hgilbert (talk) 03:33, 16 July 2013 (UTC)

  • Oppose - I disagree with the merger and your opinion. The educational perspective is significantly different from the psychology perspective or even the philosophy perspective and the less overlap the better. Stmullin (talk) 15:09, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Support - *I think it is ok to merge. --John (talk) 07:17, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - In general, I would love for there to be single comprehensive articles. However, the political reality is that people from different academic areas don't respect each other on Wikipedia the same way they might in a university setting. This leads to edit warring, and wrongful deletion of good material. So, the best way to accomodate this situation is to have separate articles, and in the main article, have sections with a summary for each of the others. Greg Bard (talk) 17:15, 19 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - I agree there is overlap, and that there should be a merger, but I also agree with Greg Bard. That said, there is a discipline of educational psychology that has its own page, and there is a section on that page that deals specifically with behaviorism. Thus I believe that the discussion on behaviorism in education should be merged with the ed. psych. page, if there is any merger at all.--Lhakthong ([[User

talk:Lhakthong|talk]]) 14:41, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

  • If you must merge then merge with Learning Theory (education). Please do not mix Educational Philosophy with Psychology . . . the view points are very different.Stmullin (talk) 20:22, 26 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - yet, there's overlap, but they are from differing paradigms. Bearian (talk) 00:07, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

OPPOSE--while there may be similarities to their theoretical underpinnings, the way they are understood in the educational vs. philosophical context are different. They are mutually exclusive even thought there may be connections in understandings between the two areas. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:23, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

Possible copyright problem[edit]

This article has been revised as part of a large-scale clean-up project of multiple article copyright infringement. (See the investigation subpage) Earlier text must not be restored, unless it can be verified to be free of infringement. For legal reasons, Wikipedia cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or printed material; such additions must be deleted. Contributors may use sources as a source of information, but not as a source of sentences or phrases. Accordingly, the material may be rewritten, but only if it does not infringe on the copyright of the original or plagiarize from that source. Please see our guideline on non-free text for how to properly implement limited quotations of copyrighted text. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 23:08, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

Prior content in this article duplicated one or more previously published sources. The material was copied from: Copied or closely paraphrased material has been rewritten or removed and must not be restored, unless it is duly released under a compatible license. (For more information, please see "using copyrighted works from others" if you are not the copyright holder of this material, or "donating copyrighted materials" if you are.) For legal reasons, we cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or published material; such additions will be deleted. Contributors may use copyrighted publications as a source of information, but not as a source of sentences or phrases. Accordingly, the material may be rewritten, but only if it does not infringe on the copyright of the original or plagiarize from that source. Please see our guideline on non-free text for how to properly implement limited quotations of copyrighted text. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously, and persistent violators will be blocked from editing. While we appreciate contributions, we must require all contributors to understand and comply with these policies. Thank you. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 23:08, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

Lack of continuity[edit]

This article is very difficult if not impossible to read and follow. Seems to be a bag of psycho-bits thrown into what is supposed to be scientific. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2001:5B0:29FF:2CF0:0:0:0:38 (talk) 00:34, 4 December 2014 (UTC)

Behavioirsm doesn't focus on unobservable events[edit]

Methodological behaviorsm refers to Watson's theory of observable behaviors; however, Skinner's radical behaviorism refers to internal events. In the lead section, it states: "The primary tenet of behaviorism, as expressed in the writings of John B. Watson, B. F. Skinner, and others, is that psychology should concern itself with the observable behavior of people and animals, not with unobservable events that take place in their minds." This statement is not true, behaviorism refers to both observable and non-observable behaviors. See this journal article here: The article also state that behaviorism is a form of behavior analysis and is the philosophy behind the science. It is not clear to my why there isn't a Wiki article for Methodological behaviorism or Behavior analysis either. ATC . Talk 20:42, 24 December 2014 (UTC)

Indeed, the original source listed for that sentence(Skinner, 1984) states: "The position taken is merely that of methodological behaviorism. According to this doctrine the world is divided into public and private events; and psychology, in order the meet the requirements of a science, must confine itself to the former. This was never good behaviorism." However, it also states: "In the case of a toothache, the private event is no doubt dominant, but this is due to its relative intensity, not to any condition of one's own behavior, the private component may be much less important. A very strict external contingency may emphasize the public component, especially if the association with private events is faulty. In a rigorous scientific vocabulary private effects are practically eliminated." I feel like putting "as well as the private events" ignores this distinction between public and private and is even worse. I've added a new change: "The primary tenet of behaviorism, including methodological and radical, as expressed in the writings of John B. Watson, B. F. Skinner, and others, is that psychology should concern itself with observable events. In practice, this often means focusing on public events (behaviors of the individual) while ignoring private events (thoughts of the individual)." I'm not sure if this is the best phrasing, but I do believe it's important to emphasize the distinction made between public and private in some way. David C (talk) 20:04, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

Too many definitions of behaviorism[edit]

Right now, there's a definition in the opening paragraph, a disambiguation section for different types of behaviorism, a definition section right below the disambiguation, and then another definition included in the philosophy section. Skinner invented radical behaviorism and has written extensively on the subject so I see no reason to use anyone other than him when defining radical behaviorism which should be regarded as standard behaviorism. I think the about behaviorism book explains things better than the operational analysis of behavior article, but other sources should also be considered. I think the Dillenberger article can be safely removed as a secondary source. Fantino in philosophy is useful for the comments related to behaviorism in philosophy, but I don't think it should be used to define behaviorism as it is also a secondary source. I've modified a couple definitions currently in the article because I believe they are erroneous. There are even more proposed definitions in the comments section which may be preferable to the existing ones. I'm going to leave this open for comments for a bit, then go through and start deleting extraneous definitions, so we can get down to just one definition in the opening paragraph, and one definition for each variant of behaviorism in the meat of the article. David C (talk) 21:04, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^ Ward, T.A., Eastman, R., & Ninness, C. (2009). An Experimental Analysis of Cultural Materialism: The Effects of Various Modes of Production on Resource Sharing. Behavior and Social Issues, 18, 1-23.
  2. ^ Steele, M.M. (2005, April 30). Teaching Students With Learning Disabilities: Constructivism Or Behaviorism? Current Issues in Education [On-line], 8(10)
  3. ^ Daly III, E. (2009). Behaviorism. Retrieved 11 27, 2012, from