Posted: December 6th, 2022

Behaviorism Essay

Behaviorism Essay

Skinner’s “radical behaviorism” proposes that behavior, rather than cognitive processes, should be the primary topic of study in the field of psychology. As bold of a statement as this is, I can argue that it is true. Behaviorism was proposed by a trailblazing psychologist who goes by the name of B.F. Skinner. He states that the study of conscious mental life simply did not exist and that it was time for the field of psychology to join others as a natural science (Moore, 2011). By doing so, he’s transitioning from the subjective point of view to objective which requires measurement through direct observation. Radical behaviorism was founded during a period of modernism where multiple scholars and individuals transitioned away from the traditional way of thinking (Moxley, 2004) Behaviorism Essay. Cognitive processes was the first study completed in the field of psychology and it had researchers consumed for many years. However, during the period of modernism, behaviorism was introduced and suggested that cognitive processes were not a thing because they could not be directly observed.


Moore, J. (2011). Behaviorism. The Psychological Record, 61(3). 449-463. Credit Line: Behaviorism by Moore, J., in The Psychological Record, Vol. 61/ Issue 3. Copyright 2011 by Denison University. Reprinted by permission of Denison University via the Copyright Clearance Center. Licensed in 2021.

Moxley, R. A. (2004). Pragmatic selectionism: The philosophy of behavior analysis. The Behavior Analyst Today, 5(1), 108-125.


Discussion: Behaviorism

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One skill of an applied behavior analyst is collaborating to identify negative behaviors an individual is exhibiting and then developing treatments for those behaviors (e.g., strategies, interventions, etc.) to help them change the behaviors and derive improved outcomes for themselves. Radical behaviorism posits there is a science of behavior that has shown the environment as a significant cause of behavior and that experiential factors play a primary role in determining behavior (Cooper et al., 2020). The strategies and interventions of the applied behavior analyst represent efforts to change maladaptive behavior by systematically employing techniques that control circumstances in which negative behaviors arise and helping individuals learn and apply new skills.

For example, if a child in a classroom is repeatedly leaving their seat during instruction (i.e., maladaptive behavior), an applied behavior analyst would work with the child to identify the factors contributing to the maladaptive behavior and then develop strategies or interventions to generate more appropriate behavior by the child.

For this week’s Discussion, you will consider your perspectives on radical behaviorism and its learning principles.

Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2020). Applied behavior analysis (3rd ed.). Pearson. 

To Prepare

  • Review the Learning Resources for this week as well as the required weekly media program to gain an understanding of radical Behaviorism Essay
  • Think about whether you concur with the learning principles of radical behaviorism.

By Day 4 of Week 3

Post an explanation of whether you agree or disagree with the following statement, and why or why not:

  • Skinner’s “radical behaviorism” proposes that behavior, rather than cognitive processes, should be the primary topic of study.

Read your colleagues’ postings.

Note: For this discussion, you are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleagues’ postings. Begin by clicking on the To Participate in this Discussion link, then select Create Thread to complete your initial post. Remember, once you click on Submit, you cannot delete or edit your own posts, and cannot post anonymously Behaviorism Essay. Please check your post carefully before clicking on Submit!

By Day 6 of Week 3

Respond to at least two colleagues’ posts by expanding on each colleague’s rationale for why they agree or disagree with Skinner’s proposal. Justify your response.

Be sure to support your posts and responses with specific references to behavior-analytic theory and research. In addition to the Learning Resources, search the Walden Library and/or internet for peer-reviewed articles to support your posts and responses. Use proper APA format and citations, including those in the Learning Resources.

Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Note what you have learned and/or any insights that you have gained because of your colleagues’ comments Behaviorism Essay.

I agree with Skinner’s radical behaviorism approach because I believe that behavior can describe the function of a consequence much more appropriately than the mental state of an individual. Skinner suggests that “behavior is a function of our environmental circumstances and its context” (Cooper, Heron, and Heward, 2020). In other words, whenever we act or behave, we are influenced by what is taking place within that moment and within that environment. It is when we understand the context of what is happening and the environment that it is happening in that we are able to correlate our behaviors and our responses to the consequences of what has occurred.  Moore (2011) suggests that the “basis of behavior is not simply concerned with the way something acts, but also what is going on within the environment that is manipulating the behavior”. Because our cognitive process typically expresses the cause of our behaviors, it is my opinion that the cause of a behavior is not understood without first understanding the function. I believe that when we are born, we go through different innate experiences that help us process our surroundings and inform us on how to interact with them. Moore (2011) also explains how the function of our “behavior is relative to variables at the level of phylogeny, ontogeny, or culture”. It also “reflects on the factors that are naturally within us and those that we experience within our environment” (Moore, 2011).


Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2020). Applied behavior analysis (3rd ed.). Pearson.

Moore, J. (2011). Behaviorism. The Psychological Record, 61(3), 449–463.   Behaviorism Essay


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