As a result of mastering this topic, the student must:


• the basic principles of constructing the behavioral theory of development;

• the most important types of learning;

be able to

• Analyze the system of educational impacts in terms of adequacy of the application of encouragement and punishment;


• The skills of analyzing the practical application of behavioral theory.

Introduction to Behavioral Theory

Many psychologists were not satisfied with the explanations of child development within the framework of associative psychology, where as its reasons were given certain features of the structure of children's consciousness. This discontent was caused by the fact that direct observation of consciousness is impossible, therefore such explanations could allow for various interpretations.

Behavior Mechanisms

Scientists, among whom it is necessary to distinguish first of all the American psychologist, the founder of behaviorism Watson, began to search for obvious, understandable principles for understanding child development. Watson emphasized that looking at the child, one can not see his memory, thinking, consciousness, and even more so the unconscious. Only his behavior is noticeable. This idea formed the basis of a whole trend, which later became known as behaviorism behavior


John Watson and his followers believed that it would be most effective to monitor the real actions of children in different situations. Such observations can be systematized, analyzed, and on their basis formulated principles of development and find out ways to influence the development of children in this process. J. Watson said that in all sciences the extracted facts are objective, provable and can not only be reproduced, but also checked by any research, while in psychology the facts are subjective, since they are based more on self-observation and verbal report of subjects. Therefore, the psychology of behavior posed the problem through systematic observations and experiments to determine the laws that underlie human behavior.

Thus, before the psychologists-bhiksvioristami there are two main tasks: to determine the situations leading to those or other reactions, and to learn how to predict reactions based on the current situation. In this case, it becomes possible in principle to control the behavior of a person. In other words, advocates of behaviorism said that if we want to understand children's development, then we need to describe the various external causes that can have an effect on the child, and follow the hundred behavior in these conditions. Knowing such conditions and the behavior that they cause, it is possible to control the development of the child. J. Watson wrote: "If we were able to get a newborn baby belonging to the Pharaoh dynasty, and brought him up with other guys in Boston, then the same representative of the school youth as we find among the Harvard students" would come out of him. This emphasizes the dependence of human behavior on those stimuli that surround it.

One of the problems that stood in this way was to understand the mechanism of the emergence of new behavior. These issues were dealt with by an American psychologist and educator E. Thorndike. Since behavior can be seen in contrast to consciousness, behaviorists have begun to explore not only human behavior, but also animals, and use the results of these studies to explain the child's behavior. E. Thorndike as a model for establishing the laws of the emergence of new forms of behavior began to study the behavior of the cat. He put the cat in a cage, you could only get out of it if the animal was pulling the ring. The ring set in motion a mechanism that opens the cell door. Initially, the cat behaved calmly, but after a while (when there was a need for food or water) began to show activity: it scratched and gnawed the walls, chaotically moving. As a result, the cat accidentally could hit the ring and be free. The scientist again put the cat in the cage. The situation was repeated, but the time spent by the cat on the way out of the cage was reduced. As soon as the cat came out, Thorndike again put it in a cage. Eventually, as soon as the cat was in the cage, she immediately approached the ring, pulled it with her paw or teeth and went out. The psychologist called this scheme of development of behavior in a cat by trial and error. He said that in this case it is possible to observe the emergence of a completely new form of behavior. Based on this kind of observations E. Thorndike formulated the laws of the emergence of new forms of behavior.

1. In order for a new form of behavior to arise, the body needs motivation, i.e. he must be willing to achieve a certain goal. According to this law, any new form of behavior satisfies any need. So, in the case of a cat in an animal, such needs could be, for example, the need for food or in motion.

2. Then, in order to develop a new form of behavior, it is necessary to provide the opportunity to perform various actions.

3. The organism should be informed of the results of its actions: whether they are erroneous or lead to success.

The emergence of new forms of behavior in the body not only satisfies one or another need, but is in fact a solution to the problem that arises in a particular situation. So, for a cat such a task is to get out of the cage. E. Thorndike stressed that the solution of the task is possible only if the necessary form of behavior is included in the initial repertoire of actions. According to Thorndike, it is the presence or absence of certain actions in the child's repertoire that is decisive for the success of his training. Some children, according to the scientist, will be successful, no matter how bad the adult did not explain to them the way of solving the problem, while others will not be able to solve it, despite the education of excellent teachers.

The development of the behaviourist point of view is associated with the ideas of the United States scientist, physiologist, creator of the science of higher nervous activity. P. Pavlov, who discovered the mechanism of the formation of the conditioned reflex. IP Pavlov conducted his studies on dogs. It is known that if a dog is put on the tongue with minced meat, then it will run saliva. This reaction will be repeated whenever a stuffing is placed on the dog's tongue. Thus, forcemeat acts as an external condition, due to which the dog has saliva released. Pavlov called this behavior of the dog an unconditioned reflex, because it arises without any preliminary experience (or learning) in all dogs. If you feed the dog with meat and ring the bell (and repeat this feeding many times), then, in the end, you can observe the amazing behavior of the dog: not giving the dog minced, but only ringing the bell, you can see that the dog begins salivate. The bell, according to IP Pavlov, acts as a conditional stimulus, which causes a conditioned reaction (conditioned reflex) of salivation. Thus, Pavlov made the discovery that practically any reaction can be caused by a new conditioned stimulus.

American behaviorists used the concept of a conditional stimulus and conditioned response to explain human behavior. Most reactions, according to J. Watson, can be divided into four groups: 1) visible hereditary reactions that are of an instinctive nature (for example, sneezing, blinking); 2) latent hereditary reactions (latent physiological reactions); 3) visible reactions (for example, playing a musical instrument, free conversation of people with each other, dressing, etc.); 4) hidden reactions (for example, thinking, which was understood as a silent conversation). Of particular interest are studies of visible hereditary reactions, namely emotions, which Watson defined as hereditary pattern reactions. In other words, these are reactions whose individual features are reproduced with some constancy. For example, if a child is at home alone in a dimly lit room at night and suddenly hears a sharp noise, he can respond to this situation with a reaction of fear; a child can reproduce a similar reaction at an unexpected encounter with an approaching animal, etc. The peculiarity of the child's response will be that he responds to the impact of the set of properties of the whole situation as a whole (in the first case it is weak illumination, the child's fatigue and the appearance of sharp noise, and in the second - the approximation of the object, the absence of adults, etc.) , and not on the action of individual stimuli. Watson proceeded from the fact that by the time of birth the child has the basic emotional reactions: fear, rage and love. There is also stimulation, which without any training causes these reactions. For example, a fear reaction occurs when a baby's support is suddenly stripped, a sharp sound. In response to these irritations, the infant stops breathing, a grasping reflex appears, lips are drawn out, eyelids are closed, crying begins. The reaction of rage occurs most often when the movements of the infant are interfered with. For example, if you hold the infant's head, then first begins crying, and then a cry, the baby's body tenses, and the baby begins to produce punching movements with his hands and feet until the annoying position is eliminated. The initial situation that causes the reaction of love is stroking, weak rocking, turning on the belly and slapping the baby. In this case, the crying baby pauses, begins to smile and later stretches out his hands to the adult. This movement is a manifestation of love in the form of a desire to embrace an adult.

John Watson specifically conducted research on infants at the age of four to six months to identify objects that arouse fear in children. Kids were offered (each object was placed next to the child so that he could reach it with his hand) such living objects as a black cat, a rabbit and a dove, and non-living: cubes, dolls, etc. It turned out that children willingly reach out to all the objects. Moreover, even when the child was shown a pigeon, which was taken from a bag (the pigeon was fought in the hands of the experimenter), this did not cause a reaction of fear. This behavior was observed even in the case when a child in a weakly lit room was kicked into the dog and allowed to jump onto the bed next to him: the baby closely watched the movement of the animal, but did not show the reaction of fear. These and many other experiments allowed J. Watson to make an assumption that the reaction of fear arises as a result of learning. In order to study this process, J. Watson conducted the following experiment on the 11-month-old baby Albert B. The kid was not afraid of anything (except for unconditioned stimuli-loud noises and loss of support) and stretched to everything that approached him. The child was offered a white rat, and when his hand touched the animal, a blow was heard in the gong: "The child made a mad leap and fell face down, hiding his head in the mattress. However, he did not cry. As soon as he touched the rat's right hand, there was another blow. The child jumped again, fell forward and began to whine. " Later, the child did not have a desire to grab a rat, on the contrary, when he saw it, he withdrew his hand. After several repetitions, the child began to cry, fell and crawled not at the sound of the gong, but at the sight of a rat. As a result, the child developed a conditioned reflex to a new stimulus, in which quality the animal acted. It turned out that later the child began to fear rabbits, dogs, fur coats and even cotton wool, which was presented to him in a paper bag. Thus, it has been demonstrated that the reaction of fear can be acquired and is capable of transference, i. E. to spread to other situations.

Many emotional problems can be solved by developing appropriate conditional reactions. So, one of the emotionally stressful situations for both parents and the child is related to children's enuresis. Behaviorists use the following strategies for adult behavior to control the process of urination. Parents are encouraged to monitor the child's spa process and determine the time that is most likely for urination after the baby has fallen asleep. Then, when such an approximate time is established, the adult must wake the child in advance and lead him to the toilet. This procedure must be continued until the child develops a conditioned awakening reaction to urge to urinate. Another way to generate the same reaction is to place a sensor in the child's bed that reacts to changes in the humidity of the sheet. As soon as the humidity begins to change, a bell rings, which awakens the child. It is important that the child himself changes clothes and bed linen, which gives him the opportunity to actually correct (and thereby control) the situation and avoid feeling guilty. Naturally, parents should not scold the child or punish him, and praise for each dry day.

Along with emotional reactions, J. Watson studied instincts - hereditary pattern reactions, associated primarily with motions. Consider the instinctive behavior of the infant when feeding: if you touch the child's cheek with your finger, he will turn his head so that he will bring his mouth into contact with his finger and begin to perform sucking movements. In addition, Watson investigated the reaction of orientation to light in infants. For this, the child was put on his back, and his head was placed on a pillow. Above the baby's head alternately left and right light source. It turned out that even newborns are able to carry out tracking movements with their eyes behind a light source. More precisely, we can say that a child is born with a set of instinctual reactions. Elements of instinct are present in such complex forms of the infant's behavior as acquisition, when the child seeks to get the object, then grabs it, puts it into the mouth and manipulates it. Another complex form of instinctive behavior - hunting behavior - is the desire to catch up with a small retreating object (for example, a frog, a grasshopper or a beetle). These types of behavior are associated with both skills and the instinct of grasping and holding an object.

Thus, from the point of view of behaviorism, a person is born with a repertoire of actions, which although not as developed as in animals, but have benefits for the individual, allowing him to survive and defend himself from enemies. Such instinctive forms of behavior need to be supplemented with skills, which leads to the emergence of more complex forms of behavior that supersede instinctive reactions from the behavioral repertoire. "It is rare to find a twelve-year-old boy who could not tell exactly who he wants to become, what he is suitable for and why he is fit for it." In other words, according to J. Watson, with age, not so much instinctive factors begin to act as the environmental factors affecting the child. In the future, the culture of the college will so corrode ... all the initial manipulative inclinations that ... it involves something to one job, then to the next, depending on his father's studies, casual vacancies, school traditions or the wishes of his parents or other carers. . Here J. Watson shows that the development of behavior again comes from instinctive actions (for example, manipulation, that is, the child's desire to grab and hold the object) to develop new behaviors conditioned by the peculiarities of the situation.

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