PS390 Study Guide - Final Guide: Operant Conditioning, Heredity, Behaviorism

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14 Aug 2019
1. Describe the principal schools of thought after World War II: operant behaviourism,
biological organization of behaviour, and cognitivism
Skinner's operant behaviourism (rewarda and punishments) revolutionized
neobehaviourism and argued environmental contingencies govern all behaviour. He argued
everything is learned through operant conditioning and behaviour is dictated by past experience,
R-S-R. He argued new behaviours are the result of shaping and his theories helped improve the
treatment institutionalized individuals but practicality is limited to settings where someone has
absolute control over the other.
Biological Organization of Behaviour was a school of thought that argued brain functions
and neural structures (which can be altered by experience) determine behaviour, which is
therefore a product of heredity and environment. Arnold showed that perception and cognition
can mediate bodily arousal and that the unity of biological and psychological processes better
explain emotion.
Cognitivism is a school of thought that links brain and behaviour. We obtain knowledge
from the emprirical world via a neuropsychological apparatus for receiving, computing, and
organizing sensory information and cognitive representations. Info-processing model suggested
individuals process information through serially performing operations on symbols, as computers
do. Goals of cognitivism and behaviourism were the same but cognitivism reintroduced mental
activity into research.
9. Analyze psychologists’ relationship to the social order, including responses to racism and
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