Thursday, January 23, 2020

John B. Watson Essay -- Psychology, Behaviorism

John Broadus Watson was a famous American psychologist who lived between 1878 and 1958. He was born in Greenville, South Carolina to Pickens and Emma Watson and was the fourth of six children. The family was not well off financially and John did not have an easy childhood. In spite of the poverty that engulfed the family, John’s father turned into an alcoholic who cared less for his family. However, Emma, John’s mother was a devoted religious woman who struggled to take care of her children with less support from her husband. In 1891, John’s father left the family and disappeared after engaging in extra marital affairs with other women. The infidelity strained his marriage with Emma and the relationship with his children. After the disappearance of his father, John became unruly and confused due to the lack of full parental care of both parents. He became defiant at school and did not want to listen to advice from his teachers. He bullied fellow students and was involved in other antisocial behaviors which were quite unacceptable in the school environment, further more he became violent and even rebelled against his mother (Buckley, 1989). Watson’s negative attitude towards education did not last forever and it changed after he was accepted to Furman University where he began his training at the age of sixteen in 1894. John’s life started to turn around with his enrollment and the help of his professor Gordon Moore. He later developed a positive attitude towards academic work since he realized that he could at least now contribute to the community regardless of the social class of his family. His academic performance was quite brilliant and he graduated from Furman University with a master’s degree in 1899. He later enrolled at... ...ormation is introduced even if the previous pattern of behavior has been already established by reinforcement (Cherry, 2011). In conclusion, the theory of behaviorism is based on observable behaviors for easier quantification and data collection. Effective techniques such as behavior intervention and discrete trial training originate from this school of thought. The approaches are very essential in altering the maladaptive behaviors in adults and children (Cherry, 2011). Today, conditioning and the use of reward and punishment are used to help people learn accepted behavior and in other cases to help them stop problematic behavior (Coon & Mitterer, 2008). This has made behavior modification and training easy and possible. Therefore, Dr. John Watson played a tremendous role in the transition of psychology from the work of earlier scholars to the modern scholars.

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