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Comparative View Of Two Dinstinct School Of Psychology Behaviourism And Humanism

In this paper, it is tried to explain the first force (Behaviourism) and the third force (Humanistic Psychology) and, compare differences and similarities between them. Each school of thought in psychology was sometimes born as a reaction to the previous ones or a new version of them. Although behaviourism is very popular, reactions to it and alternative thoughts are also strong in modern psychology. The debate between structuralism and functionalism was only the prelude to other fundamental controversies in psychology.

In the early 1900s, another major school of thought appeared that dramatically altered the course of psychology. Founded by John B. Watson (1878-1958), behaviourism is a theoretical orientation based on the premise that scientific psychology should study only observable behaviour. It is important to understand what a radical change this definition represents. Watson (1913) was proposing that psychologists abandon the study of consciousness altogether and focus exclusively on behaviours that they could observe directly. In essence, he was redefining what scientific psychology should be about.

The shift in direction of psychology was caused by his belief that the power of the scientific method rested on the idea of verifiability. In principle, scientific claims can always be verified (or disproved) by anyone who is able and willing to make the required observations. However, this power depends on studying things that can be observed objectively. Otherwise, the advantage of using the scientific approach -replacing vague speculations and personal opinion with reliable, exact knowledge – is lost. For Watson mental processes were not a   proper   subject for scientific study because they are ultimately private events.

After all, no one can see or touch another’s thoughts. Consequently, if psychology were to be a science, it would have to give up consciousness as its subject matter and become instead the science of behaviour. Behaviour refers to any overt (observable) response or activity by an organism. Watson asserted that psychologists could study anything that people do or say -shopping, playing, chess, eating- but they couldn’t study scientifically the thoughts, wishes, and feelings that might accompany these observable behaviours.

Watson’s radical reorientation of psychology did not end with his redefinition of its subject matter. After Watson, behaviourists eventually came to view psychology’s mission as an attempt to relate overt behaviours (responses) to observable events in the environment (stimuli). A stimulus is any detectable input from the environment. Behaviourism’s stimulus-response approach contributed to the rise of animal research in psychology. Having deleted consciousness from their scope of concern, behaviourists no longer needed to study human subjects who could report on their mental processes.

Many psychologists thought that animals would make better research subjects anyway. One key reason was that experimental research is often more productive if experimenters can exert considerable control over their subjects. Otherwise, too many complicating factors enter into the picture and contaminate the experiment. Obviously, a researcher can exert much more control over a laboratory rat or pigeon than over a human subject, who arrives at a lab with years of uncontrolled experience who will probably insist on going home at night.

Thus, the discipline that had begun its life a few decades earlier as the study of the mind now found itself heavily involved in the study of simple responses made by laboratory animals. The mind-body solution proposed by Watson is at the heart of what has been called radical or metaphysical   behaviourism. From about 1930 to 1950 this position even became almost no controversial, at least within psychology. However, this issue was revived by humanists (The third force), and the wheel has come almost full circle, with consciousness almost a buzzword.

Nevertheless, these critics have offered no convincing demonstration of a method for studying “mind” directly. Many affirmed behaviourists felt a need to take a strong position on mind – body issue. They did not wish to study consciousness or mind and therefore denied its importance; their position was logical only if they accepted some appropriate mind – body position. Of the available positions, two were best fitted to their purpose. First, an epiphenomenal view would imply that consciousness had no causal efficacy and therefore held little interest for science.

It might or might not attend bodily events and would not be of much importance. According to this position, mind would be comparable to a shadow, it would often, but nor always, accompany and more or less follow the outlines of the physical object (body) to which it related but would itself have no substance and play no causal role. Second, completely physical monism would deny the very existence of mind and would serve the purpose of behaviourism admirably. There were several common behaviouristic arguments against the existence of consciousness.

First, they asked how the so-called gaps in consciousness, such as allegedly occur during sleep, could be explained. What is lost? What returns? There is no measurable, physical, loss. But there are behaviour differences. For the behaviourist, unconsciousness simply meant that neural pathways were blocked off so that no stimulation could be reported. Second, the behaviourists maintained that the stimulus is important thing in introspection, not the alleged conscious correlates. Introspection is a way of reporting what language training has learnt. Situations in which the “wrong” terms are learned are instructive.

For example, if colour-blind people call a “red” stimulus  “grey,” they are wrong only because it is not consistent with most other language reports on the stimulus. Third, and most important, the behaviourists argued that the assumption of non-physical events interacting whit physical events clearly violates the conservation-of- energy principle. Physics tell us that energy is neither created nor destroyed in physical systems; it is only transformed. All the energy within physical systems can be accounted for physically. None is gained from or lost to any non-physical system.

If conscious events affected the body or its processes, they would have to do so by adding or subtracting energy or mass. But that is impossible, according to the conservation-of-energy principle. This principle should not be overthrown on the basis of philosophical dogma. Thus the fact of experiencing the allegedly mental process cannot influence muscles, then they must themselves be physical events occurring in the nervous system- and they are therefore non-mental. (Marx, M. H. , & Cronan-Hillix, W. A. , 1987) The contemporary figure of behaviourism, Skinner, brought behaviourism into a radical point of view.

What makes his behaviourism so radical? Radical behaviourism was in total opposition to mentalism in psychology. Behaviour was a result of consequences, events that followed particular responses. Environmental events alter the probabilities of responses, with some behaviour   made more probable and others less probable. Radical behaviourism “has generated an effective science of behaviour based on experimental work with non-human animals; second that this science can be used to predict, control, and interpret the everyday behaviour of over own species. Modgil, S. , & Modgil, C. 1987).

Skinner believed that his radical behaviourism could be used as a tool to control behaviour and provide a better overall environment in which to live in. He stated that radical behaviourism would “make it possible to design better environments-personal environments that would solve existing problems and larger environments all cultures in which there are fewer problems”(Skinner, 1990). Why do we need science of behaviour? Skinner answers this question in his article entitled “Can Psychology be a Science of Mind.

He says that there are two sciences, which deal with human behaviour, the physiology of the body-cum-brain, and the other science is made up of three different sciences, ethology, behaviour analyses, and a part of anthropology. Skinner claims that it is the combination of these three sciences that makes any kind of differences. The study of the brain by a computer can only go so far, and its once behaviour analysis goes beyond the capabilities of the computer that the second science comes into play. Although behaviourism proved very influential, they did not go unchallenged.

One source of opposition was Humanistic Psychology. Humanistic Psychology is a contemporary manifestation of that ongoing commitment. It’s message is a response to the denigration of the human spirit that has so often been implied in the image of the person drawn by behavioural and social sciences. During the first half of the twentieth century, American psychology was dominated by the school of thought: behaviourism. Behaviourism did not acknowledge the possibility of studying values, intentions and meaning as elements in conscious existence.

Although various European perspectives such as phenomenology had some limited influence, on the whole mainstream American psychology had been captured by the mechanistic beliefs of behaviourism. Ivan Pavlov’s work with the conditioned reflex (induced under rigid laboratory controls, empirically observable and quantifiable) had given birth to an academic psychology in the United States led by John Watson, which came to be called “the science of behaviour” (in Abraham Maslow’s later terminology, “The First Force”).

Its emphasis on objectivity was reinforced by the success of the powerful methodologies employed in the natural sciences and by the philosophical investigations of the British empiricists, logical positivists and the operationalists, all of who sought to apply the methods and values of the physical           sciences to questions of human behaviour. Valuable knowledge (particularly in learning theory and the study of sensation and perception) was achieved in this quest.

But if something was gained, something was also lost: The “First Force” systematically excluded the subjective data of consciousness and much information bearing on the complexity of the human personality and its development. (Marx, M. H. , & Cronan-Hillix, W. A. , 1987). The Humanistic View of Human Behaviour Humanistic psychology is a value orientation that holds a hopeful, constructive view of human beings and of their substantial capacity to be self-determining. It is guided by a conviction that intentionality and ethical values are strong psychological forces, among the basic determinants of human behaviour.

This conviction leads to an effort to enhance such distinctly human qualities as choice, creativity, the interaction of the body, mind and spirit, and the capacity to become more aware, free, responsible, life affirming and          trustworthy. Humanistic psychology acknowledges that the mind is strongly influenced by determining forces in society and in the unconscious, and that some of these are negative and destructive. Humanistic psychology nevertheless emphasizes the independent dignity and worth of human beings and their conscious capacity to develop personal competence and self-respect.

This value orientation has led to the development of therapies to facilitate personal and interpersonal skills and to enhance the quality of life. Since there is much difficulty involved in inner growth, humanistic psychologists often stress the importance of courageously learning to take responsibility for oneself as one confronts personal transitions. The difficulty of encouraging personal growth is matched by the difficulty of developing appropriate institutional and organizational environments in which human beings can flourish. Clearly, societies both help and hinder human growth.

Because nourishing environments can make an important contribution to the development of healthy personalities, human needs should be given priority when fashioning social policies. This becomes increasingly critical in a rapidly changing world threatened by such dangers as nuclear war, overpopulation   and the breakdown of traditional social structures. Many humanistic psychologists stress the importance of social change, the challenge of modifying old institutions and inventing new ones able to sustain both human development and organizational efficacy.

Thus the humanistic emphasis on individual freedom should be matched by recognition of our interdependence and our responsibilities to one another, to society and culture, and to the future. Methods of Inquiry All of these special concerns point toward the need for a more complete knowledge of the quality of human experience. Humanistic psychology is best known as a body of theory and systems of psychotherapy, but it is also an approach to scholarship and research, to inquiry informed by a strong sense of purpose.

The purpose is to provide a level of understanding that can promote the power of personal choice and the care and effectiveness of social groups. Humanistic psychology recognizes that human existence consists of multiple layers of reality: the physical, the organic and the symbolic. In considering these components it advocates the use of a variety of research approaches to study their characteristics and intentions. It contests the idea–traditionally held by the behavioural sciences–that the only legitimate research method is an experimental test using quantified data.

It argues for the use of additional methods specifically designed to study the organic and symbolic realms. Humanistic psychology is strongly supportive of phenomenological and clinical approaches to the study of the human position in the order of life. It also encourages the discovery of new research approaches, which   seek to further understand the richness in the depth of human being. The symbolic dimension of consciousness is of special interest. It is in this realm of our lives–a uniquely human realm– that meaning value; culture, personal decision and responsibility are expressed and manifested.

The humanities are thus important resources in humanistic psychology research. Another thing the humanistic approach brings into account is the fact that society’s ideas about what counts as legitimate knowledge constitute a certain kind of power over our lives. The assumption that knowledge is confined to what can be directly perceived and publicly measured leads easily to the conclusion that personal values, meaning and decision lack a larger significance or interpretation.

The value-based position taken by humanistic psychology implies a commitment to the use of research approaches that provide access to all characteristics of human existence. Summary Human psychology has failed to make good its claim as a natural science. Due to a mistaken notion that its fields of facts are conscious phenomena and that introspection is the only direct method of ascertaining these facts, it has enmeshed itself in a series of speculative questions which, while fundamental to its present tenets, are not open to experimental treatment.

In the pursuit of answers to these questions, it has become further and further divorced from contact with problems, which vitally concern human interest. Psychology, as the behaviourist views it, is a purely objective, experimental branch of natural science which needs introspection as little as do the sciences of chemistry and physics. It is granted that the behaviour of animals can be investigated without appeal to consciousness. Heretofore the viewpoint has been that such data have value only in so far as they can be interpreted by analogy in terms of consciousness.

The position is taken here that the behaviour of man and the behaviour of animals must be considered on the same plane; as being equally essential to a general understanding of behaviour. It can dispense with consciousness in a psychological sense. The separate observation of ‘states of consciousness’ is, on this assumption, no more a part of the task of the psychologist than of the physicist. We might call this the return to a non-reflective and nave use of consciousness. In this sense consciousness may be said to be the instrument or tool with which all scientists work.

Whether or not scientists properly use the tool at present is a problem for philosophy and not for psychology. From the viewpoint here suggested the facts on the behaviour of amoebx have value in and for themselves without reference to the behaviour of man. In biology studies on race differentiation and inheritance in am? b form a separate division of study, which must be evaluated in terms of the laws found there. The conclusions so reached may not hold in any other form.

Regardless of the possible lack of generality, such studies must be made if evolution as a whole is ever to be regulated and controlled. Similarly the laws of behaviour in am? b, the range of responses, and the determination of effective stimuli, of habit formation, persistency of habits, interference and reinforcement of habits, must be determined and evaluated in and for themselves, regardless of their generality, or of their bearing upon such laws in other forms, if the phenomena of behaviour are ever to be brought within the sphere of scientific control.

This suggested elimination of states of consciousness as proper objects of investigation in them will remove the barrier from psychology that exists between it and the other sciences. The findings of psychology become the functional correlates of structure and lend themselves to explanation in physico-chemical terms. Psychology as behaviour will, after all, have to neglect but few of the really essential problems with which psychology as an introspective science now concerns itself.

In all probability even this residue of problems may be phrased in such a way that refined methods in behaviour (which certainly must come) will lead to their solution. On the other hand, Humanistic psychology came forward as a reaction to scientific materialism   psychoanalysis) and mechanical Darwinism (behaviourism), both of which often risk an over psychologizing and a dehumanising of human beings – but man is not an object which can be or ought to be explored experimentally like an animal or a thing.

Behaviourism has, partially, grown out of scientific laboratory tests with rats (for example, the so-called Skinner-box), while psychoanalysis, among other, was created from a medicine study of abnormalities in soul life. Yet both paradigms have, isolated seen, reached important conclusions, and have developed methods still very useful and interesting today. Nevertheless, an assembly of American psychologists in the 1960’s began to feel that these two lacked something very vital, namely the insight that man is also spirit.

Therefore humanistic psychology in many ways seeks to expand the focus as well as the perception of man of behaviourism and      psychoanalysis. Humanistic psychology includes results and methods from philosophy and theology, including hermeneutics, which takes its starting point within the particular life-world of an individual human being, and whereby emphasis is laid upon understanding the individual, more than seeking to “explain” it or to predict its reactions.

As to understand and describe the human being, one cannot reduce it to psychological mechanisms (psychoanalysis), nor biological or chemical processes, nor outer sociological or socio economical determinations (behaviourism). No one must look into and hold together a variety of very many factors, as to give a more precise and whole   picture of, what a person really is.

Moreover, humanistic psychology emphasises the axiom that man is spirit, which puts into focus, that a human being differs from an animal by the fact, that an individual owns reason as well as a free will of his / her own. This is why everyone, to a certain extent, is enabled to defy his or her upbringing as well as his or her psychological and biological foundations. Even though Life is complex and somewhat terrifying, it does constitute a giant structure of sense making relations, in which people exist and relate themselves.

Therefore the World does not only form an individual, as much as a person is also capable of influencing his or her environment – and capable of forming his or her own life, since life values and personal goals differ from person to person. Since one of the tasks of humanistic psychology is to bring the individual in contact with his or her own original and authentic nature, it follows that man’s alienation from Nature, fellow human beings, society and not to forget himself or herself is one of the main challenges, which existential psychotherapy puzzles with.

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