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Behavioral theory

The behavioral theory posits that personality is shaped by the interaction between an individual and their environment. It focuses on observable and measurable behaviors. Key theorists include Skinner, associated with operant conditioning, and Pavlov, linked to classical conditioning. The cognitive theory, a bridge between behaviorism and other theories, treats thinking as a behavior. Created by Shreena Desai.

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  • male robot johnny style avatar for user akaul1
    Not going to lie, Shreena's videos have been pretty underwhelming. You'd think posting for KA these would be up to or over par, but there seems to be details missing or blatantly skimmed over not just here but in all her videos. No great explanations, unnecessary comments with attempted humor, etc. and this doesn't make the learning experience pleasant one bit. Just makes it more difficult b/c additional resources are need to reinforce knowledge b/c what she says is def not enough for the MCAT
    (47 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Alejandro Cañas
    I like how everyone watching these on 1.75 speed are studying for the MCAT haha.
    (28 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user nsind
    As I understand it the theory is based on adaptation, but at she says behavioral theorists don't factor in emotions. But when the theory is based on interaction with your environment emotional response seems important to factor in. How come they don't?
    (5 votes)
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    • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user David
      Excellent point, behaviorism notes that only observable phenomenon (behaviors) are all that can be measured or studied. To the behaviorists, emotions matter little because they cannot be observed or measured and, therefore, not subject to the scientific process. So, if a person has the emotional response of anger,one can measure that in the behavior they display. Behaviorism, for what it says, makes logical sense; however, as you've pointed out, there are clear limitations to its description of what is really happening.
      (4 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Christina Tse
    Would cultural personality (e.i. ethnic stereotype and country stereotype) stem from the environment or from genetics?
    (3 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user tian1di2 jax
      stereotypes are learned (environment)...for example, on my usa 2014 greyhound bus tour, young minorities were kind and talkative while older minorities from the same families were stand off-ish and their non-verbal tone spoke bad juju...the young minorities didnt yet learn the stereotypes; ignorance IS bliss when were young!
      (1 vote)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Samson Okediji
    what role(s) does heredity and environment plays in human personality?
    (1 vote)
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  • female robot grace style avatar for user Anna
    Couldn't emotions be measured in a way similar to how pain is measured on a 1-10 scale?

    In this case the happy spectrum would go from 1(very unhappy) to 10(very happy)
    And the 1 on the happy spectrum could branch off into different spectra where more towards the left is more of that kind of unhappiness.

    In particular the branches would be things like anger, sadness, fear, and pain

    And 10 could have branches too like excitation and curiosity where more towards the right would be more of that kind of happiness.

    5 would be like everyday level of happiness.
    (1 vote)
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  • orange juice squid orange style avatar for user ipodingo
    I think the dichotomy between the Social Cognitive Perspective (the one Albert Bandura is known for) and the Biologic Perspective should be elucidated further. This dichotomy is the one many are all too familiar with, namely, nature vs nurture.

    The Social Cognitive Perspective of Personality focuses on how the environment and peoples interactions with it influence behavior. Personality is expected future behaviors based on past behaviors in similar situations (situational).

    The Biologic Perspective of Personality say that personality is a product of how genes are expressed (dispositional).
    (1 vote)
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Video transcript

All right, the behavioral theory is what we're going to be talking about next. And the behavioral theory says that personality is a result of the interaction between an individual and their environment. So here's our person. And then, this is the environment. Whether it's society-- We'll draw a few houses here. There you go. You get the picture. So basically, what I've drawn here is one island, and another island, and a bridge connecting both. And you'll see why did that in a second. OK, so the behavioral theory says that we interact with our environment. And it's also focused on observable and measurable behavior, rather than mental or emotional behaviors. So there are different types of behaviors. And different theories focus more on one type of behavior over the other. So when looking at this, if this is the behavioral theory-- is this island right here. I guess we can say the psychoanalytic theory over here would be the most opposite because this theory focuses on the mental behavior rather than observable behavior. And behavioral theorists don't care for theories that take thoughts and feelings into account. So let's talk about two important theorists of the behavioral theory, and the first is Skinner. So Skinner was a strict behaviorist. And he's associated with the concept of operant conditioning, which you may have heard of before. So operant conditioning uses rewards and punishments to increase or decrease a behavior. And another behaviorist, Pavlov, who was a Russian physiologist, and he's also considered by many as the father of behaviorism, he's associated with classical conditioning. And he used his famous dog example, the Pavlov Dog Experiment, to show what classical conditioning was. It basically places a neutral stimulus with an unconditional stimulus to trigger an involuntary response. So in the case of the dogs, ringing a bell in the presence of food is what caused the dogs to begin salivating. It triggered that involuntary response. So these theorists, Skinner and Pavlov, believed that the environment determines the behavior. So that's why I put ourselves in our environment. We're shaped by the environment. And people have consistent behavior patterns because we have particular kinds of response tendencies. But these responses can change if we encountering new situations. And that's why our personality develops over our entire lifespan. It's constantly evolving and changing. Now, what is this bridge in the middle connecting one extreme of behaviorism to the other, the mental approach to the behavioral approach? Now, it's not to say one is right over the other. They're just two different approaches of personality. OK, so back to this, the bridge. The bridge the middle is what we're going to call the cognitive theory. And the cognitive theory is considered a bridge between classic behaviorism and other theories that emphasize thinking and behavior, such as the psychoanalytic theory. And it's because the cognitive theory treats thinking as a behavior and has much in common with the behavioral theory. So Albert Bandura combines the concepts of observing, thinking, and behaving in the social cognitive theory, which we'll take a look at next.