Psychologists have strived to study behaviors of human beings and animals. They have analyzed behaviors of human beings and animals to understand the source of the behaviors. Different psychologists have come up with their own perspectives to explain these behaviors. This paper will discuss the different opinions of John B. Watson, B F Skinner, and Edward Thorndike about the behaviors of man and animals each according to their findings.
John B Watson did his research on behaviors using animals and humans. His research explains that behavior is a response to new stimulus from the environment in connection to old behaviors (Morton 1997). John’s experiment on behavior is done on a child that is playing with a rabbit. The child enjoys the company of the rabbit. However, if a loud noise is made by hitting two bars, the child responds with fear to the loud noise. This changes the behavior of the child as he stops playing with the rabbit (Schultz & Schultz 2007). In his argument, Watson mentions that fear of the child is what contributed to its next reaction to the animal. Once the child saw the animal it was filled with fright at the memory of the loud sound of the bang. Watson therefore, concludes that the behaviors of individuals are subject to the environment.
While John B Watson based his study on animals and human beings, Edwards Thorndike focused on animals. He uses dogs and cats to discuss this phenomenon. Edward’s experiment is that of a dog wanting to leave its cage. The dog has to find something that it will use in order to open the door. According to Edward, these animals have to learn a trick in order for them to leave the cage. He concludes that all animals can learn something including human beings. But, this learning follows certain want of need for the animal at that time. He explains further that behavior of the animal is as a result of the learning of the animal. This is called the law of effect (Morton 1997). He concluded that the learning on human and animal was a result, of a response to a certain stimuli.
B. F. Skinner agrees with the theory of Edward Thorndike on purpose (Morton 1997). He explains that the behavioral process involves the animal learning new ways that adapt to the environment. He agrees that the learning process has rewarding results. He uses the example of a rat learning to push a lever to receive food. If the rat get to know this trick it, will often do the same to get food (Breed & Moore 2011). Hence the rat is influenced by hunger feelings. Skinner also agrees with Watson that human thinking exists. However, argues that thinking has no effect on human habit or reaction. That it is an activity of the brain but has no enhancement or effect to learning.
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He does not agree that the desire to do something will enhance human or animal behaviors. Instead, he suggests that behaviors are influence of feelings which perpetuate an individual to act in a certain way. He supports Edward that the behaviors of animals follow actions that are rewarding. He refutes that behaviors are a results of thinking, but a result of an individual’s intentions and purpose like the hungry rat. He concludes that all behaviors of human and animals are a result of needs they have.
In conclusion, human beings and animals behave in different ways. The factors that determine the behavior of the animal are the need and environment to which the person or animal is subjected to. As discussed above, these can lead to the animal or human being learning new things.
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