Control : a history of behavioral psychology by John A. Mills

By John A. Mills

Behaviorism used to be the dominant strength within the construction of contemporary American psychology, and it maintains to undergird the sphere to today. however, a whole knowing of the complexity of behaviorism has remained elusive. Its dominance inside of American psychology has, ironically, blocked our efforts to appreciate its position and its nature. regulate serves as an antidote to this old myopia, offering the most Read more...

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Such study would be effective only if one could quantify the variables in question. 28 | The Birth of Psychological Behaviorism In Hayes, then, we do not see just behaviorism but a particular be­ haviorist doctrine—that the pursuit of science is the pursuit of strictly functional relationships between objectively identifiable variables. Hayes’s position was taken further by his colleague Luther Lee Bernard. 6 Behaviorism was to sweep away the mists of superstition that had clouded sociologists’ gaze.

10 He showed his colleagues how economic theory should be transformed so that it could deal directly with statistical aggregates instead of making deductive inferences from the needs and feelings of fictional individu­ als. At the same time, the new knowledge was to be socially useful. Mitchell tried to discover the degree of relationship between empiri­ cally established variables. He wrote that the same trend was to be seen in psychology: Psychologists are moving rapidly toward an objective conception and a quantitative treatment of their problems.

By coincidence, behavior modification’s death knell was sounded at the same time as the weight of negative evidence from animal studies brought about the demise of neobehaviorism in academic psychology. In the 1950s and 1960s, neobehaviorist theorizing and research practices dominated American psychology’s subject matter, and that neobehaviorist hegemony forms the subject matter of chapter 7. Neobehaviorists exerted control both intellectually and institutionally. They exercised intellectual control by excluding some parts of psychology (such as perception, thought, and language) from serious consideration and by placing others (especially learning and motiva­ tion) in the forefront.

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