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PSYC 4100 Assessment 3 How Major Psychological Thought Informs Professional Behavior

PSYC 4100 Assessment 3: How Major Psychological Thought Informs Professional Behavior


Capella University


Professor’s Name

April 1st, 2024

How Major Psychological Thought Informs Professional Behavior

Behaviorism, as a major school of psychological thought, has greatly influenced professional behavior, particularly in the realm of therapy, education, and supervision (Brau et al., 2020). In the scenario of a therapist working with teenagers, understanding behaviorism is crucial for effectively addressing adolescent issues. Behaviorism emphasizes observable behaviors and the environmental factors that influence them, rejecting introspection and focusing on measurable outcomes. For a therapist working with teenagers, this means employing techniques such as operant conditioning and behavior modification to address maladaptive behaviors and reinforce positive ones. By understanding how behaviors are learned and maintained, therapists can tailor interventions to suit the specific needs of teenagers, helping them overcome challenges and develop healthier coping mechanisms.

Furthermore, the development of behaviorism has been shaped by various factors, including major events, other schools of thought, and cultural influences. Behaviorism emerged as a reaction to the limitations of introspection and the desire for a more scientific approach to psychology. Prominent individuals like John B. Watson and B.F. Skinner led the way in establishing the fundamentals of behaviorism, concentrating on visible actions and the impact of reinforcement on their formation. Additionally, behaviorism has been influenced by cognitive psychology, which emphasizes mental processes such as perception and memory (Kirby et al., 2022). This integration of cognitive principles has led to the development of cognitive-behavioral therapies, which are widely used in treating adolescent mental health issues. Cultural influences have also shaped behaviorism, with societal norms and values impacting the reinforcement patterns and behavioral expectations experienced by teenagers. By considering these factors, therapists can better understand and address the unique challenges faced by teenagers in today’s diverse society.

Events Affecting the Development of School Thought

The Rise of Behaviorism

During the early 1900s, behaviorism arose as a notable psychological perspective, primarily as a reaction against introspective methods dominating the field at the time (Selisker, 2020). Key figures such as John B. Watson and later B.F. Skinner laid the foundations of behaviorism by emphasizing observable behaviors and the influence of environmental factors on behavior.

Pavlov’s Classical Conditioning

Ivan Pavlov’s studies on classical conditioning offered empirical support for the concept that behaviors could be acquired through connections with environmental stimuli (Akpan, 2020). His research prompted behaviorists to emphasize the significance of stimuli and responses in molding behavior, leading to the development of behavior modification techniques used in therapy and education.

Skinner’s Operant Conditioning

B.F. Skinner’s work on conditioning through reinforcement or punishment.further advanced behaviorism by demonstrating how behaviors could be shaped through reinforcement and punishment (Bąbel, 2020). His experiments with rats and pigeons showed that behaviors could be modified by manipulating consequences, laying the groundwork for applied behavior analysis and behavioral interventions.

Cognitive Revolution and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

The cognitive revolution in psychology, which gained momentum in the 1950s and 1960s, challenged the strict behaviorist view of human behavior by emphasizing the role of mental processes (Blackwell & Heidenreich, 2021). This shift led to the evolution of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), blending behaviorist principles with cognitive strategies, offering a comprehensive approach for effectively managing various psychological concerns.

Contemporary Applications in Technology

In the modern era, behaviorism continues to influence professional behavior through its application in fields such as technology and marketing. Concepts like operant conditioning are utilized in designing user interfaces, gamification strategies, and advertising campaigns aimed at modifying consumer behavior and fostering engagement..

Impact of Other Schools of Thought

Gestalt Psychology

Gestalt psychology is a way of understanding how people perceive the world around them. It focuses on the idea that we don’t just see individual parts of things, but we see the whole picture (Metwally, 2021). Developed by psychologists like Max Wertheimer and Wolfgang Köhler, Gestalt psychology says that our brains naturally organize what we see into meaningful patterns. For example, when we look at a group of objects, we don’t just see each object separately; instead, we see how they relate to each other and form a whole. This approach has influenced many areas, including how we understand visual perception, problem-solving, and even how we approach therapy. Therapists might use Gestalt ideas to help people understand their thoughts and feelings better, leading to personal growth and self-awareness.

Cognitive Psychology

Additionally, cognitive psychology has impacted behaviorism by emphasizing mental processes such as perception, memory, and problem-solving. While behaviorism initially disregarded the role of internal states, cognitive psychology highlighted the importance of cognition in shaping behavior (Blackwell & Heidenreich, 2021). The incorporation of cognitive concepts has resulted in the emergence of cognitive-behavioral therapies, which blend behaviorist methods with cognitive restructuring to effectively tackle psychological challenges.

Humanistic Psychology

Furthermore, humanistic psychology has influenced behaviorism by emphasizing the importance of personal agency and self-actualization. While behaviorism primarily focuses on external factors shaping behavior, humanistic psychology highlights the individual’s subjective experience and intrinsic motivation (Benjamin, 2020). This perspective has led to the recognition of the importance of autonomy and self-determination in behavior change interventions within the framework of behaviorism.

Evolutionary Psychology

Similarly, evolutionary psychology has influenced behaviorism by highlighting the significance of evolution in molding human behavior and cognition. Evolutionary psychologists contend that behaviors and cognitive functions have evolved to promote survival and reproductive achievement, resulting in the emergence of adaptive mechanisms (Otterbring, 2021). While behaviorism focuses on environmental influences on behavior, evolutionary psychology highlights the evolutionary origins of certain behaviors and the influence of genetic predispositions. This perspective has informed professional behavior in diverse areas, including education and marketing, where an understanding of evolutionary principles can guide interventions aimed at promoting adaptive behaviors and understanding consumer preferences

Impact of Other Cultures

Western Culture

In Western places, like Europe and North America, people often focus on themselves and their own goals. This idea matches up with behaviorism, which also looks at how individuals act and the things around them. So, in Western therapy, behaviorism might encourage people to take control of their actions and make good changes in their lives (Ibarra et al., 2020). For example, if someone wants to do better at work or school, behaviorism might help them by giving rewards for good behavior, like finishing tasks on time.

Eastern Culture

In Eastern countries such as China or Japan, people often think about how they fit into groups and the importance of being in harmony with others. This idea can also connect with behaviorism but in a different way. In Eastern therapy, behaviorism might consider how a person’s relationships and the community around them affect their behavior (Wakashima et al., 2020). For instance, if someone is having trouble at school or work, behaviorism might look at how their relationships with classmates or coworkers influence their behavior and how they can improve those relationships.


Multiculturalism is about respecting and including people from all different backgrounds and cultures. In therapy, this means that behaviorism should consider the beliefs and values of people from diverse cultures (Modood, 2020). For example, a therapist using behaviorism might adapt their approach depending on the cultural background of their client. They might use different examples or methods that make sense to someone from a different culture, ensuring that everyone feels respected and understood in therapy.

Knowledge of Cognitive Psychology and Professional Behavior

Analysis of Major Events

Behaviorism gained prominence as a notable psychological perspective during the early 1900s, primarily attributed to the groundbreaking contributions of psychologists such as Ivan Pavlov, John B. Watson, and B.F. Skinner. Pavlov’s investigations into classical conditioning, Watson’s focus on observable behavior, and Skinner’s research on operant conditioning were pivotal events that shaped the development of behaviorism (Akpan, 2020). These experiments demonstrated how behavior could be understood and modified through environmental influences, laying the foundation for behaviorist principles that inform professional behavior today.

Influence of Other Schools of Thought

While behaviorism emerged as a distinct school of thought, it was influenced by other psychological perspectives. For instance, cognitive psychology, which emphasizes mental processes like perception, memory, and reasoning, has influenced behaviorism by highlighting the role of cognition in behavior. This influence has led to the development of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), a widely used therapeutic approach that integrates behaviorist and cognitive principles to address psychological issues. By incorporating cognitive elements into behaviorist techniques, professionals can provide more comprehensive interventions that target both behavior and underlying cognitive processes.

Cultural Influences

Cultural factors have also shaped the development of behaviorism and its application in professional settings. In Western cultures, behaviorism’s focus on individual agency and accountability aligns with cultural values of personal responsibility and self-determination. In contrast, Eastern cultures may prioritize communal harmony and interconnectedness, influencing how behaviorism is applied in therapy (Wakashima et al., 2020). Cultural sensitivity is essential for professionals working with teenagers, as they must consider cultural differences in norms, values, and communication styles when implementing behaviorist interventions.

Professional Behavior Informed by Behaviorism

Knowledge of behaviorism informs professional behavior in various fields, including therapy with teenagers. For example, behaviorist principles such as reinforcement and shaping are used to promote positive behaviors and address behavioral issues in adolescents. Therapists may employ techniques such as token economies, where teens earn rewards for desired behaviors, to facilitate behavior change (Ibarra et al., 2020). By applying behaviorist principles in therapy, professionals can help teenagers develop adaptive behaviors, improve coping skills, and achieve positive outcomes in their lives.

PSYC 4100 Assessment 3 How Major Psychological Thought Informs Professional Behavior Conclusion

In conclusion, behaviorism, as a major school of psychological thought, plays a significant role in informing professional behavior, particularly in the realm of therapy with teenagers. The analysis of major events, influence of other schools of thought, consideration of cultural influences, and understanding of behaviorist principles all contribute to the development of effective therapeutic interventions. By applying behaviorist principles such as reinforcement, shaping, and token economies, professionals can address behavioral issues, promote positive change, and facilitate the growth and development of teenagers in a variety of real-world settings. Through a comprehensive understanding of behaviorism and its application in professional practice, therapists can effectively support teenagers in achieving positive outcomes and improving their overall well-being.

PSYC 4100 Assessment 3 How Major Psychological Thought Informs Professional Behavior References

Akpan, B. (2020). Classical and operant conditioning—Ivan Pavlov; Burrhus Skinner. Springer Texts in Education, 1(1), 71–84.

Bąbel, P. (2020). Operant conditioning as a new mechanism of placebo effects. European Journal of Pain, 24(5), 902–908.

Benjamin, E. (2020). Trump, the coronavirus pandemic, Asian American Xenophobia, and humanistic psychology. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 61(2), 244–259.

Blackwell, S. E., & Heidenreich, T. (2021). Cognitive behavior therapy at the crossroads. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 14(1), 1–22.

Brau, B., Fox, N., & Robinson, E. (2020). Behaviorism. In EdTech Books.

Ibarra, F. P., Mehrad, M., Mauro, M. D., Godoy, M. F. P., Cruz, E. G., Nilforoushzadeh, M. A., Russo, G. I., Ibarra, F. P., Mehrad, M., Mauro, M. D., Godoy, M. F. P., Cruz, E. G., Nilforoushzadeh, M. A., & Russo, G. I. (2020). Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the sexual behavior of the population. The vision of the East and the West. International Braz J Urol, 46(1), 104–112.

Kirby, M. S., Spencer, T. D., & Spiker, S. T. (2022). Humble behaviorism redux. Behavior and Social Issues.

Metwally, E. (2021). Achieving the visual perception and gestalt psychology in the Sultan Hassan Mosque building. Open Journal of Applied Sciences, 11(01), 21–40.

Modood, T. (2020). Multiculturalism as a new form of nationalism? Nations and Nationalism, 26(2), 308–313.

Otterbring, T. (2021). Evolutionary psychology in marketing: Deep, debated, but fancier with fieldwork. Psychology & Marketing, 38(2), 229–238.

Selisker, S. (2020). Behaviorism and literary culture. Springer EBooks, 117–127.

Wakashima, K., Asai, K., Kobayashi, D., Koiwa, K., Kamoshida, S., & Sakuraba, M. (2020). The Japanese version of the Fear of COVID-19 scale: Reliability, validity, and relation to coping behavior. PLOS ONE, 15(11), e0241958.

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