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Behaviorism is a term that is used to within the field of psychology. It is an older term that originated out of the belief systems that conditioning could be used to alter behavior. This was a school of that that has continued to make great strides over the decades and even today remains quite popular. There are a handful of great psychologists who are coined as “behavioral psychologists” because of their contributions to the field.
This term first came into use in reference to the school of psychology which was originally founded by John B. Watson. It is ultimately based on the belief that most behaviors can be measures and can be changed and trained. This was established in a seminal paper on the subject and were primarily used in reference to something acquired through conditioning. This occurs through some sort of interaction with the environment as a whole. The psychologists who study this generally believe that our responses to stimuli in the environment are what ultimately shape our behaviors. Psychology has changed dramatically as another school of thought began to rise to dominance. This was a major shift in the general perspectives that were around at the time. Beyond that, the emphasis was both the conscious and the unconscious mind. This strove to make it a more scientific discipline by being based on observation.
The ultimate impact of this new school is absolutely huge. This particular school of thought was so popular that it remained the dominant concept in the field of psychology for the next fifty or so years. After this the psychologist B.F. Skinner went on to further the perspective in this field through his concept of operant conditioning which tried to demonstrate the effects of reinforcement and punishment on behavior. While this field eventually began to wane in the minds of those people used to it in the psychology field, the basic principles are still in use today. Therapy has been designed which takes this kind of thing into account and modification of behavior and some token economies are often used to help kids learn new things.
Overall behaviorism is a term that relates to conditioning in many ways and altering behavior based on punishments or reinforcements. Now the field has made such great contributions as to still be integrated into many forms of therapy and used to help those who are in need of changed behavior.