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Key Concepts and Importance of Behaviorism and Cognitivism

Key Concepts and Importance of Behaviorism and Cognitivism


Behaviorism in psychology is also called behavioral psychology. This theory of learning holds that all behaviors of humans and animals can be learned when the animal or the person interacts with the environment through conditioning (Henley, 2018). Hence, according to behaviorism, behavior is the reaction to environmental stimuli. Behaviorism as an ideology is only focused on the observable behaviors that emerge from response to the environment, and as such, behavior can be studied systematically.

One of the most outstanding concepts of this theory is the conditioned response concept. The expressly conditioned response involves the idea that human behavior is a learned response resulting from neutral stimuli (Henley, 2018). For a better explanation, Pavlov’s classical experiment can be used. For instance, Pavlov made the natural signal to be the sound, and whenever there was that sound of a tone, the dogs naturally salivated. This action occurred because the dogs associated the sound with the presence of food.

Operant conditioning is yet another concept in behaviorism. This concept holds that a person can learn when a behavior is reinforced by a desirable consequence (Henley, 2018). In other words, operant conditioning holds that action occurs between the behavior and the result of the action. For instance, if a dog barks at a stranger, it is rewarded with a bone. Then, the dog will always look forward to barking at a stranger. Hence, in the case of humans, a behavior can be taught if it is rewarded (Krapfl, 2016). When a child participates in class, they are given sweets, and they are likely to participate in class again and again.


This ideology in psychology holds that information can be absorbed by the mind, organized, stored, and even retrieved by the human mind. This theory further argues that the mind operates just like a computer and has three different levels of memory like the computer (Henley, 2018). What is significant about this theory is that it believes that behavior is not learned just through observing external factors but that learning a behavior also depends on certain internal factors.

The first concept in this theory is that meditational processes occur between stimulus and response. The thesis argues that the mind cannot be studied within this concept because it is an internal mental process, and observing it is impossible (Henley, 2018). Therefore, it is essential to look at how cognitive processes influence a person’s behavior.

The second concept is the scientific side of psychology. This theory holds that psychology should be considered a science. Within this concept, the thesis argues that cognitive psychologists prefer using controlled, objective, and scientific approaches when studying or examining behavior (Henley, 2018). Thus, those who hold this ideology use the outcomes of their investigation as the basis for making conclusions on mental processes.

How Behaviorism and Cognitivism Influence the Formation of Cognitive Behaviorism

Behaviourism influences the formation of cognitive behaviorism by depending on the environmental stimuli as a factor that determines human behavior. Hence, external factors are more critical in developing tendencies (Khan, Jamil & Sethi, 2020). On the other hand, cognitivism influences cognitive behavior by arguing that internal factors influence behavior in the mind, so it is wrong to rely on external factors. Khan, Jamil, and Sethi (2020) add that behaviorism depends on external factors, while cognitivism depends on psychological factors and their influence on behavior. These two ideologies are very different in their approach to what causes behavior. However, the point of connection comes where both ideas can be used to understand behavior. In other words, both internal and external factors work concurrently to affect how a person behaves. A better observation can be seen in the theory that underlies cognitive behavior therapy. This theory is a combination of behaviorism and cognitivism. Krapfl (2016) argues that the central idea that influences a therapy like CBT is that problems are caused by external events and the meanings people make out of them. In other words, both external and internal factors influence how people behave.

Importance of Cognitive Behaviorism

When interacting with people at work, cognitive behaviorism can help understand why some people behave the way they behave. For instance, one can understand why a co-worker comes to work in time even when they may not wish to because they do not like being questioned by the supervisor or penalized for their consistent lateness. Most importantly, cognitive behaviorism helps individuals understand their beliefs and the factors that influence their opinions. It is significant to remember that cognitive behaviorism holds that external factors influence internal factors, leading to the mental creation of an idea regarding that external factor (Khan, Jamil & Sethi, 2020). Therefore, through this understanding, a person can shape and reshape their behaviors to fit into society in cases where they perceive that their beliefs affect how they interact with others. Similarly, through this theory, one can understand why others behave the way they do and then respond to them with empathy.


Henley, T. (2018). Hergenhahn’s An Introduction to the History of Psychology (8th Edition). Cengage Learning US.

Khan, M. J., Jamil, B., & Sethi, A. (2020). Learning Based On Principles Of Cognitivism. Journal of Ayub Medical College, Abbottabad: JAMC, 32(4), 585–587.

Krapfl, J. E. (2016). Behaviorism and society. The Behavior Analyst, 39(1), 123-129.


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UNIT 8 ASSgn. P210. (In relation to the profession of ABA)
This assignment will assess your ability to explain behaviorism and cognitivism as separate schools of thought and connect them to the development of cognitive behaviorism. You will show the interaction of these schools of thought through examples related to your professional goals.

Key Concepts and Importance of Behaviorism and Cognitivism

Key Concepts and Importance of Behaviorism and Cognitivism

Write a 2- to 3-page informational essay incorporating the following:

Explain behaviorism.
Provide the definition.
Discuss at least two key concepts related to behaviorism.

Explain cognitivism.
Provide the definition.
Discuss at least two key concepts related to cognitivism.
Explain how behaviorism and cognitivism both influenced the formation of cognitive behaviorism.
Provide an example of how cognitive behaviorism would be important while interacting with others in a work setting aligned with your professional goals (for example, understanding why others might behave inappropriately in order to avoid conflict or why someone might continue to drink alcohol even though they have lost their driver’s license, or why a child might decide to talk back to a teacher even though it will be punished).
Focus your example on cognitive behaviorism and what it means in relation to the examples rather than on the physical characteristics of the example.

Textbook: Henley, T. (2018). Hergenhahn’s An Introduction to the History of Psychology (8th Edition). Cengage Learning US.

Here is the RUBRIC INFO:
● Defines behaviorism
● Discusses at least two key concepts

● Defines cognitivism
● Discusses at least two key concepts

Influence of both Behaviorism and Cognitivism to form Cognitive Behaviorism
Explains how both behaviorism and cognitivism influenced the formation of cognitive behaviorism

Example of how cognitive behaviorism would be important in professional goals
● Provides an example of how cognitive behaviorism would be important in a work setting aligned with professional goals
● Focuses example of cognitive behaviorism

The assignment meets all of the following:

● Clearly written in Standard English.
● Free of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors
● References or academic sources as required, including in-text citation(s)
● Formatted correctly using either APA style or the provided template

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