For several centuries, the ‘truth’ behind the origins of human behavior has been credited to renowned philosophers such as, Descartes, Galileo, and Kant. The paving of intrigue has been a working progress since the road to psychological epistemology has taken many different paths that have contributed to the roots of human thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. When surveying the history of this field, one would be remiss for failing to acknowledge John B. Watson as the founder of a psychological movement that is ‘behaviorism’. Watson revolutionized behaviorism as a subfield of psychology in which aspects of human behavior are understood and depicted from experiences of self-evident truths. Theoretically, behaviorism has been prevalent throughout the history of psychology dating back to the twentieth century. The original concepts mainly focused on objectively studying conscious experiences of both, animals and humans, all the while defying the assumptions of experimental psychology. Furthermore, while Watson was establishing a new path within psychology, many considered his statements bold and doomed for failure due to the fact that behaviorism heavily relied on empirical evidence, unreliable interpretation of conscious experiences and mental processes. However, it was because of his objective and empirical methods of study, Watson’s influence is notable in psychoanalytic concepts such as the role of childhood experiences. Nonetheless, in order for the practical and applicable research on human behavior, Watson was determined to establish psychology as a science, taken seriously and accepted by society. Watsonian Behaviorism had a significant impact on society, in which the fundamental principles of behaviorism essentially outgrew previous attitudes or rather, explained a more accurate culmination of previous research. For instance, various subfields of psychological growth attempted to interpret the relationship between the mind, body, and environment, whereas, Watson later pointed out that mental processes and subsequently, the environments in which they occur, are not independent from one another. The insufficiencies within the field of psychology strove Watson to provide a more useful explanation of human behavior and the objective measurement of human processes. Due to his personal attributes such as scientific precision, dedication, and tenacity, Watson is credited with establishing the field of Applied Psychology. Watson’s work and publications has also assisted in areas besides psychology, for example, his propositions that illustrate the practicality of studying beyond the conscious and unconscious are also applicable to business, medical, legal, and educational fields. Watson mandated the use of physical stimuli also referred to as Watson’s stimulus-response model as a means to an end in the investigation of various mental states, which in turn, has benefited and continues to have utility as it relates to areas of legal and forensic psychology. However, Watson’s reveal of conditioned emotional responses is considered to be one of his major contributions. This discovery along with the infamous Little Albert experiments, contributed applicability, consistency and logic for the more pressing clinical issues dealing with mental disorders, drug addiction, and phobias. Watsonian Behaviorism invigorated and inclined researchers to make new discoveries. Using conclusions from Watson’s animal research emerged experiments on learning processes relating to matters involving emotions, instincts and habit formation. Although the foundation of the behaviorist viewpoint was not initially embraced, it was Watson’s objective findings that not only fostered the theoretical framework of mental representations and emotional associations but also maintained the future development of psychology. While he endured ridicule and acknowledged that his position could be rejected time and time again, his perseverance is to be applauded. If it was not for Watsonian Behaviorism psychology may never have been accepted as a real science.
September 20, 2019 0 Comments