Behaviorism Vs Humanism

1041 Words 5 Pages
Comparing and Contrasting Theories of Learning: Behaviorism and Humanism While we have covered much information in this class regarding multiple theories for our behaviors, learning, and even interacting with others, there are two seemingly very different theories that have some striking similarities. These two theories are behaviorism and humanism. Both are used every day in multiple circumstances. Because these two can be very different, they can be used in different ways. At the same time, however, behaviorism and humanism can be used simultaneously to obtain specific goals or to acquire certain desired responses. For our purposes here, I will show how both sides are both similar and different and let you decided for yourselves. …show more content…
Our textbook tells us that behaviorism is the idea that in an effort to try to figure out what is going on inside one’s mind, we should study their behavior. This can get somewhat confusing. The most important aspect of behaviorism though, is the idea that one’s behavior is considered to be an object (or system) that stands all by itself. It is not simply watching one’s reactions to certain situations or stimuli. Behaviorism is the study of the acts involved in our behavior. The founder of behaviorism, John Watson, believed that we should study one’s visible behavior rather than focus on one’s mental states. To Watson, it seems, the only true way to understand someone is by watching how they behave and interact with others. (Lieberman, 2012). A follower of Watson, by the name of B. F. Skinner, took the theory of behaviorism a little farther. He too believed that behavior was an entity all by itself. However, Skinner went so far as to say that behavior could not be explained by using specific terms or even theory testing. Skinner’s approach to behavior came to be known as behavior analysis. That is, the idea that behavior is not a set action. Behavior includes how one reacts to or with its specific environment in a very specific situation—impossible to always predict accurately. Now we can usually have a pretty good guess as to how one might react in a given scenario, but aren’t we still sometimes surprised? For example, …show more content…
First, humanism is the idea that one—specifically doctors—should treat others with a certain kind of respect. We should treat each other as fellow human beings, no matter what the situation might me. This of course can prove to be difficult at times. I mean, think about it, if we are stuck in traffic at 5:00pm and someone is attempting to get over into the lane in front of us, do we let them in? Would it make any difference is say, that person also had their emergency flashers on? I can honestly say, it depends on what kind of mood that I am in. Is it more “right” to be courteous? Or am I “right” not to further hinder traffic? This is where humanism can be tricky. As far as behaviorism is concerned, it seems to be very complicated as well. Yes, we can watch someone interact with those around them, see how they behave. But does that cover everything? If a certain song on the radio brings me to tears, does that make me “emotionally unstable”? Does it make me less of a person for crying in front of my children? No, it does not. Maybe that particular song has special meaning or maybe I could just be having a bad day. Either way, behaviorism can be misleading to say the least. Both theories, and/or practices, can be beneficial in certain studies. We can use humanism and behaviorism to assist with, if not predict, the actions of those around

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