behaviourism, known as operant conditioning, emphasises the role of environment inshaping future behaviours and therefore development (Sigelman, 2009). Building on thetheory of classical conditioning propounded by his predecessor, John B.Watson,Skinner’s theory likewise can be categorised as a learning model of development.Learning theory seeks to place the emphasis for development on nurture rather thannature. In this way, development is seen as having being ‘learnt’ from the environment,as opposed to hard-wired or programmed into the brain through gene codes. I think thisascribes then to behaviourism a largely reactive feel – development is trained throughreactions to different stimuli. Skinner, in distinction to Watson, proposed that behaviour,influenced thus by environmental conditions, was contextual in nature (Ruiz, 1995;Malone & Cruchon, 2001). This prescribes a relationship between context – history – and behaviour. This is important to note, as it allowed Skinner to understandconditioning with an extra flexibility – it places the individual in society, and therefore bares some resemblance in character to the social-constructivist theories of Vygotsky andothers (Ruiz, 1995). Let us wade deeper into Skinner’s behaviourism:(For Skinner) changed attitudes follow or accompany changed behaviour;changed behaviour
changed reinforcement contingencies. QuotingWilliam James, (Skinner) says that we do not run from the bear because we areafraid, but rather that the fear, set off by the higher adrenalin in our blood andfaster heartbeat, is part of our running response. The fear follows or goes with therunning behaviour (Platt, cited in Mowrer, 2001).This quote perhaps captures the essence of Skinner’s plan; he did not deny a role for the private events (the subjective properties associated with human experience, emotion for example), yet he felt they could be explained exclusively by behaviour, that is, operantconditioning (Malone & Cruchon, 2001). In fact, it is largely Skinner’s belief in an
Developmental psychology helps people learn about behavioral development from birth and throughout your lifetime. Research and studies completed in this career field have helped us learn about behavioral, emotional, and mental health patterns that occur through each stage of life including infancy, adolescence, middle age, and senior years. Professionals in this field also study habits of babies while still in the womb by noting physical development and later social development after birth. Developmental psychologists at one point limited their studies to children only, but because so many changes occur in various areas of behavioral development, the study expanded to include all age groups.
Understanding psychological development in humans is important because of its connection to how we mature and human nature. Over the years milestones were made and identified to help researchers learn how people live based on psychological behavior. Other factors continue to be studied to help us learn more about positive and negative actions people do on a daily basis. Many studies are still completed on children with some starting at childhood and progressing through the teenage years. It has helped us learn how hormonal changes affect mood, emotion, and what is considered normal development.
This field has helped to bring a unique understanding of developmental psychology among different race groups, genders, and other populations. There are certain groups of people that grow more than others and genetics may play a role in this, while psychological development may have more of an influence. Social issues are another area of concern related to this field. At childhood social activity develops in different stages, but researchers still continue to learn why such patterns change as children grow. Various aspects are studied to help get a better understanding such as how a person lives, who they socialize with, their lifestyle and habits, and so on.
Overall, many strides have been made to help those with developmental issues through studies that provide promising results from solutions already implemented. Changes are still needed to help those with negative behavioral patterns that are more complex. Such patterns lead to an individual committing crime, abuse of themselves or another, and even committing horrific acts beyond comprehension. Psychology is an important element of understanding human nature, how we communicate with one another and how it affects our well-being. This has helped open up more insight on possible blocks in development that keep some from living the life they want.