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Can someone mark my 16 mark essay for psychology?

My teacher doesn't really give clear feedback so I was wondering if someone here could give me a little feedback on my essay? It's not the full thing, but the rest of my essay follows round-about the same structure. I would really appreciate honest feedback!

Describe and evaluate the behaviourist approach (16 marks)

The behaviourist approach is a learning approach that believes everyone is born as blank slates, learning through our interactions with the environment. (It focusses on observable stimulus and events and believes that all behaviours is as a result of conditioning, without the need to consider thoughts and feelings.) Two main ideas of the approach include classical and operant conditioning.
Classical conditioning, pioneered by Pavlov, states that learning occurs through associations, and he exemplified this in his dog salivary experiment. In this, the neutral stimulus (the bell) was consistently paired with the unconditioned stimulus (the dog food), until eventually, the dog began to salivate (which was the unconditioned response to the dog food) when just hearing the bell. As such, the salivation to the sound of the bell is now a conditioned response. This demonstrates the learning through association theory as the dog began to associate the bell with food and so salivated as he expected to be fed.
Operant conditioning, as proposed by Skinner, found that behaviour was as a result of reinforcement and punishment and Skinner displayed this in his Skinner box experiment. The rat was rewarded a food pellet every time it pressed the lever, displaying positive reinforcement where an ascensive is added to strengthen a behaviour. In another variation, the rat had an electric shock removed by pressing a lever, showing negative reinforcement, where an unpleasant thing is removed to strengthen a behaviour. Positive punishment is when something unpleasant is added to reduce the likelihood of a behaviour being repeated, and negative punishment is when something pleasant is taken away for the same reason.

An advantage of the behaviourist approach is that it has useful applications in therapy. Systematic desensitisation is based off classical conditioning, whereby a conditioned response to a stimulus (e.g., fear), is replaced by another conditioned response, for example, relaxation. As such, the patient is conditioned to no longer be afraid of the target stimuli. This use of classical conditioning demonstrates the practical and useful application of the approach as method of treating phobias, such as aerophobia, and is supported by McGrath et al, who found that 75% of patients were successfully treated with systematic desensitisation. Therefore, classical conditioning has proved a useful therapeutic tool in treating phobias and may continue to do so.

Additionally, a strength of operant conditioning in particular is its reliance on the scientific approach in testing assumption about behaviour. Skinner, in his Skinner box experiment, was able to manipulate the consequences of behaviour, which was to either reward the rat with a food pellet or stopping the electric shock, to see the effect this had on the rat’s behaviour, which was to pull the lever. These manipulation of the variables under highly controlled conditions allowed Skinner to draw cause-and-effect relationships between the consequences of behaviour and the future frequencies of their occurrence, thus supporting and adding scientific credibility to his theories. However, Skinner’s over-reliance on animals in these experiments proved to be a disadvantage as animals are not alike to humans and thus findings made exclusively from animal studies cannot be reliably generalised to humans. Overall, the strength of operant conditioning using the scientific methodology allows for reliable causal conclusions to be made that supports theories about behaviour, however the over-use of animals means that these conclusions may not be generalisable to humans.

A disadvantage or classical conditioning is that it is not appropriate for all types of learning as some associations between the conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus are more readily made than others. This can be explained via ‘preparedness’ in animals, where animals are only prepared to learn certain associations if it contributes to their survivals, for example, the smell of meat with the presence of food. As such, associations are only made if they contribute to the organism in some way and thus this theory cannot be used as an explanation for all types of learned behaviour. Therefore, a limitation of classical conditioning is that it is not useful in understanding how all types of learning behaviour occurs.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 1
Original post by MlightOr
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111
Hi,
For your AO1 you could include the fact that classical conditioning is based on reflexive actions whereas operant conditioning is voluntary behavioural actions.
A blank slate is also known as a
Reply 3
Original post by alevelstudent8
Hi,
For your AO1 you could include the fact that classical conditioning is based on reflexive actions whereas operant conditioning is voluntary behavioural actions.
A blank slate is also known as a


Sorry, you didn’t finish that
Original post by MlightOr
Sorry, you didn’t finish that


oops
A blank slate is also known as a "Tabula Rasa" so you could mention that.
For your paragraph on operant conditioning I think you need a bit more detail i.e. the positive reinforcement increased the frequency of the behaviour showing that the rat has been conditioned.
For you AO3 paragraph I would recommend having counters/ extras in at least 2 paragraphs if your aiming for 16/16.
Also in the paragraph about how he controlled the variables mention how they minimised the extraneous variables.
Reply 5
Original post by alevelstudent8
oops
A blank slate is also known as a "Tabula Rasa" so you could mention that.
For your paragraph on operant conditioning I think you need a bit more detail i.e. the positive reinforcement increased the frequency of the behaviour showing that the rat has been conditioned.
For you AO3 paragraph I would recommend having counters/ extras in at least 2 paragraphs if your aiming for 16/16.
Also in the paragraph about how he controlled the variables mention how they minimised the extraneous variables.

Thank you so much! This was really helpful!

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