Behaviorism is a branch of psychology concerned with explaining learned behavior as a result of environmental phenomena. Learning is a process of change that occurs as a result of experience which then modifies behavior. Behaviorists claims that learning occurs as a direct result of conditioning behavior to specific environment situations. Conditioning refers to acquiring or diminishing certain behaviors through negative or positive reinforcement. Therefore, the use of conditioning is prominent in therapy and diverse behavior modification settings in order to minimize dysfunctional behavior and optimize practical living. Behavior is considered overt and measurable and completely independent from mental states; therefore the concept of personality and personality traits are nonexistent from a behavior perspective since the locus of influence is entirely outside the person.

The four types of learning are:

1. habituation

2. classical conditioning

3. operant conditioning

4. modeling

“Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed and my own specific world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select — a doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even into a beggar-man and thief regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors.” -John B. Watson, on Behaviorism, 1926.

See Also

Classical Conditioning


John B. Watson

Ivan Pavlov


Operant Conditioning



Dyce, J. (2008, July 24). Power Point: Principles of Behavior Change. Retrieved from: