Behavioral theories

Behavioral theories are important group of theories that serve as a knowledge base for the practice of psychiatric mental health nursing. The behavioral theories have their roots in the discipline of psychology. Behavioral theories attempt to explain how people learn and situation. Act. Unlike psychodynamic theories, Behavioral theories never attempt to explain the cause of mental disorder, but focus on normal human behavior. Research results are then applied to the clinical.

       1.      Classical conditioning theory:
A process of behavior modification by which a subject comes to respond in a desired manner to previously neutral stimulus that has been repeatedly presented along with an unconditioned stimulus that elicits the desired response.
        2.      Operant conditioning theory (B.F.Skinner)
The theory of B.F .Skinner is based upon the idea that learning is a function of change in overt behavior. Changes in behavior are the result of an individual's response to learnt (stimuli) that occur in the environment. A response produces a consequence such as defining a word, hitting a ball, or solving a math problem.
The differences between classical and operant conditioning theory:
One of the simplest ways to remember the differences between classical and operant conditioning is to focus on whether the behavior is involuntary or voluntary.
classical conditioning theory
operant conditioning theory
Classical conditioning involves making an association between an involuntary response and a stimulus
Operant conditioning is about making an association between a voluntary behavior and a consequence.
Classical conditioning involves no such enticements.
In operant conditioning, the learner is also rewarded with incentives.
Classical conditioning is passive on the part of the learner.
Operant conditioning requires the learner to actively participate and perform some type of action in order to be rewarded or punished.

Similarities between classical and operant conditioning theory:
Today, both classical and operant conditioning are utilized for a variety of purposes by teachers, parents, psychologists, animal trainers and many others. In animal training, a trainer might utilize classical conditioning by repeatedly pairing the sound of a clicker with the taste of food. Eventually, the sound of the clicker alone will begin to produce the same response .t the taste of food would.
In a classroom setting, a teacher might utilize operant conditioning by offering tokens as rewards for good behavior. Students can then turn in these tokens to receive some type of reward such as treat or extra play time.
      3.      Contiguity theory
Guthrie's idea that learning depends on a stimulus and response occurring together in time rather than depending on reinforcement.

Example The classic experimental paradigm for Contiguity theory is cats learning to escape from a puzzle box (Guthrie & Horton. 1946). Guthrie used a glass paneled box that allowed him to photograph the exact movements of cats. These photographs showed that cats learned to repeat the same sequence of movements associated with the preceding escape from the box. Improvement comes about because irrelevant movements are unlearned or not included in successive association.


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