By the end of this section, you will be able to:
- Describe the behaviorist perspective on personality
- Describe the cognitive perspective on personality
- Describe the social cognitive perspective on personality
In contrast to the psychodynamic approaches of Freud and the neo-Freudians, which relate personality to inner (and hidden) processes, the learning approaches focus only on observable behavior. This illustrates one significant advantage of the learning approaches over psychodynamics: Because learning approaches involve observable, measurable phenomena, they can be scientifically tested.
Behaviorists do not believe in biological determinism: They do not see personality traits as inborn. Instead, they view personality as significantly shaped by the reinforcements and consequences outside of the organism. In other words, people behave in a consistent manner based on prior learning. B. F. Skinner, a strict behaviorist, believed that environment was solely responsible for all behavior, including the enduring, consistent behavior patterns studied by personality theorists.
As you may recall from your study on the psychology of learning, Skinner proposed that we demonstrate consistent behavior patterns because we have developed certain response tendencies (Skinner, 1953). In other words, we learn to behave in particular ways. We increase the behaviors that lead to positive consequences, and we decrease the behaviors that lead to negative consequences. Skinner disagreed with Freud’s idea that personality is fixed in childhood. He argued that personality develops over our entire life, not only in the first few years. Our responses can change as we come across new situations; therefore, we can expect more variability over time in personality than Freud would anticipate. For example, consider a young woman, Greta, a risk taker. She drives fast and participates in dangerous sports such as hang gliding and kiteboarding. But after she gets married and has children, the system of reinforcements and punishments in her environment changes. Speeding and extreme sports are no longer reinforced, so she no longer engages in those behaviors. In fact, Greta now describes herself as a cautious person.
Albert Bandura agreed with Skinner that personality develops through learning. He disagreed, however, with Skinner’s strict behaviorist approach to personality development, because he felt that thinking and reasoning are important components of learning. He presented a social-cognitive theory of personality that emphasizes both learning and cognition as sources of individual differences in personality. In social-cognitive theory, the concepts of reciprocal determinism, observational learning, and self-efficacy all play a part in personality development.
In contrast to Skinner’s idea that the environment alone determines behavior, Bandura (1990) proposed the concept of reciprocal determinism, in which cognitive processes, behavior, and context all interact, each factor influencing and being influenced by the others simultaneously ([link]). Cognitive processes refer to all characteristics previously learned, including beliefs, expectations, and personality characteristics. Behavior refers to anything that we do that may be rewarded or punished. Finally, the context in which the behavior occurs refers to the environment or situation, which includes rewarding/punishing stimuli.
Bandura proposed the idea of reciprocal determinism: Our behavior, cognitive processes, and situational context all influence each other.
Consider, for example, that you’re at a festival and one of the attractions is bungee jumping from a bridge. Do you do it? In this example, the behavior is bungee jumping. Cognitive factors that might influence this behavior include your beliefs and values, and your past experiences with similar behaviors. Finally, context refers to the reward structure for the behavior. According to reciprocal determinism, all of these factors are in play.
Bandura’s key contribution to learning theory was the idea that much learning is vicarious. We learn by observing someone else’s behavior and its consequences, which Bandura called observational learning. He felt that this type of learning also plays a part in the development of our personality. Just as we learn individual behaviors, we learn new behavior patterns when we see them performed by other people or models. Drawing on the behaviorists’ ideas about reinforcement, Bandura suggested that whether we choose to imitate a model’s behavior depends on whether we see the model reinforced or punished. Through observational learning, we come to learn what behaviors are acceptable and rewarded in our culture, and we also learn to inhibit deviant or socially unacceptable behaviors by seeing what behaviors are punished.
We can see the principles of reciprocal determinism at work in observational learning. For example, personal factors determine which behaviors in the environment a person chooses to imitate, and those environmental events in turn are processed cognitively according to other personal factors.
Bandura (1977, 1995) has studied a number of cognitive and personal factors that affect learning and personality development, and most recently has focused on the concept of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is our level of confidence in our own abilities, developed through our social experiences. Self-efficacy affects how we approach challenges and reach goals. In observational learning, self-efficacy is a cognitive factor that affects which behaviors we choose to imitate as well as our success in performing those behaviors.
People who have high self-efficacy believe that their goals are within reach, have a positive view of challenges seeing them as tasks to be mastered, develop a deep interest in and strong commitment to the activities in which they are involved, and quickly recover from setbacks. Conversely, people with low self-efficacy avoid challenging tasks because they doubt their ability to be successful, tend to focus on failure and negative outcomes, and lose confidence in their abilities if they experience setbacks. Feelings of self-efficacy can be specific to certain situations. For instance, a student might feel confident in her ability in English class but much less so in math class.
Julian Rotter (1966) proposed the concept of locus of control, another cognitive factor that affects learning and personality development. Distinct from self-efficacy, which involves our belief in our own abilities, locus of control refers to our beliefs about the power we have over our lives. In Rotter’s view, people possess either an internal or an external locus of control ([link]). Those of us with an internal locus of control (“internals”) tend to believe that most of our outcomes are the direct result of our efforts. Those of us with an external locus of control (“externals”) tend to believe that our outcomes are outside of our control. Externals see their lives as being controlled by other people, luck, or chance. For example, say you didn’t spend much time studying for your psychology test and went out to dinner with friends instead. When you receive your test score, you see that you earned a D. If you possess an internal locus of control, you would most likely admit that you failed because you didn’t spend enough time studying and decide to study more for the next test. On the other hand, if you possess an external locus of control, you might conclude that the test was too hard and not bother studying for the next test, because you figure you will fail it anyway. Researchers have found that people with an internal locus of control perform better academically, achieve more in their careers, are more independent, are healthier, are better able to cope, and are less depressed than people who have an external locus of control (Benassi, Sweeney, & Durfour, 1988; Lefcourt, 1982; Maltby, Day, & Macaskill, 2007; Whyte, 1977, 1978, 1980).
Locus of control occurs on a continuum from internal to external.
Take the Locus of Control questionnaire. Scores range from 0 to 13. A low score on this questionnaire indicates an internal locus of control, and a high score indicates an external locus of control.
Walter Mischel was a student of Julian Rotter and taught for years at Stanford, where he was a colleague of Albert Bandura. Mischel surveyed several decades of empirical psychological literature regarding trait prediction of behavior, and his conclusion shook the foundations of personality psychology. Mischel found that the data did not support the central principle of the field—that a person’s personality traits are consistent across situations. His report triggered a decades-long period of self-examination, known as the person-situation debate, among personality psychologists.
Mischel suggested that perhaps we were looking for consistency in the wrong places. He found that although behavior was inconsistent across different situations, it was much more consistent within situations—so that a person’s behavior in one situation would likely be repeated in a similar one. And as you will see next regarding his famous “marshmallow test,” Mischel also found that behavior is consistent in equivalent situations across time.
One of Mischel’s most notable contributions to personality psychology was his ideas on self-regulation. According to Lecci & Magnavita (2013), “Self-regulation is the process of identifying a goal or set of goals and, in pursuing these goals, using both internal (e.g., thoughts and affect) and external (e.g., responses of anything or anyone in the environment) feedback to maximize goal attainment” (p. 6.3). Self-regulation is also known as will power. When we talk about will power, we tend to think of it as the ability to delay gratification. For example, Bettina’s teenage daughter made strawberry cupcakes, and they looked delicious. However, Bettina forfeited the pleasure of eating one, because she is training for a 5K race and wants to be fit and do well in the race. Would you be able to resist getting a small reward now in order to get a larger reward later? This is the question Mischel investigated in his now-classic marshmallow test.
Mischel designed a study to assess self-regulation in young children. In the marshmallow study, Mischel and his colleagues placed a preschool child in a room with one marshmallow on the table. The child was told that he could either eat the marshmallow now, or wait until the researcher returned to the room and then he could have two marshmallows (Mischel, Ebbesen & Raskoff, 1972). This was repeated with hundreds of preschoolers. What Mischel and his team found was that young children differ in their degree of self-control. Mischel and his colleagues continued to follow this group of preschoolers through high school, and what do you think they discovered? The children who had more self-control in preschool (the ones who waited for the bigger reward) were more successful in high school. They had higher SAT scores, had positive peer relationships, and were less likely to have substance abuse issues; as adults, they also had more stable marriages (Mischel, Shoda, & Rodriguez, 1989; Mischel et al., 2010). On the other hand, those children who had poor self-control in preschool (the ones who grabbed the one marshmallow) were not as successful in high school, and they were found to have academic and behavioral problems.
To learn more about the marshmallow test and view the test given to children in Columbia, follow the link below to Joachim de Posada’s TEDTalks video.
Today, the debate is mostly resolved, and most psychologists consider both the situation and personal factors in understanding behavior. For Mischel (1993), people are situation processors. The children in the marshmallow test each processed, or interpreted, the rewards structure of that situation in their own way. Mischel’s approach to personality stresses the importance of both the situation and the way the person perceives the situation. Instead of behavior being determined by the situation, people use cognitive processes to interpret the situation and then behave in accordance with that interpretation.
Behavioral theorists view personality as significantly shaped and impacted by the reinforcements and consequences outside of the organism. People behave in a consistent manner based on prior learning. B. F. Skinner, a prominent behaviorist, said that we demonstrate consistent behavior patterns, because we have developed certain response tendencies. Mischel focused on how personal goals play a role in the self-regulation process. Albert Bandura said that one’s environment can determine behavior, but at the same time, people can influence the environment with both their thoughts and behaviors, which is known as reciprocal determinism. Bandura also emphasized how we learn from watching others. He felt that this type of learning also plays a part in the development of our personality. Bandura discussed the concept of self-efficacy, which is our level of confidence in our own abilities. Finally, Rotter proposed the concept of locus of control, which refers to our beliefs about the power we have over our lives. He said that people fall along a continuum between a purely internal and a purely external locus of control.
Self-regulation is also known as ________.
- will power
- internal locus of control
- external locus of control
Your level of confidence in your own abilities is known as ________.
Jane believes that she got a bad grade on her psychology paper because her professor doesn’t like her. Jane most likely has an _______ locus of control.
Compare the personalities of someone who has high self-efficacy to someone who has low self-efficacy.
People who have high self-efficacy believe that their efforts matter. They perceive their goals as being within reach; have a positive view of challenges, seeing them as tasks to be mastered; develop a deep interest in and strong commitment to the activities in which they are involved; and quickly recover from setbacks. Conversely, people with low self-efficacy believe their efforts have little or no effect, and that outcomes are beyond their control. They avoid challenging tasks because they doubt their abilities to be successful; tend to focus on failure and negative outcomes; and lose confidence in their abilities if they experience setbacks.
Compare and contrast Skinner’s perspective on personality development to Freud’s.
Skinner disagreed with Freud’s idea that childhood plays an important role in shaping our personality. He argued that personality develops over our entire life, rather than in the first few years of life as Freud suggested. Skinner said that our responses can change as we come across new situations; therefore, we can see more variability over time in personality.
Do you have an internal or an external locus of control? Provide examples to support your answer.
- locus of control
- beliefs about the power we have over our lives; an external locus of control is the belief that our outcomes are outside of our control; an internal locus of control is the belief that we control our own outcomes
- reciprocal determinism
- belief that one’s environment can determine behavior, but at the same time, people can influence the environment with both their thoughts and behaviors
- someone’s level of confidence in their own abilities
- social-cognitive theory
- Bandura’s theory of personality that emphasizes both cognition and learning as sources of individual differences in personality
The Learning approach to Psychology proposes that behaviour is acquired by learning experiences. Learning theorists examine how we acquire these behaviours and study the mechanisms that underlie learning.
One mark for identifying a way in which SLT is similar to another approach. Likely answers will refer to overlap with the behaviourist approach – learning of behaviour and role of reinforcement; overlap with cognitive approach – mental processes in learning.
Although proponents of these two perspectives differ in their view of how learning can be studied, both schools of thought agree that there are three major assumptions of learning theory: (1) behavior is influenced by experience, (2) learning is adaptive for the individual and for the species, and (3) learning is a ...
According to the VARK system, there are four types of learning styles—visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and reading/writing.
One assumption of the learning approach is that all behaviors are learnt from the environment. They can be learnt through classical conditioning, learning by association or through operant conditioning, learning by consequences.
Learning Can Affect Attitudes, Knowledge, or Behavior
It's important to remember that learning can involve both beneficial and negative behaviors. Learning is a natural and ongoing part of life that takes place continually, both for better and for worse.
Limitation 1 - Credit is given for the limitation of SLT being reductionist and neglecting any biological factors. Limitation 2 - The fact that SLT is deterministic because it neglects free will is credited as a second limitation.
Social learning theory explains complex behavior by acknowledging cognitive factors and the role they play in deciding whether to imitate behavior. However, it does not account for how we develop a wide range of behavior based on thoughts and feelings.
SLT might be un-scientific since it includes motives and thought processes. This cognitive side to human behaviour cannot be observed directly.
- Learning through association - Classical Conditioning.
- Learning through consequences – Operant Conditioning.
- Learning through observation – Modeling/Observational Learning.
- Thinking skills. critical thinking. creativity and innovation. transfer.
- Communication skills.
- Social skills.
- Self-management skills. organisation. affective. reflection.
- Research skills. information literacy. media literacy.
The five major perspectives in psychology are biological, psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive and humanistic. You may wonder why there are so many different psychology approaches and whether one approach is correct and others wrong.
Although there are many different approaches to learning, there are three basic types of learning theory: behaviorist, cognitive constructivist, and social constructivist. This section provides a brief introduction to each type of learning theory.
Explain how learned behaviors are different from instincts and reflexes Define learning Recognize and define three basic forms of learning—classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational learning. In operant conditioning, organisms learn, again, to associate events—a behavior and its consequence (reinforcement or punishment).. This dog has learned that certain behaviors result in receiving a treat.. Observational learning extends the effective range of both classical and operant conditioning.. In contrast to classical and operant conditioning, in which learning occurs only through direct experience, observational learning is the process of watching others and then imitating what they do.. All of the approaches covered in this chapter are part of a particular tradition in psychology, called behaviorism, which we discuss in the next section.. Instincts and reflexes are innate behaviors—they occur naturally and do not involve learning.. In ________ the stimulus or experience occurs before the behavior and then gets paired with the behavior.. Both classical and operant conditioning involve learning by association.. In classical conditioning, the event that drives the behavior (the stimulus) comes before the behavior; in operant conditioning, the event that drives the behavior (the consequence) comes after the behavior.. Also, whereas classical conditioning involves an organism forming an association between an involuntary (reflexive) response and a stimulus, operant conditioning involves an organism forming an association between a voluntary behavior and a consequence.. What is the difference between a reflex and a learned behavior?. A reflex is a behavior that humans are born knowing how to do, such as sucking or blushing; these behaviors happen automatically in response to stimuli in the environment.. How did you learn them?. associative learning form of learning that involves connecting certain stimuli or events that occur together in the environment (classical and operant conditioning) instinct unlearned knowledge, involving complex patterns of behavior; instincts are thought to be more prevalent in lower animals than in humans learning change in behavior or knowledge that is the result of experience reflex unlearned, automatic response by an organism to a stimulus in the environment
Explanation of approaches in psychology, including behaviorism, cognitive and psychodynamic approaches, and biological approaches.
For instance, psychologists taking the biological approach assume that differences in behavior can be understood in terms of genes, brain structure and hormones, which can predispose a person to particular health conditions.. Behavioral psychologists emphasise the role of the environment on a person’s behavior, and believe that we learn new behavior as a result of conditioning.. He emphasised the “objective” nature of the approach, believed that scientific methods could be applied to human behavior, and that a person’s behavior could be observed, measured and quantified through experimentation ( Watson, 1913 ).. The behavioral approach adopts similar scientific principles to the biological approaches.. After the psychodynamic approach and behaviorism, the humanistic approach is considered to be the “third force” in psychology.. The humanistic approach also rejected the determinism of the psychodynamic approach, with its assumption that the subconscious and its innate drives lead to a person’s behavior, rather than his or her free will.. The psychodynamic approach emphasises the role that the internal ‘dynamics’ of a person’s personality play on his or her behavior.
Learning theories in psychology explain how people acquire knowledge. Explore some major learning theories include behaviorism, cognitivism, and constructivism.
Behavioral learning theory Cognitive learning theory Constructivist learning theory Social learning theory Experiential learning theory. This article explores these learning theories, including how each one explains the learning process.. Behavioral theories are centered on the environmental influences on the learning process.. Learning occurs by forming associations between naturally occurring stimuli and a previously neutral stimulus The neutral stimulus must occur immediately before the naturally occurring one Focuses on automatic, naturally occurring behaviors. Skinner believed that classical conditioning simply could not account for all types of learning and was more interested in learning how the consequences of actions influence behaviors.. Learning occurs when behaviors are followed by either reinforcement or punishment The consequences must quickly follow the behavior Focuses on voluntary behaviors. This learning theory focuses on learning via hands-on experience.
ADVERTISEMENTS: After reading this article you will learn about the importance of transfer of learning. The main purpose of any learning or education is that a person who acquires some knowledge or skill in a formal and controlled situation like a classroom, or a training situation, will be able to transfer such knowledge and skill […]
The underlying assumption was that learning of these languages would inculcate certain general discipline, attitudes and skills and also approaches to learning which are of a general nature and that this would facilitate their learning in a variety of situations.. Here it could be said that the psychologists could have undertaken some experimental studies, comparing those who have mastered these languages with those who have not, on a variety of learning tasks.. Psychologists have certainly carried out a number of experiments on the phenomenon of transfer.. On the other hand if prior learning is followed by poor learning at a subsequent task, it may be inferred that there has been a negative transfer or interference.. Interference may result from a number of factors.. Stimulus generalisation occurs whenever two tasks, the original and the subsequent are similar.. However, if the similarity is too high then there can be a negative transfer or interference.. If there is a similarity between the responses acquired by two situations then there can be a transfer of response from the first learning to the second learning.. But this principle as already noted cannot explain all aspects of the problem of transfer because it has been shown that beyond a certain point similarity can actually result in interference.. General transfers will result if the learner picks up general skills and strategies of learning which had nothing to do with the specific elements of similarity.
By Dr. Deborah Berrill, Professor Emeritus, School of Education & Professional Learning, Trent University and English LD Expert, LD@school Many children who have learning disabilities (LDs) have difficulty in reading. There are multiple reasons for this, reminding us of the complexities of the neurobiological underpinnings of LDs and how brain differences affect learning. One of the main
People without LDs often use a phonics approach to sound out unfamiliar words but that does not work as well for many people with LDs who have difficulty in phonological processing – that is, in hearing the different sounds in words.. This, in turn, interferes not only with the ability to sound out unfamiliar words but it also strongly affects spelling – for how could someone spell a word accurately when they do not hear all of the sounds in the word?. For example, the letter ‘a’ represents one sound or phoneme in the word bat and a different phoneme in the word baby ; similarly, the letter ‘c’ represents one sound in the word cup and a different sound in the word city .. Citing multiple research studies, Bryant et al (2014: 211) note the strong “connection between young children’s awareness of phonological segments, particularly of phonemes, and their progress in learning to read (Badian, 1994; Bradley & Bryant, 1983; Cardoso-Martins & Pennington, 2004; de Jong & van der Leij, 1999; Ehri et al., 2001; Muter & Snowling, 1998; Parrila, Kirby, & McQuarrie, 2004).” Many other studies consistently confirm that phonemic awareness along with letter recognition are the two best early predictors of reading success, and more recent studies have demonstrated that phonemic awareness skills influence children’s broader academic success throughout most of their schooling (Blomert & Csépe, 2012; Bryant et al, 2014; Vaessen & Blomert, 2010).. In reading, we are interested in a child’s ability to distinguish the sounds in three different locations: at the beginning of words; at the end of words; and in the middle of words.. A child may be able to do phoneme deletion relatively easily with short words but they may have more difficulty with longer words or deletions that are not at the beginning or end of the word.. (E.g., “Say the word ‘stale.’ Now say it again, but don’t say /l/.”) Phonemic awareness skills are on a continuum from less complex skills, like rhyming, to more complex skills such as deletion of medial sound (sounds in the middle of words) or blends.. Instruction 2 Now say it again, but don’t say boycowNow say it again, but don’t say steamNow say it again, but don’t say shineNow say it again, but don’t say picNow say it again, but don’t say “q”Now say it again, but don’t say /k/ (the k sound)Now say it again, but don’t say /m/ (the m sound)Now say it again, but don’t say /t/Now say it again, but don’t say /m/Now say it again, but don’t say /t/Now say it again, but don’t say /z/Now say it again, but don’t say /k/Now say it again, but don’t say /p/Now say it again, but don’t say /t/Say smackNow say it again, but don’t say /m/There are multiple phonemic awareness assessment tools supported by research that can be used beginning in Kindergarten and going through higher grades, including the Rosner Test of Auditory Analysis Skills (Rosner, 1993), the Test of Phonological Awareness-Kindergarten (TOPA-K; Torgesen & Bryant, 1993), the Yopp-Singer Test of Phoneme Segmentation (Yopp, 1995) and the Phoneme Segmentation Fluency, DIBELS (Kaminski & Good, 1996).. The child would be asked, “What word do we have if we blend together the following sounds: /p/ /a/ /t/ ?” Like other phonemic awareness skills, this often needs to be taught through modelling and blending the word orally with the child.. What is particularly heartening is that we know that phonemic awareness training, where children are taught how to blend sounds and how to delete sounds, can be extremely effective and subsequently makes a significant difference in reading ability (e.g., Rosner, 1974; Weiner, 1994).. Understanding morphology helps a reader determine the meaning of an unfamiliar word by enabling the reader to segment, or break down, a word into its root word and its affixes.. More than 30 years ago, Stanovich (1986:379) noted that the “growing body of data indicates that variation in vocabulary knowledge is a causal determinant of differences in reading comprehension ability (Beck, Perfetti, & McKeown, 1982; McKeown, Beck, Omanson & Perfetti, 1983; Stahl, 1983).” By grade 4, children whose vocabulary knowledge is below grade level are likely to have difficulties in reading comprehension (Biemiller & Boote, 2006).. In 1984, Nagy and Anderson wrote that the children who are least motivated to read “in the middle grades might read 100,000 words a year while the average children at this level might read 1,000,000.. Research confirms what Stanovich (1986) indicated: the learning and knowledge gap between poor readers and good readers grows and grows over time because poor readers read less – and learn less – and good readers read more – and more complex text – with each passing year.
By the end of this section, you will be able to:
These findings suggest the heritability of some personality traits.. Endomorphs are the opposite of ectomorphs.. The third somatotype is the mesomorph.. Sheldon proposed three somatotypes: endomorphs, mesomorphs, and ectomorphs.. Some aspects of our personalities are largely controlled by genetics; however, environmental factors (such as family interactions) and maturation can affect the ways in which children’s personalities are expressed.. Research suggests that many of our personality characteristics have a genetic component.
Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of the American Psychological Association since 1993, the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston) program in clinical psychology is based on the “scientist-practitioner” model.
Graduates of the program have the requisite skills to advance understanding of key human problems through research, scholarly activities, clinical practice, teaching, professional service, advocacy, and activism.. Graduates of the program have the requisite skills to advance understanding of key human problems through research, scholarly activities, clinical practice, teaching, professional service, advocacy, and activism.. Our clinical psychology training model is biopsychosocial in its scientific orientation, and places special emphasis on the roles of culture and context in understanding the complexities of multiple dimensions of human behavior and functioning.. 1.3 The skills necessary to evaluate research critically in relation to issues of contextual and cultural diversity and to design and conduct research that helps advance the field in understanding and attending to these issues.. Goal 2 : To produce graduates who are knowledgeable about and skilled at providing affirming and empowering evidence-based clinical services to people across sociocultural groups and statuses.. 3.1 Didactic experiences to provide foundational awareness, knowledge, and skills to engage in activism within clinical practice and research activities.. The program trains students in a broad range of assessment and intervention skills that enable them to promote healthy adaptation, prevent the development of individual and social problems, and treat problem behavior and mental disorders.. We teach students to critically reflect upon our field’s use of assessments and clinical approaches and guide students to utilize or create culturally responsive, equitable approaches to serve all their clients.. Within a broad understanding of sociocultural factors, our coursework highlights systemic oppression and privilege, power dynamics, and social and cultural approaches to clinical psychology.. As a foundation for developing this understanding, and the ability to apply it to psychological activities, students reflect upon their own personal cultural situations and positionalities to better understand the experiences of others.. Skills toward practice .. The program will respectfully work with students as they learn how to effectively practice with a broad range of clients.