On February 13, 1924 a new theoretical perspective was born; behaviourism. Up until that date the study of mental processes, thoughts, feelings and intentions were all widely accepted as scientific psychology. Behaviourism is a psychological theory that focuses solely on the study of human behaviour without giving any credit to conscious experience. It aims to understand behaviour as being dictated by conditioning rather than internal processes. Behaviourists believe that it is our response to environmental stimuli that shapes our behaviour. John B. Watson, a well respected American psychologist, was the first to establish the behaviourism theory. He figured that the mind and conscious thinking could not adequately explain the psychology of a human being because it is not factual nor could it be objective or measured. Non-believers argue that no consideration is given to human will, intellect, feelings, motivation or emotion. To this Behaviourists say: “Is it not better to recognize ourselves for what we are, study the way we function, analyze our behavior, and in the end be in a better position to live effective lives than to be dominated by superstition and myth concerning the faculties, the predispositions and the spiritual character of our nature?” (Power, 1982, p. 169)
Watson publicized his new idea in an article called “Psychology as the behaviourist views it” also known as “the behaviourist manifesto”.
In order to prove this new component of psychology, John Watson researched the behaviour of animals in different environments. Also, in 1916 he decided to use Ivan Pavlov’s, a noble prize winning Russian physiologist, experiments in order to help further prove his theory. He was influenced by Pavlov’s conditioned reflex research, also known as classical conditioning, which is a technique used when training behaviour where a naturally occurring stimulus is paired with a response. Next a previously neutral stimulus is paired with...