THE RESEARCH METHODOLOGY OF THE LEARNING PERSPECTIVE
SUMMARY: The learning perspective and its' psychologists brought about an essential change in the way pyschological research was conducted. It caused the primary focus of psychology to switch from pyschoanalysis and similar subjective methods to research processes which could be correctly quantified and evaluated. Since adapting the research methods accordingly, psychology has been looked upon as an exact science.
KEY WORDS: Argyle, behaviourism, case-study, conditioning, experiment, learning perspective, methodology, naturalistic observation, Pavlov, research, Skinner, Watson
The learning perspective is one of the most important movements to ever take place in psychology, paving the path to making this science into what it is today. Prior to the development of the learning perspective, also known as the behaviourist school, psychology heavily relied on inexact methods which were difficult or impossible to measure. In the early decades of the 20th century, John Watson, an American psychologist, rose against the works of researchers using inadequate research methods such as introspection and self-observation, because he considered them far too objective. He emphasized the importance of study of behaviour that is observable and which excluded ‘the subject’s’ inner workings, like thoughts and emotions. Watson was firmly convinced that it psychology was to be a science, and was to be treated as such, it had to focus on only the tangible aspects of human nature, which can be measured and tested scientifically.
The main contribution of the learning perspective to the scientific study of behaviour is objectivity and accuracy. One of the two basic assumptions of the behavioural approach to personality is that it is crucial that research is done in such a way that it is possible to scientifically test clearly formulated hypotheses. Behaviourists emphasise that the laboratory is...