Behavioral Psychology: What Is It?

Behavioral Psychology

Behavioral psychology studies the theory that suggests the environment has a huge impact on the behavior of living beings. It involves the study of how to eradicate problematic behavior in a person and change their behavior. Through this, a person learns about the more positive aspects of the behavior. If you are looking forward to learning more about behavioral psychology, then read on!

So, what are you waiting for? Read ahead, learn about behavioral psychology and see if you have a keen interest in this field! Let’s see what this is all about!

What is Behavioral Psychology?

Generally, it is a study or learning of different behavior through interaction with the surrounding environment. It is usually studied in an observable pattern where the response to the environmental stimuli is recorded. The study usually deals with how one would like to respond to a certain stimulus.

Behavioral psychology, also known as behaviorism, states that if you change a person’s environment, then it will alter their behavior. Normally, the outside environment influences our behavioral psychology, and thus, various theories and studies have been made regarding this type of psychology. It has also been found out that humans and animals have the same reaction to behaviorism. And this is because research says you can control their environment easily.

Behavioral Psychology Founder

Before we learn more about behavioral psychology, let’s have a look at the founder. John Broadus Watson is the founder of behavioral psychology, and he was mostly intrigued by this subject after he started researching Pavlov’s experiment. 

In Pavlov’s experiment, Ivan Pavlov demonstrated with dogs that the dog would start salivating in the presence of food. Thus, the food serves as a stimulus to the dog, and the dog responds with salivation.

Later, Watson has stated that some requirements impact the behavioral psychology of living beings. Many more psychologists added their own theory about behavioral psychology about how responses will occur again in the near future. 

Behavioral Psychology
A Woman Depressed and Frustrated

Types of Behavioral Psychology

Behavioral psychology can be classified into many types, so if you want to learn more about the types of behavioral psychology, then read on. Here we have mentioned three main types of behavioral psychology and their working:

Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning deals with how the body would react when it is subjected to rewards and punishments. Rewards and punishments help to act as a stimulus, and the habits become the response. It acts as the basic foundation of psychology, and Ivan Pavlov first studied it.

As we have already mentioned about Pavlov’s experiment before, it is actually an example of classical conditioning. Through classical conditioning, we have come to know how the sudden change in environment could change behavior.

It has been theorized that the speed of conditioning depends on how much one pays attention to the stimulus. If any music or movie triggers some unwanted or memorable incidents, it is also known as classical conditioning.

Operant Conditioning

We have already mentioned how human behavior functions when it is subjected to rewards and punishments. If somebody is subjected to rewards, then the behavior is likely to be repeated again. Still, on the other hand, if somebody is subjected to punishments, then the behavior is likely to be not repeated. 

When somebody performs on stage and receives applause from the audience, this inspires them to do their best when they are on stage again. You can divide operant conditioning into four types, which are:

  1.   Positive reinforcement
  2.   Positive punishment
  3.   Negative reinforcement
  4.   Negative punishment

 Observational Learning

As stated, before that the more times a student reviews the material, the more likely they will retain the information. Generally, in observational learning, one learns by watching others and inculcating the same behavior within them. It directly influences their psychology, and they learn more about socialization.

A child watches and learns from his parents, and the child tends to imitate them. This is actually a part of learning where the child sees, and he or she learns.

Observational learning usually ends up with children imitating their parents or siblings, so parents need to ensure that the child tries to imitate the good things. Through attention, retention, motivation, and production, a child can be successful in observational learning.

Applications of Behavioral Psychology

Nowadays study of behavioral psychology has increased on a large scale. Teachers and parents apply behavioral psychology to teach children in order to help them learn. Behavioral psychology is not only restricted to humans but also works for other living beings. We have mentioned some applications for behavioral psychology, so please have a look.

Used as Therapy

one can use behavioral psychology to treat children with autism, and it helps the child communicate with others. Children with some mental conditions can learn and apply new skills through behavioral psychology. Even people suffering from depression and anxiety could seek help from experts in behavioral psychology.

To Develop New Habits

Through behavioral psychology, the child learns more about habits as the child watches and grows. This behavior shapes a child on how to develop good habits, and thus it helps in learning that good habits can be inculcated and one can discard unwanted habits. Through behavioral psychology, the child will get to know the difference between good and bad habits and that the parents can help their child learn good habits.

Teaching Children

Behavioral psychology helps in shaping up the way we teach children. We tend to reward them for their good deeds, and we punish them for their mischievous actions. Thus, this teaches the children about what is right and wrong, and they tend to avoid doing the wrong thing in the future.

Behavioral Psychology Courses

Since the prospects have broadened, there are also various courses that you can try out if you are willing to study behavioral psychology.

If behavioral psychology courses interest you, then you must look into these courses. Which are:

Bachelors/ Masters in Behavioral Psychology

If you wish to opt for Bachelors’s or Masters in Behavioral Psychology, then you must get into a renowned college. The psychology field is vital, and you can also master various fields in that particular subject. You can learn more about autism, psychology research methods, and behavioral wellness. Through this course, you can hone your research skills, and you can change your idea of thinking.

Doctorate in Behavioral Psychology

After you finish with your Masters and want to study more about Behavioral Psychology, then you should opt for the Doctorate degree in Behavioral Psychology. After this degree, you will get the license to practice in the state.

There are many universities and colleges that provide Behavioral psychology as a subject, and we have a list of some of them:

  •       Point Park University
  •       Meredith College
  •       University of Florida
  •       University of Houston-Victoria
  •       Simmons University
  •       University of California

Behavioral Psychology Careers

Previously, the scope of learning this psychology was limited, but now the field has grown. And it has proved to have more job opportunities. For the related jobs opportunities, you will need to work for people who have some mental issues. You can also conduct scientific research, and you can even hone your communication skills while interacting with other people.

Jobs like clinical, counseling and school psychologists have gained more importance, and these jobs provide good wages. If you are looking for a job related to behavioral psychology, then you could try out jobs like Behavior Analyst, Behaviour Therapist, and Social Worker. However, you need to complete your clinical training before you can try out for these jobs.

Behavioral Psychology Examples

Since we have learned about behavioral psychology, we need to know about some examples to broaden our idea on this. Let us take a look at some examples.

Used for Class Management

Teachers in the classrooms use this. The teacher praises or rewards the children for completing their tasks on time. And that increases their attention and interest. However, the same also punishes the students who have not completed the homework. Thus, homework serves as a stimulus to the response of the teacher, and this behavioral psychology helps to strengthen class management.

Motivates to Complete Chores

Generally, in every house, the mother presents her child with some chores to do. When the child completes their chores, the mother usually rewards them. And this reward makes you more eager and keen in helping out with the chores.

But on the other hand, if a child forgets or does not do their chores, then the mother punishes them. Since children would not want to get punished again, they will make it a point to remember and finish their chores.

To Avoid Certain Situations

A person who does not like to visit the dentist will make sure that they clean their teeth and floss them regularly in order to avoid going to the dentist. Somebody who does not like exercising or going to the gym will make sure that they eat healthily to try to avoid the gym at all costs.

Rewards for Good Performance

If a student gets good scores in their exam, then they get rewards for their extraordinary performance. This reward would encourage them to work hard for the next exam. So, the reward acts as a stimulus for the student to do well in the next exam again.

But on the other hand, if a student scores poorly in the exam, then they will get a scolding. This scolding would act as a stimulus to work hard again in the next exam. Therefore, to avoid this predicament, the student would study very hard.

To Review 

As mentioned before that this can serve to strengthen class management. The teacher asks the students to review their studies again and again to retain the information. Thus, by reviewing, again and again, the students will be able to hold on to the information for a long time. Teachers ask the students to review their homework so that they will be able to pinpoint the mistakes.

Loss Aversion

Loss Aversions deals with how we tend to avoid loss over gains. We have different responses for when we avoid a loss and when we experience it again. We feel a sense of loss when we discard away the things we are very protective of. For example, if you discard away from your favorite dress, you would feel a sense of loss which is much more painful than when you buy a beautiful dress. Thus, loss aversion shows you how you cannot part away with things that you love.

Drug Response

When our body consumes a drug, then there is a sudden physiological change in us. When we consume caffeine, our body feels led lethargic, and we gain some energy. This gaining of energy is the conditioned response to the consumption of caffeine. When we consume pain killers, it helps us ease the pain in any part of the body. The easing of the pain is the response to the stimulus of the consumption of pain killers.

Motivates to Work Well

Companies increase the salary of employees who have shown a good performance. And this motivates the employees to do their work earnestly in hopes of increased salary. But when an employee does not perform well, the boss scolds them. And so to prevent scolding by the boss, the employee tries to perform their very best. Also, there are certain cases where the employee would need to hand over reports if they are not performing well enough. So if an employee does not like writing such long reports, they will make sure to work efficiently so that they would not have to hand over lengthy reports.

Final Thoughts

Finally, we now know what behaviorism is and the study or the analysis of the behavior of any living organism. Interacting and conditioning with the environment is the basic fundamental of behavioral psychology. Hopefully, this article has helped you to learn more about behavioral psychology.

So, if you’re interested, don’t give it a second thought. Go ahead and try to take the courses you like to become a professional. And if you really do, don’t forget to let us know in the comment section below you developed your keen interest in behavioral psychology.