Chat with us, powered by LiveChat What does Watson say about Personality and free will? In your opinion, how much of our personality is set by 'learned, unconcious habits' and reactions? 2.? In your experi | WriteDen

What does Watson say about Personality and free will? In your opinion, how much of our personality is set by ‘learned, unconcious habits’ and reactions? 2.? In your experi

1. What does Watson say about Personality and free will? In your opinion, how much of our personality is set by "learned, unconcious habits" and reactions?

2.  In your experience, how much of personality and behavior is the result of observation of others and their reactions? (Social Learning Theory)

The Psychology of the Person
Behavioral-Social Learning

The Beginning of Behaviorism

  • John B. Watson (1878-1958) was a member of the faculty at John Hopkins University.
  • He started his academic work in philosophy, but then switched to psychology, and
  • In 1913 published his milestone paper:” Psychology as the Behaviorist Views it”

Watson’s Main Idea in His 1913 paper

  • Watson argued that if psychology were to become a science, psychologists must stop their engagement in such topics as mental processes and states of consciousness, which were the main topics of the earlier schools, such as structuralism and Functionalism
  • Only observable behaviors can be the subject matter of science. Emotions, thoughts, etc, were of interest to behaviorists only if they could be defined in terms of observable behaviors

Watson’s main Ideas (cont-d)

  • Thinking , according to Watson, was simply a variant of verbal behavior, a “sub-vocal speech”, as evident by small vocal-cords movements he claimed accompanied thoughts.
  • Watson claimed that observed behavior can be predicted, and eventually controlled by scientists.

Watson’s Conclusions

  • Personality, he said was “the end product of our habit system”. That is, over the course of our lives we are conditioned to respond to certain stimuli in more or less predictable ways, which explains the consistency observed in personality characteristics.

Control over the environment

  • Watson is famous (or infamous) that given enough control over the environment, he can take any baby, and regardless of the child innate abilities and features, he can mold the child into becoming anything or anyone that he, Watson, wanted.
  • (see next slide)

Watson’s Infamous Statement

  • He made his infamous statement: “ Give me a dozen healthy infants, well formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in, and I will guarantee to take any one at random, and train him to become any type of specialist I might select– doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief, and yes, even a beggerman and a thief” (1924).

Little Albert (cont-d)

  • Watson’s perspective is deterministic
  • people can be conditioned to react (emotionally or behaviorally) to stimuli without their awareness
  • In this sense, referring to the old philosophical question whether we have control over out life, he seems to advocate the position that we do not have FREE WIILL.

Watson’s Legacy

  • Watson’s main legacy is seen in the shift from subjective introspection into a system of explanation that advocated the operational definition of variables- that is- any variable studied needs to be defined in terms of specific operations that can be used to measure it and to quantify it. In addition, his idea that learning is the core of psychology has become quite prevalent.


  • In many situation we want to use reinforcement to increase desirable behavior, but the behavior is not emitted by the subject
  • We use shaping, or the method of successive approximations
  • We reward small increments toward the final (desirable) behavior

Social-Learning Theory

  • Around the 1960’s psychology transitioned toward social-learning theory
  • The main concept was that not only does the environment affect our behavior, but that our behavior determines the type of environment we find ourselves in.
  • Social-Learning theorists also claimed that people provide their own inner reinforcers, in the absence of external ones

Rotter’ s social learning theory

  • Rotter argued that the causes of human behavior are much more complicated than conditioning principles.
  • Rotter introduced several “unobservable” concepts to account for human behavior and personality
  • In any situation we have different options for behavior.
  • The key to predicting what we will do in a given situation depends on the behavioral potential for each option—it is the likelihood of a given behavior occurring in a given situation.

Rotter’s Social-Learning (cont-d)

  • The strength of the behavior potential depends on expectancy—which is the probability that the behavioral option will result in a given reinforcer, and reinforcement value—the degree to which we prefer one reinforcer over another. If you do not like candy, offering you candy after you have done something that is desirable will NOT affect you.

Rotter (cont-d)
Expectancies- What are they?

  • Rotter introduced the term “expectancy” to suggest that we decide to behave in a given manner if we expect our behavior to bring the desired result and if we value the result- if it is important to us.
  • For example: Whether we decide to study all night long before a test depends on our expectancy (belief) that such behavior will give us good results

Behavioral Potential depends on…

  • The extent to which we expect our behavior to bring a reward
  • The extent to which we care about this reward

How do we form expectancies about the potential result of our behavior?

  • The idea is that we are going to emit (display) a given behavior when we EXPECT is to bring us rewards
  • We form expectancies usually on the basis of past experience of being rewarded
  • What about situations that we encounter for the first time?
  • We rely of generalized expectations
  • Rotter refers to those as Locus of Control

“Generalized expectations” and
Locus of Control (LOC)

  • These are beliefs we hold about how often our actions typically lead to rewards or punishments
  • “Locus of Control” is a concept introduced by Rotter, referring to the extent to which we believe that what happens to us is the result of our own actions or attributes (Internal LOC), or the results of forces outside of our control (External LOC)
  • LOC is found to be related to emotional well-being vs. depression

LOC beyond Rotter

  • Was found as important for emotional well-being and achievement motivation

Cognitive elements: Social-Cognitive theory:

  • Bandura (1970’s) rejected the traditional behaviorist views of personality that presented humans as passive recipients of environmental stimuli.
  • Bandura argued that there were both internal and external determinants of behavior, and introduced the concept of reciprocal determinism.

Bandura (cont-d)

  • Albert Bandura (1925-) illustrates the transition from traditional behavioral views to incorporate internal variables
  • For him, we are not passive recipients of rewards and punishment from the environment
  • Bandura argues that there are both external and internal determinants of behavior- and these two sets interact in a mode that he labeled as reciprocal determinism.

Bandura’s Reciprocal Determinism

  • That is, external factors and internal factors, such as beliefs, thoughts and expectations, are parts of a system of interacting influences.
  • Not only can the environment affect behavior, but our behavior affects the environment.
  • Bandura draws a distinction between potential environment, which is the same to everyone in a situation, and the actual environment, the one we create with our behavior.

Reciprocal Determinism

  • Constant movement back and forth


  • One of Bandura’s most important concepts is self-efficacy
  • The term refers to the extent to which one believes that he/she can bring about a certain therapeutic outcome
  • Whether people make an effort to cope with problems and how long they persist in their efforts to change are determined by whether they believe that that are capable to achieve the change, that is, their perception of self-efficacy


  • Seems simple, right?


Bandura also argues that most behavior is performed in the absence of external reinforcement and punishment.

Most of our daily actions are controlled by self-regulation.

We often work toward self-imposed goals with inner rewards. The rewards come from feelings of accomplishment and self-wroth, that Bandura labeled- self-efficacy.

Observational Learning

Bandura argued that learning is not limited to classical or operant conditioning.

We can also learn by observing other people, or by reading about other people’s actions.

Many behaviors are too complex to be learned through the slow process of reinforcement and punishment.

Learning vs. Performance

Bandura draws an important distinction between learning and performance.

Behavior learned through observational methods needs not be performed.

The performance is dependent on the expectations of rewards or punishment.

Application: Behavior Modification
Operant Conditioning

  • Despite all the criticism, Skinner’s ideas have been successfully translated into therapeutic procedures labeled behavior modification
  • The focus is on changing few, well-defined and maladaptive behaviors and habits
  • The procedures were used quite effectively in the case of autistic children.
  • Lovaas in UCLA used techniques based on operant conditioning, especially shaping through successive approximations (rewarding small increments toward the final goal) to teach language and social skills to Autistic Children

Classical Conditioning

  • Systematic desensitization is a technique used in treating phobias, where images or real-life encounters of the feared object or situations are gradually introduced, while the person is in a state of relaxation
  • In Aversion Training therapists try to rid clients of problem behaviors while by pairing aversive stimuli with the behavior

Assessment: behavioral observations

  • Direct observation: In order to change behavior (for example- to reduce a child’s temper tantrum), we need first to assess the problematic behavior- how often it occurs, what are the conditions that precede it, what are the consequences of the behavior)- this stage is called baseline
  • Next- offer the treatment/intervention
  • Last- observe the behavior again, to assess any changes that can be seen as the result of the treatment/intervention.

Assessment: Self-Monitoring

  • This technique asks the client in a behavior-modification program (for example, wants to quit smoking), to engage in self-monitoring, in order to obtain a base-line for the target behavior (quit smoking)
  • For example- how often one smokes, under what circumstances

Self-Monitoring (cont-d)

  • Weakness of this method: In most cases clients have distorted ideas as to how often the behavior (e.g. smoking) occurs
  • Therefore, therapists ask clients to keep records as to how often the behavior occurs, under what situations, etc
  • Watching your own behavior can be therapeutic in itself!
  • However, sometimes people cheat!

Observations by Others

  • Some clients are unwilling or unable to provide accurate information about themselves (e.g. children)
  • Parents and teachers can often record the frequency of a child’s problem behavior
  • Children sometimes act differently in the presence of the therapist than at home
  • That is why it is good to use several observes in different settings

Current Status

  • Though the behavioral perspective is regarded as to simplified to explain the complexity of human behavior, strategies derived from this approach are quite effective in psychotherapy
  • Behavior modification interventions are based on behavioral principles, both classical and operant conditioning
  • Observational learning is also used in psychotherapy.


  • Foundations in research- need to define the variables and to measure them, rather than use general terms such as “self-actualization” or “unconscious”
  • Behavioral principles are translated into therapeutic procedures (Behavior Modification) that use objective criteria when wanting to change behavior
  • Behavior modification procedures are suitable for children or severely delayed persons


  • Skinner’s form of behaviorism is considered today as radical and as inappropriate to explain the complexity of our behavior
  • It rejects the usefulness of examining our feelings and inner thoughts, and it ignores completely the role of heredity in human behavioral mechanisms
  • It has also been claimed that human beings are more complex that the laboratory animals used in behavioral research. We humans are capable to consider alternative courses of action, looking at long-term goals.


Our website has a team of professional writers who can help you write any of your homework. They will write your papers from scratch. We also have a team of editors just to make sure all papers are of 

Step 1

To make an Order you only need to click ORDER NOW and we will direct you to our Order Page at WriteDen. Then fill Our Order Form with all your assignment instructions. Select your deadline and pay for your paper. You will get it few hours before your set deadline.
 Deadline range from 6 hours to 30 days.

Step 2

Once done with writing your paper we will upload it to your account on our website and also forward a copy to your email.

Step 3
Upon receiving your paper, review it and if any changes are needed contact us immediately. We offer unlimited revisions at no extra cost.

Is it Safe to use our services?
We never resell papers on this site. Meaning after your purchase you will get an original copy of your assignment and you have all the rights to use the paper.


Our price ranges from $8-$14 per page. If you are short of Budget, contact our Live Support for a Discount Code. All new clients are eligible for 20% off in their first Order. Our payment method is safe and secure.

Please note we do not have prewritten answers. We need some time to prepare a perfect essay for you.