Varieties of Behaviorism Classical Behaviorism

Historically, the most important distinction among versions of behaviorisms is that between Watson's original classical behaviorism—boldly stated but imprecisely worked out— and a variety of more sophisticated systems inspired by him, known collectively as neobehaviorism. In his paper "Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It," Watson (1913, p. 158) spelled out the fundamental faith of all behaviorists:

Psychology as the behaviorist views it is a purely objective experimental branch of natural science. Its theoretical goal is the prediction and control of behavior. Introspection forms no essential part of its methods, nor is the scientific value of its data dependent upon the readiness with which they lend themselves to interpretation in terms of consciousness. The behaviorist, in his efforts to get a unitary scheme of animal response, recognizes no dividing line between man and brute. The behavior of man, with all of its refinement and complexity, forms only a part of the behaviorist's total scheme of investigation.

Watson sets out the essential contrasts with mentalism: The subject matter of psychology is to be behavior, not mind or consciousness; its methods are objective, and introspection is to be rejected; and behavior is not to be interpreted or explained by reference to mental processes. Watson laid down the behaviorist's creed, but although he continued to expound his own version of behaviorism (see his Behaviorism), the movement was taken in different directions by his successors, the neobehaviorists.

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