<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
This module explores the application of operant conditioning (ala B.F. Skinner) and psychodynamic learning theory (ala John Dollard and Neal Miller) to personality development. The references cited in this module can be found in the accompanying module entitled "References for Personality."

While psychodynamic theory was developing in Europe, American psychology was largely under the influence of behaviorism. The American psychologist John B. Watson (of “Little Albert” fame) is considered to be the father of behaviorism. Although he is not known for addressing issues of personality development, he did feel it was important for behaviorists to do so. His approach involved reducing personality to smaller and smaller units of behavior referred to as habit systems, suggesting that personality was very consistent. Nonetheless, through further conditioning the personality of an individual could change, leading Watson to make the bold statement that if he was given a dozen healthy infants he could take any one at random and train him or her for any career, including “doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and yes, even beggar-man and thief” (cited in Stagner, 1988; see also Lundin, 1979).

As the scientific study of behavior continued, it became common to try determining behavior on the basis of mathematical models. This work led to an era of grand learning theories, which culminated in the highly complex models of behavior proposed by Clark Hull (see Bower&Hilgard, 1981). This research took the behavioral study of personality in a very different direction than psychodynamic theory. The direction in which B. F. Skinner took personality theory, however, was so different that it became known as “radical behaviorism.” Skinner rejected anything he could not directly observe, so concepts such as consciousness, thought, reasoning, and the “mind,” were all considered irrelevant to the study of individuals. Only the specific behaviors performed by the individual were open to being examined in Skinner’s form of behaviorism.

In contrast, John Dollard and Neal Miller tried to find some common ground between psychodynamic theory and learning theory. Dollard was a true generalist, with interests in anthropology and sociology in addition to psychology. Miller studied with two renowned learning theorists, Edwin Guthrie and Clark Hull, and was psychoanalyzed by Heinz Hartman in Vienna, while studying in Europe in the 1930s. Together, Dollard and Miller tried to develop a theory that would encompass psychodynamic theory, learning theory, and the influence of sociocultural factors. Their effort to develop what might be called a unified theory of personality stands in stark contrast to the constraints of radical behaviorism. Most importantly, they set the stage for the social learning theorists who followed.

B. f. skinner and the behavioral analysis of personality development

Many psychology students find it difficult to apply the strict principles of radical behaviorism to personality development. And yet, psychologists generally consider our discipline to be objective and scientific . Thus, it would seem essential that we acknowledge those psychologists who apply a strict scientific approach to the study of behavior. Skinner represents the extreme conditions under which some psychologists control the study of behavior, and his contributions to understanding the basic underlying principles of reward and punishment, and their consequences, rank him among the most influential psychologists of all time.

Questions & Answers

How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Personality theory in a cultural context. OpenStax CNX. Nov 04, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11901/1.1
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Personality theory in a cultural context' conversation and receive update notifications?