Sensation, Perception, Consciousness, Motivation, Emotion, and Learning

Behavioral theory approach is based on the fact that behavior is learned from the past experiences. It also states that the same way a behavior can be learned it can also be unlearnt or reconditioned. This is a theory based on the fact that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning. There are two superior types of conditioning which are classical and operant conditioning. Operant conditioning can be defined as an act of trying to modify behavior using either positive or negative reinforces (Atkinson, 1996).Classical conditioning entails associating two different stimuli with a response that has been learnt. Behavioral theory is applicable in our day to day life be it in our personal, professional, social life and community activities(Cherty, 1963).

In the behavioral theory teachers use operant conditioning. This is where they reward students when they are correct and motivating them when they are wrong. Studentsare always motivated when they are rewarded for performing well. In this case, students tend to pass and will strive to do even better since they learned once they perform well they are rewarded. This is positive reinforcement (Fowles, 1987).Teachers tend to use negative reinforcement for example punishments, whipping students and suspensions to discourage indiscipline in classroom setups. In this case, students will avoid being indiscipline or breaking school rules, since they know once they break school rules they will be punished.

With this, a school can maintain their students(Fowles, 1987).In our communities, classical conditioning has been used as a very successful way to modify undesirable behaviors, for example, substance abuse drinking and smoking(Rescorla, 1988). In this case, counselors or the society as a whole try to make the victims associate the undesirable behavior with unpleasant effects like causing accidents when you drive while you are drunk or even get diseases due to abuse of drugs.

Classical condition is involved in the elimination and formation of ouremotion responses. A person elicits responses as a result of the stimuli in the environment around you. Classical conditioning helps us understand the many emotions we express (Rescorla, 1988). Classical conditioning can be used to reduce fear in people. This can be done by counterconditioning(Rescorla, 1988). In this case, you pair the stimuli that cause fear with stimuli that give positive emotions, for example, a person who is afraid of dogs and loves vanilla ice cream is shown the dog then given the ice cream he or she will associate the dog with a good feeling and hence reduce their fear of dogs.Parents can use operant conditioning in training their children on the basic skill they need to know for example washing hands, toilet training, teeth brushing and sharing.

In this case, you will have to reward the child once you notice them doing the correct thing (Atkinson, 1996). The reward must be immediately, and the parent must be consistent in rewarding till they see the child has fully learned the desired behavior(Atkinson, 1996).In workplaces, the managers or bosses can use positive reinforcement in boosting the performance of workers. The manager could award the best employee or even promise salary increment on workers who reach targets in case of sales.This will motivate employees to even work harder(Cyert, 1963).In conclusion, the behavioral theory plays a significant role in the elimination and formation of a person behavior. Any behavior learned can also be unlearnt and even modified through the classical and operant conditioning.


Cyert, R. M., & March, J. G. (1963). A behavioral theory of the firm. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 2.Fowles, D. C. (1987). Application of a behavioral theory of motivation to the concepts of anxiety and impulsivity. Journal of research in personality, 21(4), 417-435.Rescorla, R. A. (1988). Behavioral studies of Pavlovian conditioning. Annual review of neuroscience, 11(1), 329-352.Atkinson, R. L. (1996). Hilgard’s introduction to psychology (Vol. 12). Philadelphia PA: Harcourt Brace College Publishers.

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Sensation, Perception, Consciousness, Motivation, Emotion, and Learning. (2018, Sep 17). Retrieved May 24, 2024 , from

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