The primary tenet of the behaviourism school of psychology is that it solely studies observable behavior in relation to its environment as its topic. It studies conditioning concepts and their application to comprehend and influence human behavior, usually via human and animal research.
E.L. Thorndike established behaviourism as a school of psychology in the U.S. in 1911 when he put out the Law of Effect. According to this, rewarded behavior tends to increase in repetition, whereas behavior that is not rewarded tends to diminish.
The core assumption of the behaviorist school of psychology is that only observable behavior can be thoroughly researched scientifically.
However, B.F. Skinner, who created the Skinner Box and has become nearly a byword for behaviourism, is the most well-known and productive behaviorist. This device offers a controlled setting for the investigation of animal learning. He suggested that a child will learn language via conditioning, in which reinforcement of the sounds of their native language shapes the infant’s linguistic behavior.
The social behaviorism of G.H. Mead
According to George Herbert Mead in the “Mind, Self, & Society, social behaviourism is an approach to the study of the individual’s experience from the point of view of his action, notably, but not primarily, the conduct as others witness it.
A link between pragmatism and sociology may be seen in Mead’s view on how knowledge evolves via problem-solving and adaptation to the environment. Although Mead called his viewpoint social behaviorism, many of his concepts were eventually absorbed into symbolic interaction theory.
Simmel and Mead both focused on interaction, but Mead was more specific about the connection between interaction and personal interpretation.
He advocated a social behaviorism that viewed people’s reactions to social objects like gestures, language, and other symbolic phenomena as being of utmost importance to understanding human thought and action in the world. He was a vocal opponent of psychological behaviourism, a highly individualistic understanding of human behavior that was popular at the time.
According to Mead, the mind is the mechanism through which people try to understand their surroundings to adapt to them.
Humans’ coping mechanisms with their surroundings are intertwined and interconnected. People form common understandings via engagement and conversation.
When humans adapt to one another’s expectations and actions, they make interpretations of their surroundings. However, communication is only the outside or obvious manifestation of interior thought. Mead referred to his theory as social behaviorism because he thought psychological behaviorists overlooked this social component.