What Is Behaviorism?

Behaviorism seeks to identify observable, measurable laws that could explain all of human behavior. Although psychology now pays more attention to the inner landscape of emotions and thought, behaviorism has had a durable influence on everything from animal training to parenting techniques to the bonuses financial managers receive.

Recent Posts on Behaviorism

Examples of the 4 Things Competent Therapists Do

By Michael Karson Ph.D., J.D. on September 01, 2015 in Feeling Our Way
The problem with principles is that they can lead to rules and checklists instead of empathic understanding.

3 Secrets to Building Your Mental Strength

If you want a strong mind, you need to exercise it daily.

Guns, Mental Illness, Substance Abuse, Trauma and Murder

By Kathryn Seifert on August 30, 2015 in Stop The Cycle
Restricting guns and increasing access to mental health treatment is only part of the answer to violence in the US. We need to look at the role of substance abuse and family violence that surrounds children with violence. There is a need to examine our cultural tolerance of substance abuse and guns as a rite of passage and family violence as nobody else's business.

The Culture of Precaution

Would you rather definitely lose ten dollars or a one percent chance of losing 1000 dollars? Perhaps not surprisingly, people would much prefer to lose the 10 dollars, than run a small risk of a large loss. Why?

Making New Friends at School

By Kyle D. Pruett M.D. on August 25, 2015 in Once Upon a Child
One friend can’t be expected to match a child’s friendship needs at all levels, so they may have one friend that is mostly companionship, another for intimacy and another for silly games. So that’s the nature side of making new friends; what of the nurture side?

Four Things Competent Therapists Do

That’s only 4 things I’m looking for when evaluating in-office individual talk therapy. In my experience, the vast majority of therapists practice none of them.

Do You Suffer From Mental Myopia?

When our mental myopia minimizes another human being to just one characteristic (typically negative), we aren’t granting them the same value, dignity, and worth we would want granted to ourselves in the same situation.

Nurture vs. Nature? As a Practical Matter, It’s Nurture

By Anthony Biglan Ph.D. on August 12, 2015 in The Nurture Effect
Beyond Nature v. Nurture: If you want a society full of productive, caring people, then focus on nurturing.

Women We Love to Hate—and Why We Hate Them

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on August 10, 2015 in Wicked Deeds
When a pretty, young, white woman is charged with premeditated murder it creates intense curiosity because their alleged crimes violate sacred norms of gender, race, and even motherhood. Their trials become media events because the public is shocked and outraged by the actions of these norm violating females.

The Cognitive Psychology of Gambling

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on August 06, 2015 in In Excess
One of the proudest moments of my academic career was when my 1994 study on the role of cognitive bias in slot machine gambling was introduced as a compulsory study that all psychology college students had to learn about here in the UK. Today's blog looks at that study in retrospective context.

The Pain Mess

The treatment of chronic pain is a public health disaster

Fading Fast: Is 'Thank You' a Thing of the Past?

By Seth Slater M.F.A. on July 30, 2015 in The Dolphin Divide
How to reinvigorate the power of appreciation. Despite our well-meaning efforts to appreciate our fellows, our favorite phrase of acknowledgment seems to be ringing hollow these days. Can “Thank you” be restored to its former glory by capitalizing on the psychology of message delivery -- or are we doomed to a thankless world?

Does Change Come from Within?

The environmental location of causality—change comes from without rather than from within—is awfully convenient for therapists, who happen to find themselves in their patients’ environments.

48 Days on the Road

By Jaime Kurtz Ph.D. on July 29, 2015 in Happy Trails
Travel can be a catalyst for positive change.

What Pixar’s 'Inside Out' Tells Us About How We Work

By Aaron Hurst on July 16, 2015 in The Purpose Economy
Pixar’s new movie Inside Out explains the vital role we have as parents and educators in setting our kids up for success in their lives -- and their future careers.

Teenage Insecurities

To ensure peace of mind and safety of their children during adolescence, parents need to take early preemptive action. Help teenagers improve their self-esteem during adolescence, and also strengthen and maintain a positive relationship, by taking advantage of these five pieces of advice.

10 Lessons I Learned from Little League Baseball

By Kate Roberts Ph.D. on July 15, 2015 in Savvy Parenting
Most baseball players strike out 7 of 10 times at bat. Baseball is great preparation for achieving life goals in that it requires perseverance, commitment, determination and frustration tolerance in order to be a great player.Baseball is fantastic way to learn those life skills while having fun.

Should a Dog's Name Be Part of an Obedience Command?

Most dog trainers believe that you must use a dog's name before you give him an obedience command if you want to get a reliable response. Are they correct?

The Value of Spending One-On-One Time With Your Children

By Kyle D. Pruett M.D. on July 15, 2015 in Once Upon a Child
One-on-one time with your children - all of them - keeps your unique relationship with each one of them healthy and in tune.

Is Fame Really Worth Risking Mental Health?

I would not have predicted the stranglehold it Reality TV would come to have on “entertainment” today. It wasn’t a bad notion to use TV to shed light on the human condition. However, as a PsyD and LCSW, I know that whenever human beings are pitted against each other in a public forum, it triggers instincts and unpredictable behavior in them.

Brain Scan Predicts Best Treatment Approach for Depression

To be ill with depression any longer than necessary can be perilous. As a neuroscientist, I’m devoted to finding better, safer treatments for patients with mood disorders and other mental illness.

Inside Inside Out (No Spoilers!)

If you want someone to know what you’re feeling, they’ll need the story, not just the headline, and certainly not just which section of the paper it’s in.

Preventing Disaster Through Screening and Assessment

By Kathryn Seifert on June 30, 2015 in Stop The Cycle
Recently we have seen two convicted murderers, Richard Matt and David Sweat, escape prison with the help of two prison employees, Gene Palmer and Joyce Mitchell. It leads us to ask the question, how does this happen?

6 Tips for a Fun 4th of July for Parents of Kids With Autism

The 4th of July is a fun and exciting holiday filled with many amazing activities for your children. However, for some individuals with autism and their families, the crowded public spaces and the crack and shimmer of fireworks can be difficult and uncomfortable.

Serial Killers: Modus Operandi, Signature, Staging & Posing

By Scott A. Bonn Ph.D. on June 29, 2015 in Wicked Deeds
FBI profilers examine, among other things, whether a victim’s body was posed to predict whether an unknown offender is an organized or disorganized killer. Organized criminals are meticulous planners, often psychopathic but know right from wrong, not insane and show no remorse. Disorganized criminals are impulsive, irrational, and assault victims in blitz-like attacks.

It's the Hard Work, Stupid.

For decades, scholars have debated whether talent or effort is the better predictor of success. Research on the topic is mixed – but, this said, I say you put your money on effort – and here’s why.

People Don’t Always Make a Lot of Sense

Patients don't always do what they should, or what they say they will. When you try to figure out the reason, you may find out that there isn't any.

Does Dolezal Get to Choose?

Your race is socially constructed in a given situation by other people, not by you.

Father: Not Just Another Mother

By Kyle D. Pruett M.D. on June 16, 2015 in Once Upon a Child
Safety and security are huge concerns for today’s parents, both at home and in the wider world. So, which approach is more likely to raise a secure child?

The Kindness of Dogs: New Book Explains Why Cesar's Gotta Go

By Marc Bekoff Ph.D. on June 10, 2015 in Animal Emotions
"The Secret History of Kindness: Learning From How Dogs Learn" by Melissa Pierson extols behaviorism and positive reinforcement in training dogs. This wide-ranging book provides a detailed history of B. F. Skinner's behaviorism -- where people get it right and many get it wrong -- and how being kind to dogs and other animals is the only way to teach them to live with us.