PSYC 6717 Discussion: Behaviorism

PSYC 6717 Discussion: Behaviorism

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One skill of an applied behavior analyst is collaborating to identify negative behaviors an individual is exhibiting and then developing treatments for those behaviors (e.g., strategies, interventions, etc.) to help them change the behaviors and derive improved outcomes for themselves PSYC 6717 Discussion: Behaviorism. Radical behaviorism posits there is a science of behavior that has shown the environment as a significant cause of behavior and that experiential factors play a primary role in determining behavior (Cooper et al., 2020). The strategies and interventions of the applied behavior analyst represent efforts to change maladaptive behavior by systematically employing techniques that control circumstances in which negative behaviors arise and helping individuals learn and apply new skills.

For example, if a child in a classroom is repeatedly leaving their seat during instruction (i.e., maladaptive behavior), an applied behavior analyst would work with the child to identify the factors contributing to the maladaptive behavior and then develop strategies or interventions to generate more appropriate behavior by the child.

For this week’s Discussion, you will consider your perspectives on radical behaviorism and its learning principles.

Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2020). Applied behavior analysis (3rd ed.). Pearson. 

To Prepare

  • Review the Learning Resources for this week as well as the required weekly media program to gain an understanding of radical behaviorism.
  • Think about whether you concur with the learning principles of radical behaviorism PSYC 6717 Discussion: Behaviorism.


By Day 4 of Week 3

Post an explanation of whether you agree or disagree with the following statement, and why or why not:

  • Skinner’s “radical behaviorism” proposes that behavior, rather than cognitive processes, should be the primary topic of study.

Read your colleagues’ postings.

Note: For this discussion, you are required to complete your initial post before you will be able to view and respond to your colleagues’ postings. Begin by clicking on the To Participate in this Discussion link, then select Create Thread to complete your initial post. Remember, once you click on Submit, you cannot delete or edit your own posts, and cannot post anonymously. Please check your post carefully before clicking on Submit!

By Day 6 of Week 3

Respond to at least two colleagues’ posts by expanding on each colleague’s rationale for why they agree or disagree with Skinner’s proposal. Justify your response.

Be sure to support your posts and responses with specific references to behavior-analytic theory and research. In addition to the Learning Resources, search the Walden Library and/or internet for peer-reviewed articles to support your posts and responses. Use proper APA format and citations, including those in the Learning Resources.

Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Note what you have learned and/or any insights that you have gained because of your colleagues’ comments.


For this discussion, I agree with the statement that B.F. Skinner’s “radical behaviorism” focuses on behavior instead of cognitive processes as the topic of study. Rather than internal and mental processes, Behaviorism itself is concerned with observable, empirical evidence in animals and individuals in coming up with an explanation of the psyche (Cooper, Heron, & Heward, 2020). Skinner’s radical behaviorism has only intensified this concentration on behaviors by arguing that behavior is only a function of the external and environmental histories of an individual through the use of his operant conditioning chamber, also known as the “Skinner Box” (Walden University, 2021). Through his experiments on rats and pigeons, Skinner, later on, developed the principle of reinforcement, wherein behavior comes as a response from the interactions between an individual (or animal) and their environment PSYC 6717 Discussion: Behaviorism.

In this case, Skinner’s radical behaviorism has nothing to do with internal thoughts or feelings. While Behaviorists accept internal processes of the brain as valid, they never mentioned the independence of these processes from the external environment. For Skinner, all that could be objectively observed, studied, and measured, are behavioral responses from environmental interfaces. Because of these reasons, I argue that radical behaviorism concerns itself more with behavior rather than cognitive processes.


Cooper, J. O., Heron, T. E., & Heward, W. L. (2020). Applied behavior analysis (3rd ed.).


Walden University, LLC. (2021). Radical behaviorism [Video]. Walden University Blackboard. PSYC 6717 Discussion: Behaviorism