The school of thought that made the most sense to me when trying to explain the behavior of an individual was John B. Watson’s school of thought, behaviorism


 The school of thought that made the most sense to me when trying to explain the behavior of an individual was John B. Watson’s school of thought, behaviorism. The reason why this school of thought felt easy to understand was because of the notion that Watson and neobehaviorists such as Skinner believed that our behavior was a reaction to our environment and conditioning. Because of Watson and neobehaviorists that followed him, psychology was more respected as a science, with concrete definitions and observations. The idea in behaviorism that all behavior can be explained by conditioning makes sense to me personally. By only studying what we can actively observe, psychology is given a concrete and measurable definition. I am someone who wants to attach meaning to every action or behavior and I am a strong believer in the fact that everything happens for a reason. So to be able to pursue the knowledge behind a behavior by using conditioning to describe or explain it makes sense to me. I also like the idea of behaviorism that our behavior can change as we learn. Behaviorism truly aims to put learning at the forefront of behavior. Behaviorists also tend to focus on the environment rather than individual intrinsic factors which I feel can help explain behavior in more general terms.

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   As someone who is majorly interested in areas of abnormal psychology, the idea that we can condition and change our behaviors based on our environment gives me hope that mental illnesses can be treated. Behaviorism can be applied to explain and treat those with depression, addiction, or phobias. I also think it makes sense to use positive reinforcement to change behavior in a world with so much negativity. Finally, the fact that behaviorists believe that our behavior is based on how we interact in our environment appeals to me as someone with a sociology minor. I think our social interactions definitely play a large part in how we behave. While behaviorism does fail to account for how emotions and feelings affect our behavior, I think it is a good start to define behavior using this method of behaviorism.

   I’m looking forward to reading the class’s responses to this question! I could see a lot of different answers being said here. We learned about several major schools of thought, all with their own individual benefits. This is just the one that sticks out to me the most when I am thinking back on what I have learned in this class.


One of the primary arguments for characterizing and explaining the human mind and behavior began when psychology emerged like a discipline distinct from biology and philosophy. The many schools of psychology represent the major theories in psychology. After reading some of the primary schools of thought, I believe all have unique and essential concepts for the human mind and behaviorism. I could not decide between these two, but these two schools of thought are vital because they were the first schools of thought. 

The major schools of thought that I perspectively believe have impacted our knowledge and understanding of psychology are Structuralism and Functionalism.

Structuralism is widely regarded as the earliest school of thought in psychology, as mentioned in the text (Schultz and Schultz 2015). This perspective emphasized the breakdown of mental processes into their most fundamental components. Wilhelm Wundt and Edward Titchener are two major philosophers connected with structuralism (Schultz and Schultz 2015). The goal of structuralism was to break down brain processes into their most basic elements. The structuralists studied the inner functioning of the human mind using techniques like introspection.

Functionalism arose due to the structuralist school of thought’s theories and was greatly inspired by William James’ work (Schultz and Schultz 2015). It was based on the functioning and adaptations of the mind. Unlike several other well-known schools of thought in psychology, functionalism is not linked to a particular dominating theory. Functionalist thinkers were more concerned with mental processes’ role rather than the processes themselves (Schultz and Schultz 2015).

Overall, in modern psychology, functionalism is the most effective of any theory. The reason why structuralism is one of the critical schools of thought is that functionalism was inspired by structuralism. For instance, psychological functionalism aims to describe ideas and what they do without explaining how they do it. For example, for functionalists, the mind is like a computer, and to comprehend its operations, you must look at the software, which is what the mind does, rather than the hardware, which contains the fundamental how and why.


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