Theories of Behavior Timeline

Theories of Behavior Timeline

PSY 420

University of Phoenix Material

Theories of Behavior Timeline

Complete the following table by reordering the theorists according to the relevant date (and providing these dates), writing at least 90 words to describe what the particular theorist was known for and a real-world application of the theory.

Name of theoristRelevant datesDescription of what the theorist is known forReal-world application of the theory
J. Locke1632-1704John Locke, founder of British Empiricism published a vital book titled A Essay Concerning Human Understanding in 1690 where he offered a radical idea for the current time which he referred to as tabula rosa. This term refers to the concept of the mind being a blank slate with simple and complex ideas (Benjamin, 2014). Locke believed that environmental influences and subjective observations combined with daily experiences create the mind and body. Locke believed that innate influences existed and that the mind was only filled with sensations, perceptions and reflections contributing to the developments of humans. Benjamin (2014) states that the internal operations in the mind supply our understanding and create the foundation of knowledge where ideas become our existence.Psychologist utilize this reflection theory to help clients understand their perceptions so they can heal and move past conflicts of the mind. Benjamin (2014) discusses how the primary understanding of perceptions, learning, thinking and memory are still how scientists compare unique differences among people to develop educational curriculums, care plan developments, work structures, military training approaches and understanding people’s attachments to objects more clearly. Furthermore, according to Goodwin (2015), Locke focused on the importance of physical health and how important is it to raise children in an environment with a balance of healthy body and healthy mind. Additionally, Locke’s theories of parental approval and disapproval of behaviors still currently applies in how children are reared. Parenting classes offer theories based on Locke’s ideas (Goodwin, 2015).
W. Wundt1832-1920In the 19th century, German psychologist William Wundt declared psychology a science and teaching with the use of visual displays and demonstrations. Goodwin (2015) states that Wundt studies the idea of immediate conscious experience and how individual perceptions vary among individuals based on their surroundings. Wundt also brought to light the idea of higher mental processes which are responsible for the distinctions of perceptions allowing one to have a deeper understanding and develop a unique thought process of stimuli. Even going as far as breaking down the difference between the structure of a sentence, and comparing the meaning of the sentence according to the speaker (Goodwin, 2015). Known as one of the founding fathers of modern psychology and also a physician, physiologist, philosopher, and professor, Wundt was the father of experimental psychology and started the first formal laboratory so the field of psychology could be an independent field of study and separate science (Goodwin, 2015).In today’s world, many techniques offered by Wundt are still relevant in laboratories all over the world. The scientific study of psychology is the foundation for how applications of approaches are tested for treatment of individual’s psychological ailments using the conscious experiences from subjective reports to gather further insight of individuals minds and the process of their mental structures. Introspection or self-observation still exists where stimulus is given and then the person is questioned about how their account. According to Benjamin (2014), The testing of higher mental processes today help scientist further explain how children and adults evolve in their mental maturity through time, experience and exposure to stimulus in their environment.
I. Pavlov1849-1936A man born in Russia named Ivan Petrovich Pavlov won the Nobel prize for medicine and physiology by 1904. Pavlov was a physiologist, rather than a psychologist (Malott & Shane, 2014). One of Pavlov most know research was the salivating dog experiments which Pavlov proved that the sound of a bell could cause a dog to salivate because this means they are getting food. According to Malott and Shane (2014), Pavlov contributed to psychology the neurological research where involuntary reflex actions and the digestive system are linked to the brain. Furthermore, the research conducted by Pavlov provided the foundation of all behavioral comprehensions of others such as Skinner who followed the animal observations with rats and pigeons. The analysis and principles of classical and respondent conditioning offered by Pavlov is still and may always be one of the highest regarded psychological application to date. Malott and Shane (2014 state that the stimulus elicits response and other theories by Pavlov are a primary piece to the behavioral theory and foundation.Pavlov classical conditioning research remain relevant as individuals still salivate at the thought of certain foods such as sour or sweet. The smell or sight of specific items triggers the learned response and salivation begins (Goodwin, 2015). Currently, psychologist conduct experiments using Pavlov methods to further understand how the brain learns and retains the information based on the stimulus received. This method is used in the education curriculums and development so the way children are being taught today, can yield the results desired. The strong reinforcement of responses is used in all topics from mathematics, to sports to nutrition. According to Malott and Shane (2014), the distinction between voluntary and involuntary is important to determine among individuals so that treatment of mental illness and phobia can be productive, thus allowing psychologists to develop treatments for ailments that continue to evolve and change with the evolved society we live in.
J. Thorndike1874-1949Edward L Thorndike began his animal research like the others testing baby chicks and cats. The problem-solving skills of these animals was observed in how they managed to escape puzzle boxes which he constructs. Once escaping, they were rewarded with food. Each box created required a different method to escape forcing the animals through trial and error actions (Benjamin, 2014). Once the animal learned the method of freedom, the routes that did not allow freedom where forgotten and the animal did not try these methods again over time. This is how Thorndike developed his Law of Effect or as more known today Law of Reinforcement. According to Benjamin (2014), This method taught us that behaviors are more likely to occur when satisfaction is the outcome, thus reinforcing one to seek out paths and problem solving methods which will bring satisfaction, while additionally avoiding methods which will yield a negative effect.Real world application Thorndike’s perspectives may include problem solving situations more recently utilized in the current television show Race to Escape (2015-Current) where individuals are placed on teams and given a time frame to use their problem solving and critical thinking skills to escape the room. Similar to puzzle boxes, these individuals use trial and error and previous learning to solve puzzles, unlock codes and find keys to exit. In school, children are offered many different tasks which give them an opportunity to problem-solve and learn. Worksheets are structured for children of all ages to follow mazes and solve puzzles leading them to the answers to their homework questions. This allows for the children to use enjoyable problem solving while learning life skills and pertinent information for mental development.
J. Watson1878-1958Psychologist John Broadus Watson is regarded as one of the original fathers of behaviorism and he also established the first school of behaviorism at Columbia University (Malott & Shane, 2014). A primary goal of Watson is credited for was to turn the psychology theory into a credible scientific field of study. Utilizing methodology throughout his research, Watson was able to take behaviors and comprehension research on child rearing and animals an offered classical conditioning and systematic desensitization (Benjamin, 2014). Watson preferred objective forms of observation to monitor reaction times and also include subjects such as memory, dreaming and thinking. Watson’s well known experiment of Little Albert shed light on conditioned emotions such as fear, rage and love. Through a process of techniques used, Watson was able to condition fear into Little Albert of white rats, showing the psychology field that condition is scientifically supported (Benjamin, 2014).Watson had a strong influence in children’s learning and how parents are able to apply certain techniques to raise their children in a way that they can understand their mental processes and emotions. Classical conditioning is used in children to learn skills such as bathroom training, acceptable social behavior, and any other styles of learning children require. Parents and teachers offer positive reinforcements by repeating the stimulus in which they desire a particular result. Praise, rewards and parental acceptance for using the bathroom at the appropriate time. Repeating this stimulus over and over allows the child to learn when to use the bathroom. The same could be said about teaching young children not to behave or response in a positive way to a negative stimulus. Such as eliciting emotional attachments to scary situations so the child avoids these unsafe or undesired areas. Again, parents can conditional a fear into their child so they do not go into the swimming pool without the parents present, so anytime a swimming pool is visual, the child will feel threatened, thus seeking the parent’s safety and shelter.
F. Keller1899-1996According to Eyre (2007), the Keller Plan or otherwise known as the Personalized System of Instruction theory offered to help students learn educational material without the teacher by their side. “Keller (1968) outlined five basic components that he deemed to be essential for a PSI class: (1) mastery of course material, (2) the use of proctors, (3) self-paced (4) stress upon the written word, and (5) use of lectures and demonstrations primarily for motivational purposes” (Eyre, 2007, p. 317). The personalized system of instruction method allows individuals to learn at their own pace and master subjects building confidence and decreasing the failure rate from pressure. Keller’s techniques allow students with learning disabilities the opportunity to learn the same material, just in a different setting.Many colleges have implemented this technique to assist students in learning a wide variety of topics without individual attention from instructors (Eyre, 2007). Student can move through the course material at their own pace thus allowing students to mater the course material. In the local high school, they offer personal Intervention plans, individual education goal where students a mentor and are given the curriculum in an online program called odyssey ware. The material offers the standards being taught in the classroom, but the student can work individually in a classroom or at home to complete the course in their time. Check in periods and testing occurs throughout the course but no barriers or pressure is in place allowing the student to master the information without stress to conform to learning in the classroom. The student can ask for help if desired, or they can work through the information in their own way, focusing on areas which need extra attention and testing out of areas they are already masters in avoiding a waste of time. Currently the university of phoenix is similar to this as this program allowing students to pace themselves, focus on areas of need and offers support and classroom but still relies on the student to individually work through the subjects.
B.F. Skinner1904-1990Earning his doctorate in 1931 at Harvard University, Burrhus Frederic Skinner combine mathematic and theory creating an internally consistent psychology referred to as experimental analysis of behavior along with operant conditioning. (Benjamin, 2014). Additionally, Skinner offers the R-S psychology which focuses primarily on consequences affecting behaviors. Skinner used rats and identified continuous reinforcements in the process along with partial reinforcements. Benjamin, (2014) states that Skinner boxes used to study the learning of rats and pigeons brought about operant conditioning similar to Thorndike. It became obvious that certain responses where results from specific stimulus, and through a manipulation of the variables, the animal’s behavior will adapt.A few real-world applications of the theory include but are not limited to missile guidance system using pigeons during World War II, designing an air crib for infants and teaching machines including programmed learning. The influence has assisted in classroom development for intellectually challenged individuals. Improving prison systems and parenting techniques, military training and work environments where reward systems and punishment systems have a delicate balance (Benjamin, 2014). The fact that operant conditioning still succeeds today just goes to show how Skinner’s theories are strong and factual and continues to offer applications such as promoting desired behaviors at school, home, work or in society and the importance of suppressing undesirable behaviors with an alternative to punishment considered reinforcement (Benjamin, 2014).
Ogden Lindsley1922-2004Ogden was best known for precision teaching and celeration charting, cooperation and competition studies among children, and psychotropic drug use and the effects on the behaviors of schizophrenics to name a few (Pennypacker & Binder, 2006). Also, the rate of response of teaching methods became of interest along with comparison of test score among students placing them into brackets of knowledge. Additionally, the study of retarded behavior led to further analysis of free operant condition and conjugate reinforcements. Precision teaching was the continuous measurement of students’ behaviors and celebration referred to a graphing tool used to keep track of behavior changed over time periods (Pennypacker & Binder, 2006).Monitoring behaviors in a lock down unit with individuals with schizophrenia is a way to utilize the techniques offered by Lindsley. Psychotropic medications are given and behavior plans are implemented and the individual is taught behaviors. Then the monitoring begins and is charted to compare improvements or declines and additionally keep track of what behaviors fluctuate with certain stimulus of medication. Additionally, the local elementary school uses a chart to keep track of how the children are learning to read, how many words per second are read aloud or read silently, and how this changes over time throughout the school year. Children are tested throughout the school year and placed in different groups as they accelerate or decline in their abilities. Their reading behaviors are closely monitored as to continue to develop appropriate educational learning curriculums to meet children learning behavior styles in the future in my opinion from my children experiences. Children are compared to what the education system determines to be standard levels, when the children fall under the standards, the learning technique must be adjusted for them.
A. Bandura1925-CurrentAlbert Bandura developed research which demonstrated a learning style referred to as observational learning which also teaches reinforcements and punishment. Bandura felt as though behaviorism lacked the ability to draw a connection between the behaviors in society and the link to the cognitive functions. Bandura offered an experiment involving bobo dolls which showed children physically acting out in an aggressive manner after seeing this aggressive behavior. Bandura influenced psychology and society by offering the scientific support of a monkey see-monkey do theory. According to Galotti (2014), the process of decision making affects behavior choices and this can be learned through observation of person to person, media forms and any other style which observational learning occurs. People see others behave and receive a reward, thus they desire to receive the same reward. Additionally, similar to negative behaviors such as the bobo doll experiment where children observe aggressive physical behavior and then repeated the negative behavior.Based on Bandura’s social learning theory, media cartoons and shows have been modified and developed to teach positive behaviors to children through observation. Parents, teachers, and employers utilize this technique for children and adults to teach appropriate and acceptable behavior as well as combat undesirable behaviors. Examples of witnessing a sibling have their training wheels removed and seeing the positive outcomes creates for other siblings to desire their training wheels to be removed so they also can attain the same outcome. Similar to adults with promotions at work. As others see what it takes to impress the boss and receive a promotion they also modify their behaviors to attain the similar result. A negative example of Social learning theory may be the tobacco commercials showing others the consequences of smoking and long term harm and death, thus hoping individuals will see the consequences of others and change their behavior to avoid the same outcome.
I. Lovaas1927-2010Lovaas was a pioneer in the development of applied behavior analysis and discrete trial training which aimed to reduce inappropriate behavior while additionally increasing communication, learning, and appropriate social behaviors within all aspect of the environment (Özerk et al., 2016). Lovaas theories focuses on early and intensive behavioral interventions for a successful behavioral intervention plan designed by Lovaas. According to Özerk et al., (2016), “In 1993, Dr. Lovaas published; Long-Term Outcome for Children with Autism Who Received Early Intensive Behavioral Treatment, the “93 Study.” To answer the question, “What happens to the children after they receive therapy?” follow up measures were given to the experimental group. The findings indicated eight of the nine best outcome children had maintained had their gains” (p.1).A continued use of the application of applied behavior analysis with children who suffer from autism spectrum. Preschool classes through high school in the special education sector use forms of applied behavioral analysis to teach students with autism and other developmental disabilities how to communicate and respond in social settings and decrease the unacceptable behaviors in society. Because ABA theory is so successful with various learning disabilities, parents, teachers and therapists all come together forming interdisciplinary teams to approach the learning and behaviors in a way that will be beneficial to the child or adult in order to thrive in society. However, ABA is also used in training dogs, sports, playing an instrument, teaching blind individuals to do sporting activities and maneuver within their environment. Lastly this approach is used in the classroom to assist in teaching children to manage their behaviors more efficiently.


Benjamin, L.T., Jr. (2014). A Brief History of Modern Psychology (2nd ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.

Eyre, H. L. (2007). Keller’s personalized system of instruction: Was it a fleeting fancy or is there a revival on the horizon? The Behavior Analyst Today, 8(3), 317-324. doi:

Galotti, K. M. (2014). Cognitive Psychology in and Out of the Laboratory (5th ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection Database.

Goodwin, C.J. (2015). A History of Modern Psychology (5th ed.). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.

Malott, R. W., & Shane, J. T. (2014).  Principles of behavior (7th ed.). London, England: Taylor & Francis. Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection Database.

Özerk, K. K., Vea, G. D., Eikeseth, S., & Özerk, M. (2016). Ole Ivar Lovaas – His Life, Merits and Legacy. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, 9(2), 243-262. Retrieved from

Pennypacker, H. S., & Binder, C. V. (2006). Ogden R. Lindsley Jr. (1922-2004). American Psychologist, 61(1), 1-72. doi:

Smith, T., & Eikeseth, S. (2011). O. Ivar Lovaas: Pioneer of applied behavior analysis and intervention for children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41(3), 375-8. doi: