The Echoes of the Mind (10) Behaviorism


From the 2nd half of the 19th century into the 20th, psychology was characterized by 3 predominant schools of thought: behaviorism, Gestalt, and psychoanalysis. Behaviorism was physiologically oriented. Gestalt treated perception as a holistic phenomenon. Psychoanalysis sought to cure mental illnesses via conversational self-revelation.


Psychology as the behaviorist sees it is a purely objective, experimental branch of natural science. Its theoretical goal is the prediction and control of behavior. Introspection forms no essential part of its methods, nor is the scientific value of its data dependent upon the readiness with which they lend themselves to interpretation in terms of consciousness. The behaviorist, in his efforts to get a unitary scheme of animal responses, recognizes no dividing line between man and brute. ~ John Watson

Behaviorism followed in the footsteps of La Mettrie, who considered the mind as a machine seated within the brain. Behaviorism essentially dismissed the mind in its attempt to turn psychology into a matterist science of behavior. Behaviorism sought to reduce psychology to a branch of physiology.