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Comparing and contrasting Behaviourism and cognitive psychology

Write an essay on Evaluation of cognitive approach and Behaviourism Arguing in favour of Behaviourism?

In psychology behaviourism play a dominant role in analyzing the way behaviour could be analyzed with respect to the positive and negative understanding of situation. The major aspect that is, checked in the present condition includes understanding of the emotion, personality and learning.

Cognitive psychology refers to the study of several processes of mind. Utilization of different languages, attention, perception and problem solving as well as decision-making skills of any individual has been included within the study of mind. This study of mind has been called as cognitive psychology from the time of ancient Greek.

The major aspect related to behaviourism is through the process of conditioning. Lewis, Haviland & Barrett (2010) opines the dominant role in the approach is that the individuals are judged with the help of the external environment. The stimuli play the most important role in the approach of behaviourism. Observation is the basic rule in this approach along with the understanding of the observable behaviour.

However, Goldstein (2014) argued that, the major focus area of cognitive psychology is the mental process of the human being. The process of mind can affect the behavior of the human being. Different perceptions and assumption of the human being always affect the behavior of the individual person within the society.  

The subjective aspect that is the emotions, cognitions and the subjective aspect play a vital in the behaviourism. There are different forms of behaviourism approach that includes classical behavioursim that was prevalent in the 20th century. Snyder, Lopez & Pedrotti (2010) put forward This approach is one of the most important measurable aspects in the psychology that measures the reaction and behavior of the individuals. Well-known US psychologist John B. Watson proposed this particular approach in accordance to the reaction of the behaviours that is exhibited by different people. He has the belief that there are number of attributes that can be attached to the specific behaviours of the individuals. In such case, Watson tried to understand the ancient feelings attached to the consciousness. In this perspective, it is important to note the fact that consciousness is non- quantifiable. However, he advocated the behavioursim approach that helps in dealing with the all the elements that is related to the feeling, emotions and the gesture of the individuals and the behavior that they exhibit. Watson tried to amalgamate both the theories and the concept of the ancient along with the current thoughts those are important.

Behaviourism vs Cognitive Psychology

In the beginning of nineteenth century, experimental psychology has been emerged as the evidence based discussion of the psychology. The study of higher mental processes has been emerged in this period. Therefore, cognitive psychology, behaviorism have been emerged as the important contribution towards this aspect of experimental psychology. Cognitive psychology refers to the study and experiment of mental process of human being. It is the aspect of cognitive revolution from the perspective of psychology and sociology of human being of the society. However, Estes (2014) stated that, the aspect of behaviorism dominated the study of American psychology. Behaviorism is the approach of living as well as non-living aspect of earth. Nevertheless, cognitive psychology deals with only human being. The mental process, language, attention have been reflected within the study of human psychology. The cognition is included within this study here, as behaviorism has lacked from this aspect. However, the process of communication and information theory has been included within the study of cognitive psychology.

There are primarily three types of behaviourism, which includes the methodological behavioursim, psychological behavioursim and analytical or logical behavioursim. The methodological behavioursim is one of the normative theories that is related to the use of the scientific knowledge in the psychology. In this type of behavioursim the major element of understanding is not the mental state of the individual. This motive of the behavioursim deals with the aspect that there is no relation with respect to the beliefs of the animals. In such case, the understanding of the scientific behavior is not related to the proper study of the private entities (Martin, 2010).

The processes of cognitive psychology are as follows:

Attention: According to the psychological thought, attention can be considered as focused awareness on the subset of available information of perception. Attention helps to filter the irrelevant data of the whole information. Every human being with the help of desired data that can be distributed to different processes of mind of the individual.

Memory: As discussed by van der Maas et al. (2011),  there are two types of memory within the mind of the human being. Short term and long-term memory are two types of memory those can be utilized by every human being. Working memory and long-term memory are very useful memory for every human being. Long-term memory is included within the procedural memory, semantic memory and episodic memory.  

Perception: On the other hand, Demacheva et al. (2012) stated that, perception is involved within different physical senses. It is the structural approach of cognitive psychology.

Processes of Cognitive Psychology

Language: Language acquisition is another perspective that is very important as well as effective for the psychology of different people. Language is also varying between different people. There are different forms or phenomenon within the perspective of language acquisition.

Psychological behavioursim is a form or program within the limitation of psychology. In this aspect, the understanding of the study deals with physical stimuli, learning histories along with the responses that are forms of reinforcements. The analytical or the logical behaviourism is within philosophy that is regarding the meaning or the mental terms that is relating to the semantics of the particular concepts. The behavioural tendencies are the relation that is established by the individuals with the family and the socialization process that they have inculcated. The individuals are part of the environmental stimuli in this part of behavioursim.

In the cognitive psychology, major processes of mind are included within the process of attention, memory, perception, language, Meta cognition. Ulric Neisser formally has coined this term of cognitive psychology. Cognitive structure means the process of transforming as well as reducing and elaborating or storing the input of sense of human being.

On the other hand, Paap & Greenberg (2013) stated that, cognitive approach is the modern approach for analyzing the behavior of the human being. Cognitive psychology mainly deals with the approach of thinking of different human beings. It is very modern approach within the aspect of human psychology. Therefore, the cognitive approach has included within stimulus, effects and the response of the human behavior within the individual body. The approach of cognitive psychology is based on the principle that the behavior of human being can be generated with the help of response and stimuli within the mind.

Behavioursim is formed on the observable behaviours that can be collected and can be used in case of quantifying the data in the research. Apart from this the major techniques that is used for the approach of behavioursim includes the intervention of the felling, gestures, emotions and the way of reaction. The analysis of the behaviours helps in understanding the psychological effects that both adults and children may have in the mind. Wright (2010) mentions this also indulges the socialization process along with the external stimuli and the reaction projected by people. This method has been used in the recent cases to know about the wanted behavior and to identify the unwanted ones. This would help in generating the positive ideas by the therapists. Therapies can be coordinated with the help of the reaction that is projected by the individuals.

Meta cognition

Major assumptions of this theory of cognitive psychology are included within different scientific processes also. According to cognitive psychology theory, every type of behavior of human being can be elaborated with different techniques of science (Unsworth et al. 2014). On the other hand, the behavior of every individual can also be explained as some effective responses of external stimuli. Behavior of the people can be controlled by though process of the individual. There are genetic factors and psychological factors those can affect the behavioral process of every individual within the society. Therefore, cognitive psychology has focused upon the thought process of the individual.

The basic area of assumptions that is tried by the approach of behavioursim includes the fact that psychology is a science and the perspective of science plays a dominating role in the same. The strengths of the approach includes that the scientific base helps in the empirical study of the people. Apart from this, there is objective measurement that could be tried by the approach. Apart from this, the analysis of the behaviour and the reaction can be, based on both humans and animals. Various renowned psychologists have carried out this study. The limitation may be the study may be at times deterministic and through the method of reduction. However, the scientific and the empirical aspect overpower this aspect. The key strength of the approach determines the relationships, language, culture and such other elements (Valentine, 1992).

Cognitive psychology deals with the stimulus and response theory of communication. The communication process happens where the sender and receiver sends and receives messages in response of their stimuli, perception. Therefore, cognitive psychology has been included within this aspect of mental process. However, the first important theoretical effort within the psychology of information processing had been built by Donald Broadbent’s theory of Perception and Communication (Groome, 2013).  On the other hand, De Houwer (2011) argued that, several psychologists have taken attempt for creating different explanations and rules of human behavior for evaluating the nature of behavior of every individual. Cognitive psychology deals with the thought process for the behavior. Every individual has different patterns of behavior within several conditions of life. Every individual behave differently in accordance with different situation and perspective. Every individual have different perception about different perspectives.

In case of the bahviourism the major aspect of the understanding is that instead of only studying the mind the behaviours of the individuals are analyzed. This makes the study more relevant as all the aspects of the individuals that are the driving reason for the understanding of the way of behavior is, analyzed with precision. In case of the cognitive approach, the understanding is only based on the mind and there is a specific limitation to the same. In case of the behaviourist approach the major importance relates to the understanding of the way of behaving that also includes the gesture and the influence of the external stimuli. Hence, Mcghee (2001) argues in case of coming to conclusion the importance of the approach lies with the reduction of a number of aspects. The major understanding of the bahaviourist approach includes the fact that all the elements that is responsible for the way of behaving of the individuals is understood with respect to the environment. The study or the assessment is based n the factors like the family, peers, groups the socialization process and the method of dealing with all the relationships. This approach is not constrained to the individual mind and discusses the understanding the nature and the behavior of the individuals. The assessment of the reasons and the understanding of the specific behaviour is the cause of the different levels of interaction and the relationship that is established by the individuals.

Gross (1995) refers Behaviorism is part of a materialist theory and includes the idea of postulation no mental substance. Bahviourism is one of the approaches in psychology that make use of the physical substance and so it helps in clearly understanding the changes in behaviour. The aspect that favours the approach is that of the law of parsimony which entails that the approaches that use fewer perspectives are the one that could be judged effectively. In such case, bahviourism is the approach that helps in analyzing the fewer aspects and this makes the study much more credible. The decision making process in the study is helpful in understanding the ideas. The analysis of the bahviours in case of bahviourism includes the study and the research f the individual based on language, decision making and the problem solving efficiency of the people. This theory is use by the teachers and the therapists to analyze nature and the bahviours in the modern day. This helps in understanding the perspective of the behavior of the individuals along with analysis. The teachers make use of this method to know about the psychological change relating to behavior of the students. This also helps the counsellor in analyzing the change and the peer pressure that leads to the behavioural change. In such case, it might be noted that even in the present case then there are certain assumptions in the modern psychology that is derived from the aspect of bahviourism (Bem & de Jong, 2013).  


Behaviourism is the aspect that deals with the condition and the nature of feelings, gesture and way of behaving. This is important in case of analyzing the reason of behavioural change in the individuals. Martin, Carlson & Buskist (2010) mentions this is one of the approach that help in analyzing the phobias, behavior therapy, behavior modification, education, language, relationships, addiction and aggression. These aspects help in understanding the behavior that is determined by the conditioning or the environment. This type of approach does not exactly allow the lab experiments but there is an ethical consideration that is followed in the particular approach.

On the contrary, the mental process is the main aspect that is studied in the perception, memory, creativity and the problem solving capacity of the mind. In case of the Cognitive Psychology, it is the most important aspect that helps in understanding the perception of the mind. The creativity of the individuals is another attribute that helps in getting the developmental psychology that is relating to the mind.  

The evaluation of the Behaviourism is based on the scientific validity. In case of the empirical nature of Behaviourism it has been found that most of the approach that helps in the analysis is the understanding. The quotient of science in the particular approach is less. The most important aspect in the present approach is the process of observation (Comer, Gould & Furnham, 2013). The fruitfulness of the approach is the analysis that can be drawn from the people and the understanding of the people and the reason that they have certain behavioural aspect. The ability of the approach delves with the physical substance and the feeling that is inculcated through the process of understanding the nature of the coherence. The coherence of the people or the individual is through the process of understanding the motive and the impact of the physical substance. The pre philosophy of  Behaviourism includes the fact that there has to be certain aspects like the belief and the cultural influence that change the behavior of the individuals largely.

In case of the Cognitive Psychology it is the most fruitful important understanding the observation relating to the mind. The mind and the aspects that drive the mind is the most important aspect in the present approach. The memory is the aspect that can be analyzed through the process of the working memory. In such case, the scientific ground is the most important element (Glassman & Hadad, 2009).

In case of the development of the child or the understanding of the minds of the student both the approach are crucial. However, in case of the change in the behaviour it is the Behaviourism as an approach that, helps in dealing with the situation. Beckett & Taylor (2010) mentions the analysis of the child and the development through can be also with respect to the mind that is the cognitive aspect. The quotient of intelligence can be through the method of cognitive approach as the development of mind and intelligence can be related with the approach. In case of the child, development the aspect of peer pressure can be ensured through the Behaviourism. This is the underatnding of the specific or differential exhibition of the behavior of the child.




This approach is scientific largely with the change in the behaviours.

The meditational processes are missing. In such case, the analysis of the behavior of the individuals based on the meditation is missing largely.

This approach is largely applicable in the present day psychology and the therapies of the therapists.

This approach does not depend on the biological drives. The hormones and the drive relating to the hormones are missing (Guey, Cheng & Shibata, 2010).

The major understand is through the emphasis on the objective.

This approach does not have the deterministic approach. The approach needs to be free which is largely missing in the approach.

There are number of experiments that cannot be tried with the help of support of the models and theories.

The experimentation and the extent of the experiments are largely missing.

The comparison can be tried and experiment with the humans and the animals. This also helps in the understanding of the perspective of the animals and the reason that they also behave in a particular way (Chaplin, 2010).

In this approach there can be an analysis based on the humans and the animals. This is not effective as the creatures are different along with the perception that the humans retain. Animals on the other hand cannot speak and expression is the only method of exhibiting the behaviours.

This approach is a process of reduction that does not help in attaining the full knowledge of the information.



The approach is empirical and scientific

The theory only deals with the mind and the reason that the kind has certain inhabitations

Most of the implication is practical and so the application of the approach is related to the realistic implication of the mind

The theory is only interested in the mental processing

The treatment of the mind is the major aspect that helps in gaining the desired personality of the individuals

This approach lacks the validity of the ecology

This approach is narrow and does not follow the intentions and the behvaiour

The approach does not look at all the perception of the a person (Woollard, 2010)

Hence, it might be said that after going through the pros and cons behaviourism is the approach that helps in understanding the physical and the psychological analysis of the environment. This seeks to understand the change in behaviour.  


In the recent days, it is one of the major aspects to apply behaviourism in the study of changing behaviour of the people. In schools and in the analysis of kids or children the change in behaviour plays a dominant role. Hence, from the study conducted above it may be said that even in the recent days more than cognitive approach behaviourism has its own place for the analysis of individuals.

Reference list

Beckett, C., & Taylor, H. (2010). Human growth and development. Sage.

Bem, S., & de Jong, H. L. (2013). Theoretical issues in psychology: An introduction. SAGE Publications Limited.

Chaplin, J. P. (2010). Dictionary of psychology. Dell.

Comer, R., Gould, E. & Furnham, A. (2013). Psychology. Sussex: Wiley.

De Houwer, J. (2011). Why the cognitive approach in psychology would profit from a functional approach and vice versa. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6(2), 202-209.

Demacheva, I., Ladouceur, M., Steinberg, E., Pogossova, G., & Raz, A. (2012). The applied cognitive psychology of attention: a step closer to understanding magic tricks. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 26(4), 541-549.

Estes, W. K. (2014). Handbook of Learning and Cognitive Processes (Volume 4): Attention and Memory. Psychology Press.

Glassman, W. E & Hadad, M. (2009). Approaches to Psychology (5th Edition). Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Goldstein, E. (2014). Cognitive psychology: Connecting mind, research and everyday experience. Cengage Learning.

Groome, D. (2013). An introduction to cognitive psychology: Processes and disorders. Psychology Press.

Gross, R. (1995). Themes, Issues and Debates in Psychology. London: Hodder & Stoughton

Guey, C. C., Cheng, Y. Y., & Shibata, S. (2010). A triarchal instruction model: integration of principles from Behaviorism, Cognitivism, and Humanism.Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences9, 105-118.

Lewis, M., Haviland-Jones, J. M., & Barrett, L. F. (Eds.). (2010). Handbook of emotions. Guilford Press.

Martin, G., Carlson, N. & Buskist, W. (2010). Psychology. (4th Edition). Harlow: Pearson.

Martin, R. A. (2010). The psychology of humor: An integrative approach. Academic press.

Mcghee, P. (2001). Thinking Psychologically. Basingstoke: Palgrave

Paap, K. R., & Greenberg, Z. I. (2013). There is no coherent evidence for a bilingual advantage in executive processing. Cognitive psychology, 66(2), 232-258.

Snyder, C. R., Lopez, S. J., & Pedrotti, J. T. (2010). Positive psychology: The scientific and practical explorations of human strengths. Sage Publications.

Unsworth, N., Fukuda, K., Awh, E., & Vogel, E. K. (2014). Working memory and fluid intelligence: Capacity, attention control, and secondary memory retrieval. Cognitive psychology, 71, 1-26.

Valentine, E. R. (1992). Conceptual Issues in Psychology. London: Routledge.

van der Maas, H. L., Molenaar, D., Maris, G., Kievit, R. A., & Borsboom, D. (2011). Cognitive psychology meets psychometric theory: on the relation between process models for decision making and latent variable models for individual differences. Psychological review, 118(2), 339.

Woollard, J. (2010). Psychology in the Classroom: Behaviourism. Routledge.

Wright, R. (2010). The moral animal: Why we are, the way we are: The new science of evolutionary psychology. Vintage.

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