Introduction to Behavioral and Cognitive Theories

What you’ll learn to do: explain key principles of behaviorism and cognitive psychology

Two children shown from behind sitting on a pathway overlooking a town

Is all behavior learned from the environment? Should psychology, as science, focus on observable behavior—the result of stimulus-response, as opposed to internal events like thinking and emotion? Is there little difference between the learning that takes place in humans and that in other animals? These are types of questions considered by behaviorists, which we’ll learn more about in this section. We’ll also consider cognitive theories, which examine the construction of thought processes, including remembering, problem-solving, and decision-making, from childhood through adolescence to adulthood.