In chapter 11 it is discussed how behaviorist theory sees personality as learned responses to stimuli—while other theories see them as qualities of the person that determine behavior, behaviorists dismiss it as “mysticism”. From the 1950's and onward they further developed the social learning theory, and the main idea was that human personality and behavior are shaped based off of rewarded actions, the individuals expectations based on what they have observed and that certain ways of behaving will result in rewards or consequences. It sees experiences and external influences as main influences and determinants of personality and behavior.
Social learning theory and locus-of-control research resulted in interesting developments in personality theory and clinical psychology—there was a growing recognition that conscious attitudes and ideas are a good portion of the person’s traits and actions. George Kelly called them “personal constructs”: sets of ideas about their own abilities and character, the behavior other people expect of them, how others might behave in response to them, what they mean by the things they say, etc. are important aspects and influences on personality and behavior.
There were some feminists who were saying that all personality and intellectual differences between men and women were because of how they were treated differently, different pressures, and conditioning. But as more research went on, it came to light that certain cognitive and personality differences were biological. In social life women continue to be less aggressive than men are, where men are more likely to commit the violent crimes—and the aggressiveness in men tend to appear early in life before most social influences can take place. Findings seem to firmly indicate that social learning plays off and magnifies biological differences that are already built in and there.
There was also research conducted that has shown that the closer someone is genetically related to someone, the more alike they are mental-health wise and usually share the same mental illnesses—the same has been said with intelligence and certain mental abilities. So, I’d say this definitely shows the flaws in the behaviorist’s theory; while external factors do play a large role, they definitely act off of biological components as well that lie under the surface.
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