Behaviorism, Social Learning, and Exchange Theory

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					                 Behaviorism, Social Learning, and Exchange Theory


Key Concepts:
         *Conditioned Response/Habit              * Modeling
         * Reinforcement(reward or punishment)    *Conditioned Stimulus
         *Unconditional Stimulus                  *Conditioned Response
         * Consequences                           *Operant conditioning
         * Unconditional Response                 *Reinforces (Primary & Secondary)
         *Punishers                               *Aversive stimuli/Avoidance Learning

Key Theorists:
                John Watson
                Ivan Pavlov
                Edward Thorndike
                B.F. Skinner

         --Focuses on learning/the way behavior is shaped by conditions and consequences
         --Stresses observable behavior (S→R)
         --Classified into 2 categories: Classical behaviorism and Neobehaviorism
         --“Behavior theory” interchangeable with “Learning theory”
         -- Classical Conditioning versus Operant conditioning

Classical Behaviorism
       • Behavior could be shaped through the selection of appropriate stimuli
       • A habit (S-R set) occurs over time through repetition
       • Removes the role of heredity and mentalism in determining human behavior

         •   Environmental stimuli not typically shown to elicit response could be
             manipulated to produce response
         •   Generalization of conditioned response to similar conditioned stimulus
         •   Extinction of conditioned response when conditioned/unconditioned stimuli are
         •   Spontaneous recovery of response when stimuli returns

     • Changes in human behavior could only be proven by their observable behavior,
         not by internal activity that is analyzed
     • Believed humans learned by ideas
      • Discounted the S-R connection, believing consequences strengthen or weaken a

      • Believed in Natural Selection
      • “Behavior is shaped and maintained by its consequences.”; strengthened by its
         consequence, which is reinforced by the behavior
      • Appears to dismiss the creative aspects of cognition
      • No formal stages of development, but proposed phases of environmental
         treatment that corresponds to age

Social Learning Theory

Key Concepts:
      *Drives             *Cues                        *Responses
      *Rewards            *Imitation/Modeling          *Learned behavior
      *Frustration-aggression hypothesis               *Perceived self-efficacy
      *Self-reinforcement *Reciprocal determinism

      --Combines internal and external process
      --Emphasis on social and cognitive factors contributing to behavior

Key Theorists:
             Clark Hull
             John Dollard & Neal Miller
             Albert Bandura

Clark Hull
      • Concerned with behavioral responses and conditions which served as reinforces
      • The Stimulus (S) affects the Organism (O) which produces a response (R) that is
         as dependent on (S) as it is on (O)
      • Believed in social and cognitive factors leading to behavior

Dollard & Miller
      • Believed social conditions affected the process of learning
      • Four fundamental factors influenced learning:
                          1. Drives – central to behavior/motivation to meet innate or
                             learned drives (Primary & Secondary)
                          2. Response – the behavior
                           3. Cues – environmental stimulus that signals a when a
                              response is rewarded or unrewarded
                           4. Rewards – satisfying a response

      •   Addressed the role of imitation and modeling in learning
      •   Suggested the Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis

Albert Bandura
       • Believed the distinction of normal and deviant behavior in prior theories were
          based on value judgements
       • Concerned about the failure to account for complex social factors
       • Believed Reciprocal determinism – behavior is a combination of interactions with
          personal and environmental determinates
       • Suggested the roles of imitation and observation
       • Late work showed a four stage process for learning by observation
                           1. Attention
                           2. Retention
                           3. Production
                           4. Motivation
       • Suggested that behavior is also influenced by perceived self-efficacy and self-

Exchange Theory

Key Concepts:
      *Profits                                         *Costs
      *Satiation/Diminished marginal utility           *Power
      *Scarcity                                        *Principle of least interest
      *Norm of reciprocity                             *Distributive justice

Key Theorists:
      Homans, Blau, Gouldners, Emerson

      --The process of social exchange and how purposive, goal-oriented human behavior
       is driven
      --Uneven exchange leads to power of one individual over another

Theory Explanation:
      • Profits/rewards can be material or symbolic (thins that bring satisfaction or
      • Costs can be (1)punishments <physical or emotional> or (2)rewards foregone
      • Profits accrue when the rewards outweigh the costs
       •   Satiation/diminished marginal utility-when a reward has been received
           repeatedly and has lost it motivational factor
       •   Scarcity-<less availability>increases the value of the reward
       •   Power-having a skill that is scare or in high demand
       •   Distributive justice- rewards should be proportioned to their costs and profits
           proportioned to their investments <ascribed or achieved>
       •   Summation of exchange concepts based on major theorists outlines key
           components to theory (Pg. 338-339)

Application to Social Work Practice
       •   Behavioral and social learning theories are traditionally used much more in
           practice than in explaining human behavior
       •   Exchange theory has received little attention in social work

Definition of Helping Situation
               --“Problem” definition; Problem, deviance, crisis

Assessment, Practice, Strategies, and Methods
             --Behaviorism, social learning and exchange theories often used in practice
             --Specific techniques/token economy

Critical Analysis
Biological, Psychological and Spiritual Factors
       --In behavior theories, Biology has received less attention than environmental
--Bandura (social learning) focused on experiential learning, but acknowledged
          biology’s impact on learning
       --Psychological factors are confined to analysis of observable behavior in Behavior
       --Social Learning theory expands the realm and looks at cognition and emotion
       --Exchange theory focus solely on the dynamics of interpersonal exchange
       --Spiritual factors are non-existent

Social, Cultural, and Economic Forces
        --Little focus from Behavioral and social learning theory on cultural, social, or
          economic forces
        --Exchange theory, although deals more with social, cultural, and economic forces,
          is based largely on interpersonal communication

Relevance to Individuals, Groups, Families Organization, Institutions, and Communities
       --Behavioral and social Learning theories have been primarily applied to
       --Exchange theory focuses on the spectrum of social systems (families, groups,
         organizations, etc.)
Consistency with Social Work Values and Ethics
     --the premise of an influential environment on behavior is consistent with the
        profession’s work with oppressed populations
      --diversity is largely ignored
      --easy to “blame the victim”

Philosophical Underpinnings
      --Strong suggestion that people act upon and are acted upon by their environment
--Behavioral theorists attempt non-judgmental
      --Social learning theories believe error in judgement occurs
      --Exchange theory believes people seek to profit from every exchange

Methodological Issues and Empirical Support
     --Behaviorism and social learning theory support a positivist approach
      --data is quantitative in design
      --Bandura received less criticism because, in part, of the use of human subjects
      --Exchange theorists reflect a positivists approach and has received a good deal of
        empirical validation
      --Behavior and Exchange are good theories for explanation rather than prediction,
      and at probabilistic rather than deterministic