Behavioral, Cognitive, Developmental, Social Cognitive & Constructivist Perspectives

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  • 0:43 Behavioral
  • 2:37 Cognitive
  • 4:00 Developmental
  • 5:15 Social Cognitive
  • 6:29 Constructivism
  • 7:36 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Melissa Hurst
How do different people learn? Not everyone agrees. In educational psychology, there are many differing perspectives. This lesson will differentiate between the following psychological perspectives: behavioral, cognitive, developmental, social cognitive and constructivist.


There are five branches of educational psychology
Branches of Educational Psychology
educational psychology

Behavioral Perspective

Behaviorism is the theoretical perspective in which learning and behavior are described and explained in terms of stimulus-response relationships. The key assumptions of behaviorism are:

  • The environment influences behavior. Behaviorists believe that people's behaviors are a result of their interaction with the environment. Specifically, people become conditioned, or molded, to respond in certain ways based on responses like feedback, praise and rewards.
  • Learning is described through stimuli and responses. Behaviorists focus on observable events rather than events that occur inside a person's head, such as thoughts, feelings and beliefs.
  • Learning must involve a behavioral change. Theorists believe that learning has not occurred unless there is an observable change in behavior.
  • Learning must result when stimulus and response occur close together in time. Learners must associate their response with a stimulus. In order for that to occur, the two must happen in conjunction with each other, or, in other words, be contiguous.
  • Animals and humans learn in similar ways. Behaviorists, unlike many other theorists, performed their experiments using animals because they believed the study of animals could explain human learning behavior.

The major behaviorists you should be familiar with include John Watson, known as the father of behaviorism; Ivan Pavlov, best known for classical conditioning; B.F. Skinner, known for operant conditioning; and Edward Thorndike, known for the law of effect.

John Watson is known as the father of behaviorism
John Watson Behaviorist

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