Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Anthony Y. StringerEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_663


Behavioral psychology; Cognitive behaviorism


Behaviorism is a psychological theory (and branch of psychology), focusing on observable behavior rather than mental phenomena, that attempts to explain behavior by learning principles such as classical and operant conditioning. In classical conditioning, an unconditioned stimulus already eliciting a response is paired with a neutral stimulus. With repeated pairing, the neutral (conditioned) stimulus begins to elicit the same response as the unconditioned stimulus. Operant conditioning focuses on environmental consequences that increase (positive reinforcement) or decrease (negative reinforcement) the frequency of behavior. Early behaviorists focused exclusively on observable behavior, while more recent cognitive behaviorists have applied learning principles to patterns of thought. As behaviorism historically attempted to account for behavior solely in terms of environmental factors, neuropsychology has had limited impact...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Readings

  1. Beggs, J. M., Brown, T. Y., Byrne, J. H., Crow, T., LeDoux, J. E., & LeBar, K. (1999). Learning and memory: Basic mechanisms. In M. J. Zigmond, F. E. Bloom, S. C. Landis, J. L. Roberts, & L. R. Squire (Eds.), Fundamental neuroscience (pp. 1411–1454). San Diego: Academic.Google Scholar
  2. Mills, J. A. (1998). Control: A history of behavioural psychology. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  3. O’Donohue, W. T. (2001). The psychology of B.F. Skinner. Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  4. Skinner, B. F. (1950). Are theories of learning necessary? Psychological Review, 57(4), 193–216.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Staddon, J. E. R. (2000). The new behaviorism: Mind, mechanism, and society. Philadelphia: Psychology Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation MedicineEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA