Maybe the most controversial school of psychology, behaviorists are not necessarily concerned with your feelings. Behaviorists focus on your behaviors (actions) and figure out ways to change them. For example, lets say Billy is really depressed. The depression causes Billy to stop sleeping and eating. Billy is also drinking tequila as his only liquids. A behaviorist would NOT analyze Billy’s childhood and look into his unconscious (like the psychoanalytic school). A behaviorist would not look at Billy’s levels of serotonin and prescribe him medicine (like the biological school).
A behaviorist would only look at Billy’s behaviors, not his depression itself. They would examine his lack of sleeping and eating and drinking of alcohol as Billy’s true problems. Then they would use conditioning/learning strategies to change Billy’s behaviors. They may give Billy $20 for every bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch he eats. They may put diarrhea medicine in Billy’s tequila. These techniques (both strategies from DIFFERENT behaviorist styles) will stop Billy’s behaviors around depression, but will they rid Billy of his depression. You may think not, but to a behaviorist, if the behaviors are no longer maladaptive, then where’s the problem?
There are two major sub schools in the behaviorist school; classical conditioning and operant conditioning. These two are by FAR the most important concepts to learn in this unit. I have also included three other types of learning styles that may appear on the AP exam.