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A school of psychology that confines itself to the study of observable and quantifiable aspects of behavior and excludes subjective phenomena, such as emotions or motives.

be·hav′ior·ist n.
be·hav′ior·is′tic adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(bɪˈheɪv yəˌrɪz əm)

the theory or doctrine that human or animal psychology can be accurately studied only through the examination and analysis of objectively observable and quantifiable behavioral events.
be•hav′ior•ist, n., adj.
be•hav`ior•is′tic, adj.
be•hav`ior•is′ti•cal•ly, adv.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


the theory or doctrine that observed behavior provides the only valid data of psychology. — behaviorist, n., adj. — behavioristic, adj.
See also: Psychology
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


A school of psychology that places great importance on learned behavior and conditioned reflexes.
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.behaviorism - an approach to psychology that emphasizes observable measurable behaviorbehaviorism - an approach to psychology that emphasizes observable measurable behavior
experimental psychology, psychonomics - the branch of psychology that uses experimental methods to study psychological issues
reflexology - the study of reflex action as it relates to the behavior of organisms
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Accepting that behavioralist view has implications for the way economists picture their role in policy.
Just about the time the aging Holmes was about to die, the laws had become, as he predicted, mainly legislative, and legislation had become, as Hayek predicted, mere "instructions to administrators." (29) This was a comfortable formulation for an increasingly behaviorist political science as well as for an increasingly realist, behavioralist, economistic legal scholarship.
Delarue-Mardrus, however, uses a similarly behavioralist understanding to insist upon Marie's total innocence.
After World War I, behavioralist John Broadus Watson promoted rigorous habits established in infancy while developmental psychologist Arnold Cesell encouraged parents to raise children "naturally." After World War II, Benjamin Spock presided first as a soft advocate, seeking to dispel parents' anxieties, and then later as his own hard counterpart, warning against permissiveness, "parental hesitancy," and child centeredness.
It is precisely for this reason that Deutsch implored that political scientists use behavioralist methods to test their theories.
ARS farm animal behavioralist Julie Morrow-Tesch will work with Texas Tech animal scientist John McGlone on the project.
Second, though she is alert to the ritual and dramatic elements of Bernardino's performances, Polecretti is concerned to challenge purely behavioralist approaches by reintegrating spirituality and interior life into the analysis of Renaissance religion: Bernardino "designed rituals which inspired dramatic displays of group piety, but his words always emphasized individual conversion" (10); "his final goal was always inner transformation, even if within the context of public display" (83).
Instead of being addressed with mainstream methods of scientific inquiry, the AIDS-in-Africa debate was hijacked in the 1980s by an extreme behavioralist explanation that transformed the question into: How are Africans different?
MARK WORRELL, "Aren't You Really a Behavioralist in Disguise?--Philosophical Psychology in Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations." Adviser: Robert Tully.
There was a widening split, too, within the still-dominant behavioralist camp; John Wahlke, one of its most prominent figures, used his 1978 APSA presidential address to term the movement a "failure" (Wahlke 1979).
A similar yearning for a solution seems to have led a leading behavioralist, David Easton, in his 1969 presidential address to the American Political Science Association, to welcome post-behavioralism.(61) Although he did not argue that political scientists need to abandon science's objective of pursuing the truth, what he considered to be a "social crisis of unforeseen proportions" compelled him to consider whether political scientists should not subordinate this objective "to the undeniably urgent problems of the day."(62) Paradoxically, many contemporary politicized disciplines are relativistic.
Having conducted this analysis, Rohwer and Sloane note, however, that Bloom's Taxonomy was not developed to fit the behavioralist theory that was dominant when the taxonomy was created.