Definition of behaviourism in English:


(US behaviorism)


  • 1[mass noun] The theory that human and animal behaviour can be explained in terms of conditioning, without appeal to thoughts or feelings, and that psychological disorders are best treated by altering behaviour patterns.

    • ‘Probably, monogamy is not our natural state; the lessons of animal behaviourism and biology seem to indicate this.’
    • ‘Psychologists use many different theories - cognitive theory, behaviourism and dynamic theory are just a few.’
    • ‘Perhaps the shift from behaviorism to cognitive psychology has given educators a richer vocabulary to describe mental processes.’
    • ‘Especially in North America, behaviorism dominated the psychological scene through the 1950s.’
    • ‘Like cognitive psychology, activity theory rejects behaviourism and attaches great significance to the cognitive regulation of behaviour.’
    1. 1.1Treatment involving the practical application of the theory of behaviourism.
      • ‘He invented the belief that one can cure an autistic child by using behaviorism.’
      • ‘Not surprisingly, military learning commences on the basis of behaviourism.’
      • ‘For years, teachers have been using behaviorism in the form of punishments and rewards to maintain order in their classrooms.’