Behaviourist or trainer?

As specialized humans, we have the power to influence the behavior of those around us. Whether you are a parent, teacher, coach, or business leader, you have likely encountered situations where you have had to motivate and shape the behavior of those under your care. When it comes to these situations, there are two distinct approaches that can be taken: behaviourism and training. In this article, we will explore the differences between these two approaches and discuss which one might be best suited for different situations.

Behaviourism is a school of psychology that focuses on observable behaviour and its environmental determinants. Behaviourists believe that behaviour can be shaped and controlled by manipulating environmental factors such as rewards and punishments. This approach is often used in animal training, where the success of a task is directly correlated to the amount and timing of reinforcements given. As behaviourism is solely focused on the observable, it does not always take into account internal factors such as thoughts, beliefs, and emotions.

On the other hand, training is focused on developing skills and competencies through structured learning experiences. This approach is often used in the workplace to improve job performance or in sports to improve athletic abilities. Rather than solely focusing on the observable, training takes into account the internal processes that drive behaviour, such as motivation, attentional focus, and resiliency.

So, which approach should you choose? The answer depends on the situation. If you are working with animals or young children who have limited cognitive abilities, behaviourism might be the best approach. By using rewards and punishments, you can quickly and effectively shape their behaviour in a way that is easy to understand and measurable.

However, if you are working with more complex beings, such as adolescents or adults, training might be the better option. By focusing on skill development and self-reflection, training can lead to long-term behavior change and self-motivation. It also takes into account the individual needs and preferences of each learner, making it a more personalized approach.

In conclusion, both behaviourism and training have their strengths and weaknesses, and the best approach depends on the situation at hand. As specialized humans, it is important to have the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively shape and influence the behavior of those around us. By understanding the differences between these two approaches, we can choose the one that will lead to the most effective and long-lasting results.

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