(1) Observation. Observation can be done both with instruments and without instruments. Instrument is used to record eye movements and to study different physiological phenomena, such as heart beat, pulse-rate, and blood pressure.
(2) Psychological tests. The overt behaviour of the organism can be measured by the psychological tests.
(3) Verbal report. It is the report of the subject about his condition or behaviour and not introspection.
(4) Conditioned reflex technique: Pavlov put forth the idea of conditioned response. It means that response can be elicited by a stimulus with which it was not originally connected.
(5) Experimental method. Experimental methods were used by psychologist like Wondt, Cottle Ebbinghaus, etc. and behaviourists also adopted experimental method to study behaviour
(6) Practical Method. There are many methods used in the different fields of psychology.
Watson faced certain methodological difficulties in studying sensation of animals. So he avoided the word sensation. He used words such as visual responses, auditory response and olfactory responses.
Perception involves interpretation of meaning of sensory sights. Watson never used the word ‘perception’ as such. To him concepts such as meaning of perception and images are mentalistic and consequently unworthy of a specific psychology. Watson and his fellowmen were primarily interested in stimulus and response. Because of their preoccupation with other aspects of behaviour, they fail to make significant contribution in the field of perception.
Watson believed that memory is a sensory motor phenomenon. Brain just connects them. A visual image is part of visual after image, auditory image a part of auditory after image and so on. Watson explained memory images in the light of his psychological orientation. In his words, the sense organs that receive the stimulus are called receptors.
The muscles that extract the actions are termed effectors. The brain senses to think the receptors with the effectors. Memory images are quite often affected reactions, of the receptors in the absence of the original stimulus.
Watson believed in the peripheral theory of thinking. For him thinking is a fountain not of the brain but of the body as a whole. Thinking is implicit verbal reaction. When an individual thinks different movements, gestures are connected with the organs of thought (larynx) are noticed. Those bodily changes can be recorded by Galvano-metre. Thinking is silent speech.
Watson was not able to give any subjective evidence for his theory. To test Watson’s hypothesis. In 1932, Jacobson, made electrical registrations of muscles corrects and came to the conclusion that muscle currents are active only during silent speech. In 1937, Maxi found that muscles of the forearm were active during very difficult thinking, but not under simple one.
Watson believed that feelings and emotions are true sensory motor phenomena. He attempted to study feelings from a physiological, biological approach. Watson was against the James large theory of emotion. The James large theory gave importance to something like ‘conscious perception’.
According to Watson there are bodily changes at the time of emotion but these changes are mere important in the glandular and visceral systems. Each emotion has its own pattern of change. There are covert and overt expressions of emotion such as change in blood pressure, pulse-rate, blood volume, breathing, etc.
There are also facial expressions. But Watson’s views were not confirmed by studies of respiratory circulatory and other changes. Secondly some studies have been made which emphasise the role of various central parts such as thalamus, hypothalamus and central lobe in emotions.
Watson made sincere efforts to study growth and development of emotions among children. According to him there are only three emotions at the time of birth: (1) Rage (2) Fear (3) Love. Other fears are acquired by learning. Watson conducted experiments on a baby named Albert of 18 months old to prove how an emotion like fear is conditional and acquired.
Watson’s learning theory belongs to the older associationalism. His learning has much in common with Thorndike’s connectionism and Pavlovy’s conditioning. Watson believed in 4he law of recently and the law of frequency. According to him the behaviour pattern which occur most frequently and recently are strengthened.
But he discarded the law of effect, according to which successful or satisfactory responses are stamped in an unsuccessful responses are stamped out. According to Watson satisfaction is a moralistic concept. Later on Watson accepted that learning is conditioned; even habits and motor skills are learnt through conditioning.
Studies conducted by Talman. At the beginning Talman believed all behaviour is purposive. It indicates that behaviour of the organism is either directed towards the goals away from it. Hence the learner is an active participant in the learning process. Like Watson, Talman also rejected the law of effort. Yet he differed from Watson as far as the explanation of behaviour is concerned.
According to him, behaviour cannot be explained simply in terms of stimulus and response introduced S-O-R. Certain process intervenes between the stimulus and response. Through the intervening variables, the organism builds up a cognitive map of the whole situation and this cognitive would help him to learn.
Studies conducted by Hall. Hall too introduced same kind of intervening variables. A stimulus acts upon the organism. The organism has a potential for reaction to stimulus. If the reaction reduces the drive (D) reinforcement occurs. Reinforcement leads to a report (SHR). If the reaction is not reinforced it is inhibited.
Extinction happens. Hall recognized two types of reinforcement. Primary reinforcement and secondary reinforcement. Drive reduction and reinforcement are central to his theory. By drive he means an energetic and activating force growing out of needs. Habit formation depends upon reinforcement.
Reinforcement depends upon drive reduction. Later on Hall recognized that the S and R are not constant always. It varies from moment to moment depending upon the intensity of the stimulus and incentive.
Thus he revised his theory, known as ‘hypothetical deductive theory’ or a Mathematical deductive theory. But he revised the theory again and again it led to much confusion.
Skinner did a series of experiments on rats, pigeons and human children to understand the intervening variable of Hall and Talman. He favoured a particular variety of conditioning known as operant conditioning.
In Skinner’s theory there is no paring of C.S. or the U.C.S. That is to say reinforcement is provided after the response is made. He believed that the organism has a tendency to act in a particular manner in a problematic situation, when the action is followed by reinforcement it strengthened.
Then in Pavlovian classical conditioning reinforcement elicits response. When in Skinner’s operant conditioning reinforcement strengthens response. Skinner recognized the importance of (I) Scheduled reinforcement and Time reinforcement (immediate & delayed). According to Skinner there are two types of reinforcement.
They are (1) Positive, (2) Negative. To conduct his experiments Skinner devised a box which is known as Skinner box. He also developed a new technique known as programmed learning that has got wide recognition among psychologists.
According to Watson personality is the sum total of an individual’s reactions or tendency to react. So personality is not something mysterious. It can be objectively studied. Personality is dynamic and not static.