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[bih-heyv-yuh-riz-uh m] /bɪˈheɪv yəˌrɪz əm/
noun, Psychology
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, in contrast with subjective mental states.
Origin of behaviorism
1910-15; behavior + -ism
Related forms
behaviorist, noun, adjective
behavioristic, adjective
behavioristically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for behaviorism
  • If these techie types would give up their silly behaviorism and behaviorists views some progress might happen.
  • The economics you are talking about is something akin to pop psychology and behaviorism.
  • The bridge today has no significance beyond an economical approach to shorter hours, quicker lunches, behaviorism and toothpicks.
  • The third section explores humanistic psychology as a variation on behaviorism.
British Dictionary definitions for behaviorism


a school of psychology that regards the objective observation of the behaviour of organisms (usually by means of automatic recording devices) as the only proper subject for study and that often refuses to postulate any intervening mechanisms between the stimulus and the response
the doctrine that the mind has no separate existence but that statements about the mind and mental states can be analysed into statements about actual and potential behaviour Compare materialism (sense 2) See also mind-body problem
Derived Forms
behaviourist, (US) behaviorist, adjective, noun
behaviouristic, (US) behavioristic, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for behaviorism

coined 1913 by U.S. psychologist John B. Watson (1878-1958) from behavior + -ism. Behaviorist is from the same time.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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behaviorism in Medicine

behaviorism be·hav·ior·ism (bĭ-hāv'yə-rĭz'əm)
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. Also called behavioral psychology.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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behaviorism in Culture

behaviorism definition

A theory that psychology is essentially a study of external human behavior rather than internal consciousness and desires. (See B. F. Skinner)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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