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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 behaviorist
  • behaviorist studies show that what one says is often incompatible with exhibited preferences.
  • Half a century ago the behaviorist paradigm could have been similarly defended.
  • Looking at polling from this perspective would require a more behaviorist approach.
  • The best investment you can make is to find a behaviorist that can teach you what you are doing wrong.
  • The behaviorist model of teaching represents a branch of psychology which relies on a stimulus-response view of education.
  • Much criticism voiced against the behaviorist approach is based on misinformation.
  • Briefly reviews the behaviorist and humanist movements.
  • In the first part, the behaviorist perspective on learning is presented.
Word Origin and History for behaviorist



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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behaviorist 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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behaviorist 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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