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The Behavioral approach main focus is how people react to certain situations and the environments they are placed in. Both of these two factors help determine the persons behavior in a unique way. Many behavioral traits are obtained at a young age and they reflect on how we were raised. If a child does well and their parents reward them for their behavior, then it leaves an impression that the behavior they are displaying is acceptable. If a child does something most people in society would deem as unacceptable, then the child gets scolded and punished, letting the child know that their behavior is wrong, and they aren’t allowed to behave that way. When these children grow up they have those everlasting impressions of right and wrong left behind from their childhood helping to mold them into the person they are today. Many studies of behavioral analysis help psychologists learn about learned behavior traits people receive growing up based on the environment around them. With this knowledge we can hope to gain more of an understanding of how the human brain works and how positively or negatively it can be affected by who and what they’re around.

            During the early 20th century a psychologist John. B. Watson, “The Father of behaviorism” started the idea of the behavioral approach. He was born in South Carolina in 1878, and attended University of South Carolina, where he graduated with a master’s degree. Then went on to University of Chicago where he started to develop the behaviorist theories. Watson became a professor at John Hopkins University where he met his wife, which happened to be a former student. After being asked to leave the University, Watson published one of the most famous research studies, “The Little Albert Study”. This study showed that fear is learned, not given at birth. All in all, Watson believed that nurture determines our behavior not nature. ( B.F. Skinner also established a theory of behaviorism. Skinner was born in Pennsylvania in 1904, and went to Hamilton College where he acquired a love for writing. Once he graduated he decided to attend Harvard University to study psychology. This is where he published “the Behavior of Organisms”. Skinner believe that we learn to behave based on positive reinforcement, and his studies have shown that acceptable behaviors with positive outcomes are more likely to be repeated. (

            One study that John. B. Watson had done was “The Little Albert Study” were he used a child as the subject to experiment classical conditioning, which is a type of behaviorism where learning a process that occurs when stimuli is repeated. Little Albert was shown a white rat, a rabbit, a money and several masks. At first Little Albert was not scared of any stimuli that was put in front of him, but once Watson added sound affects (a hammer stuck against a steel bar) then the child became startled and would burst into tears. Watson did this experiment for several weeks. At the end Little Albert burst into tear with just the sight of the rat, and showed fear even without the loud bursting nose of the hammer hitting against the steel bar. This experiment showed to Watson that fear must be learned.

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            People with a behavioral perspective could go either way when it comes to using drugs. The determining factors for this would be their environment and whether or not the get rewarded or scolded for the act. The environment for a behaviorist is huge, because if they are around people using drugs constantly and they see the negative impact it has on them and the people around them, one might choose to stay away from drugs. On the other hand, if they see nothing bad happening to these people, or if they see it as “common”, then one with a behavioral perspective might choose to use drugs with those around them. Peer pressure could also be a weakness for a behaviorist. With family or friends pushing for them to do drugs and rewarding them with either a social status or acceptance, then this could be dangerous. All in all, people with this approach can either be swayed positively or negatively by those around them.

The Humanistic approach believes that human all have the potential to be the “prefect human” being in their own unique way. This approach believes that people have the freedom to choose their own destiny, and that their lives are not limited by their environment but rather by their own choices. Humanism stresses human capacity for self-awareness. The humanistic perspective tends to believe people have the freedom to make their own decisions and are accountable for the choices they make. One of the focuses for this approach is that although multiple things influence human behavior whether it be from being rewarded or having some sort of punishment, people with these motivations will still choose what they want regardless of their environment. This approach is very individualized and personalized with freewill being a main focus for those in this group.

            Abraham Maslow is known for his hierarchy of needs. He was born in Brooklynn, New York and attended the City College of New York and also spent one semester at Cornell. He later transferred to the University of Wisconsin where began is background in psychology and graduated with a bachelor degree. In 1928 he married Bertha Goodman and have a few children. Maslow believed that people are born with the need to reach self-actualization, meaning that a person has reached their highest potential. A person must go through stages of hierarchy, completing one level before moving to the next, to reach this self-actualization. ( Another humanistic psychologist is Carol Roger. He was born in Chicago, and attended the University of Wisconsin and planned to study agriculture but decided to lean towards religion. 1924 he received is bachelor degree and transferred to the Columbia University where he received his master and PhD in clinical psychology three years later. Roger believed the personal growth was also a factor in Maslow’s humanism approach. (

            Research that supports the Humanistic approach would the relationship between a therapist and their patient. Rogers theory has become very successful in the world of counseling. With Maslow’s theory there was a study done where there was subject who was placed into a stressful environment that threatened their physical well-being. The subjects were measured on the creativity of their answers to a test. The prediction was that their answer would be compromised, but the results showed that the participants became more creative when their survival needs were challenged. By putting the subjects under immense stress and danger, they ended up “evolving” and coming up with a more strategic way of answering the questions. This supports Maslow’s theory by proving that in order to reach a higher potential they must go through stages of “hierarchy” aka the stressful environment in order to keep improving and trying to reach the ultimate self-actualization.

            Any individual with a humanistic point of view would highly reconsider the use of drugs for a few simple reasons. One would be because they are logical thinkers and consider the well being of themselves and those around them with evidence and long-lasting effects when making choices. They would outweigh the good and bad of every possibility and make a final decision from there. A humanist would look at research done with drug use and how it can negatively affect their body long term. Another fact they would consider would be the risk of getting arrested and ruining the reputation they have built in order to make themselves better. Humanists would also consider the possibility of addiction and how it can be an uphill battle ultimately destroying themselves in the process. The humanistic perspective is one that is self-influenced with little to no influence from the outside world. With that being said we can assume we can rule out peer pressure and say that its extremely unlikely that a humanist will use drugs.


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