Armiger Police Training Institute
Col. Dave Grossman
Arkansas State University
University of Durham, U.K.
the subset of psychology that focuses on studying and modifying
observable behavior by means of systematic manipulation
of environmental factors. This article examines the history
and origins of behavioral psychology, the role of behavioral
psychology in creating a revolution in military training
and combat effectiveness during the second half of the 20th
century, and the contributions of behavioral psychology
in helping to understand one of the key causal factors in
modern violent crime.
A Behavioral Revolution in Combat..........Behavioral
psychology, with its subsets of behavior modification
and operant conditioning, is a field that's ripe for use
and abuse in the realms of violence, peace, and conflict.
Birth of Behavioral Psychology..........The "Law of
Effect," which essentially states that responses that
are accompanied or followed by satisfaction (i.e., a reward,
or what was later to be termed a reinforcement) will be
more likely to reoccur, and those which are accompanied
by discomfort (i.e., a punishment) will be less likely
Problem: A Resistance to Killing..........In behavioral
terms, to prepare (train or condition) a soldier to kill,
the stimulus (which did not appear in their training)
should have been an enemy soldier in their sights
Behavioral Solution: Conditioning to Kill..........It
is crucial that the discriminative stimulus used in training
be as realistic as possible in its simulation of the actual,
anticipated stimulus if the training is to be transferred
to reality in a crucial, life-and-death situation.
Kids to Kill..........Through violent programming
on television and in movies, and through interactive point-and-shoot
video games, the developed nations are indiscriminately
introducing to their children the same weapons technology
that major armies and law enforcement agencies around
the world use to "turn off" the midbrain "safety catch".
The Future of Violence, Society, and Behaviorism..........In
a world of violent crime, in a world in which children
around the globe are being casually conditioned to kill...
of Violence, Peace and Conflict, Academic Press, 1999.
© 1999 by Academic Press. All rights of reproduction
in any form reserved.