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"Behavioral Psychology"

Kenneth R. Murray
Armiger Police Training Institute
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
Arkansas State University
Robert W. Kentridge
University of Durham, U.K.
Academic Press, 2000

BEHAVIORAL PSYCHOLOGY is 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.

  • Introduction: 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.
  • The 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 to reoccur.
  • The 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
  • The 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.
  • Conditioning 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".
  • Conclusion: 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...
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Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and Conflict, Academic Press, 1999.
© 1999 by Academic Press. All rights of reproduction in any form reserved.


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