What does the term Black VOX mean


In behaviorism, the reaction of people to various environmental influences is examined. Here we explain how you can clarify the connection between the stimulus response and the black box model.

Do you want to understand even faster what behaviorism is? Check out our video on the subject!

Behaviorism explained simply

Behaviorism was founded by John B. Watson. In the model you look at the behavior of people and animals. You examine and explain Reactions on various environmental influences that Stimuli. In doing so, you leave out all mental and spiritual processes - such as emotions, motivation or wishes. You summarize them in a black box. So you only look at what you think of watch outside can.

For example, a dog has no water available for a few hours (water deprivation). That is the environmental influence or the stimulus. If you give him water now, he'll start drinking right away. This is the dog's behavior or reaction. Logically, the dog drinks because he is thirsty. The “thirst” is of no interest to the behaviorists because you cannot see it from the outside.

The definition of behaviorism is as follows:

The behaviorism (engl. Behaviorism; from engl. behavior = behavior) researches and explains the behavior of humans and animals using only scientific methods. A behaviorist restricts himself to behavior that can be objectively observed from outside as a reaction to stimuli. Introspection is refused.

Stimulus Response Model and Black Box

In behaviorism, you limit your research to that observable behavior. You can describe this with objective methods (example: humans / animals turn towards an emerging light source). You are not interested in the reason for this - i.e. the physiological processes in humans or in animals (example: turning away out of fear or curiosity). So you focus on all processes that take place between an organism (animal or human) and its environment.

Stimulus response model

The behaviorists use this for this Stimulus response model (engl. Stimulus Response Model, also SR model). A person or an animal picks up a stimulus from the environment and reacts to it. Stimuli are all changes in the external environment that are absorbed by the sense organs (seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, feeling / touching). For example, you can see that a light comes on. Under one reaction understand any activity that follows the stimulus. For example turning towards the light that has just come on.

Black box

You ignore everything that happens between the stimulus and the reaction - that is, in the organism or in the brain. In behaviorism, the brain is viewed as a black box. The Black box model describes that a certain input (stimulus) enters the black box (human). Something is happening there with the stimulus, but you are not interested in it here. Then a certain output (reaction) comes out again. Whether you turn to the light now because you were frightened, because you are interested in why the light came on, or because you are expecting someone to come, behaviorism researchers do not care.

Reject introspection

In behaviorism, introspection is rejected. Under introspection (also self-observation) you understand the observation of all processes that take place within your body. So you analyze your own experience and behavior. So you look at your thoughts and feelings, your emotions, your motivation, your intentions (goals, intentions). All of these mental processes explain the reason for a certain behavior. In behaviorism, however, they are left out and are located within the black box.

Behaviorism example

In behaviorism, you are always looking at a stimulus and a response to it. Here we have prepared some examples for you.


Behaviorism: Black Box

Introspection: reason for my reaction

➔ reaction
It starts to snow / I can feel the snow on my skin

Behaviorism: Black Box

Introspection: I'm cold

I'm putting on a jacket
I hear the Martin horn of an ambulance

Behaviorism: Black Box

Introspection: I have to make way for the ambulance

I move to the side
I come home and it smells like pizza

Behaviorism: Black Box

Introspection: I'm happy because there is pizza

The water in my mouth runs down

Behavioral learning theories

Behaviorism assumes that all behaviors and reactions to stimuli are learned from the environment. You can also influence how often a certain behavior occurs.

If you reward behavior, humans or animals will behave more often. If you punish it, it will be shown less often. From the two assumptions, the two behavioristic learning theories have the classic conditioning and the operant conditioning developed.

Classic conditioning

Classical conditioning is about the fact that a living being shows a certain behavior in response to a certain stimulus. So you learn one here for an animal or a human reaction to a signal. It was founded by Ivan Pavlov.

If you want to learn more about behaviorist learning theory, check out ours Video for classic conditioning!

Operant conditioning

Operant conditioning was developed by Burrhus Skinner. Here you reward or punish one desirable or undesirable behavior.

Your goal is for humans or animals to learn the desired behavior pleasantConsequences (Example: food / feed, praise, recognition, money) and thus shows the behavior more often. At the same time it should learn that undesirable behavior unpleasant consequences (Example: pain, house arrest, verbal abuse). This is how it behaves less often.

We also have one for operant conditioning Video prepared for you. Please check it out!


Important representatives of behaviorism are John B. Watson and Burrhus Frederic Skinner. But Iwan Pawlow, Edward Lee Thorndike and John Locke also made their contribution.

John B. Watson:

Watson is considered to be the founder of behaviorism (early 20th century). Its aim was to be considered as psychology objective Establish natural science - such as biology or physics. To this end, he has concentrated on reliably describable and measurable behavior. He ignored the mental processes because they are subjective sensations and are therefore difficult or difficult to measure precisely.

Burrhus Frederic Skinner:

Skinner radicalized behaviorism (Radical Behaviorism). He was convinced that there is no such thing as free will and no free decision, but that every behavior / reaction can be traced back to a certain stimulus in the environment.

That is a very mechanical image of man. As with a machine, people are given a certain input (stimulus), which is then followed by a certain output (reaction). Skinner has also conducted significant behavioral experiments. This is how he developed operant conditioning.

Ivan P. Pavlov:

Pavlov also made a significant contribution to behaviorism with his experiments. He also developed the classic conditioning.

Edward Lee Thorndike:

Thorndike's research (instrumental conditioning) is considered a pioneer for Skinner's experiments. He thus laid the foundation for behaviorism. That is why he is often considered to be the co-founder of behaviorism.

John Locke:

According to Locke, humans are born as a "tabula rasa" (= blank sheet). So there are no innate behaviors. Every behavior is learned through a reaction to an environmental stimulus.

Behaviorism criticism

Behaviorism has been widely criticized by cognitive psychologists. TheCognitivism is an important trend in psychology alongside behaviorism. In contrast to behaviorism, the focus here is on the thinking and processing processes in the brain of the individual. Cognitive scientist Noam Chomsky made a particularly large number of critical statements against behaviorism and especially against Skinner.

After all, the criticism has that cognitive turn initiated in psychology. Due to the cognitive turn, classical behaviorism lost its importance and psychology developed in the direction of cognitive approaches (cognitivism).

At the same time, however, the Neo-Behavorism shaped. The neo-behaviorists recognize the non-observable processing processes in the human brain. So you no longer see the brain as a black box.

Are you now more interested in what cognitivism is all about? Check out our video on the subject now! There we explained to you how people learn best according to cognitivism! Have fun!