Thus, in the analysis of behavior, it is necessary to emphasize the relationship between the first and third links--actions on an organism from without, and the organism's response behaviors (p. 36).
In acting on an organism from without, Skinner (p. 73) theorized that the reinforcement actions could be either positive or negative. Thus, depending upon the situation and upon the desired behavior, an appropriate stimulus might be either the introduction of a factor into an organism's environment--a positive reinforcement, or the withdrawal of a factor from an organism's environment--a negative reinforcement. Skinner (p. 143) also theorized that the tools of positive and negative reinforcement--satiation and deprivation--may increase the strength of may types of behaviors simultaneously.
The cognitive concept of human development was pioneered by Jean Piaget (Hill & Humphrey, 1992, pp. 4-6). Piaget's theory is based on organization and adaptation (Turner and Helms, p. 26). Organization refers to an ability to order and classify new experiences, while adaptation enables an individual to understand the surrounding environment. Adaptation occurs through the functioning of the mental processes of assimilation and accommodation (pp. 26-27). Assimilation involves the perception and interpretation of new information within the context of existing knowledge and understanding. Accommodation is a more advanced process that involves the restructuring of mental organization in order to include new information.
Assimilation and accommodation, along with equilibration and functional assimilation, are stage-independent conceptions in Piaget's cognitive theory of human development (Lerner, 1991, pp. 246-250). Equilibration refers to the balance between the action of an organism on its environment and the action of the environment on the organism. Functional assimilation is the concept that explains why human development continues after e...
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