[ bih-heyv-yuh-riz-uh m ]
/ bɪˈheɪv yəˌrɪz əm /

noun Psychology.

the theory or doctrine that human or animal psychology can be accurately studied only through the examination and analysis of objectively observable and quantifiable behavioral events, in contrast with subjective mental states.

Origin of behaviorism

First recorded in 1910–15; behavior + -ism
Related formsbe·hav·ior·ist, noun, adjectivebe·hav·ior·is·tic, adjectivebe·hav·ior·is·ti·cal·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Word Origin and History for behaviorism



coined 1913 by U.S. psychologist John B. Watson (1878-1958) from behavior + -ism. Behaviorist is from the same time.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for behaviorism


[ bĭ-hāvyə-rĭz′əm ]


A school of psychology that confines itself to the study of observable and quantifiable aspects of behavior and excludes subjective phenomena, such as emotions or motives.behavioral psychology
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Culture definitions for behaviorism


A theory that psychology is essentially a study of external human behavior rather than internal consciousness and desires. (See B. F. Skinner)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.