Behaviorist vs. Nativist

Length: 3 Pages 871 Words

Behaviorist vs. Nativist Because the acquisition of language is extremely complex, many theorists have studied and researched it meticulously. Through countless hours of observation and tests, there have been five theories created. Amongst those five are two that are very compound; the behaviorist theory and the nativist theory. There were two theorists, Skinner and Watson, who studied the development of language in young children, which became known as the behaviorist theory. Thus, they and others who believe solely in this theory are known as behaviorists. Behaviorists believe that organisms come into the world as “blank slates.” That means that when babies of all species are born into the world they do not have any knowledge whatsoever; they do not know anything and they can’t do anything. Also, behaviorists believe that their theory’s basic principles apply to all species. One very important principle of the behaviorist theory is that the role of the environment is of utmost importance in proving their theory. They believe that the process of learning has only occurred if there has been a change in behavior. Also, behaviorists basically study the relationship between stimuli and responses, and actual menta Continue...


This device is biologically based with an innate module for picking up language. It is also a language reservoir that contains information about the rules of language structure. As a consequence of many other tests such as this one, children are seen as bringing nothing to the development of language. The first fact is that children master complex linguistic rules and procedures in a very short time. The behaviorist theory and the nativist theory are similar in some ways, and very different in many other ways. Both theories have evidence and explicit examples to support their beliefs. The two theories are completely opposites in that behaviorists believe that all spieces are born as "blank slates. For this reason, the behaviorist theory is very much on the nurture side, and the nativist theory is all the way over on the nature side. Therefore, they believe that learning can occur from punishment and reinforcement. Of course, parents tend to act very jovial when this occurs and praises the baby. Also, the theory emphasizes only the function of language, and not its intentions or meaning. For instance, this particular theory does not allow for any creativity by the child. Therefore, they also consider the most important aspect of language development to be the role of the environment. Chomsky studied and researched language development, and afterwards developed the nativist theory. In other words, even when environments are very different, children still acquire language the same way.