Editing 19 pages with specific focus on grammar and APA style?


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Editing 19 pages with specific focus on grammar and APA style

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School: Rice University

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Differences and Similarities Between Role Theory and Behavior Theory
The Catholic University of America
SSS932: Contemporary Theories


Saad Alyahya




This paper seeks to discuss the differences and similarities between role theory and
behavioral theory. It will consist of four main parts. First, the paper will provide an overview of
both role theory and behavior theory. Second, the paper will discuss the theories’ philosophical
knowledge base using Guba’s paradigms of inquiry. Third, discussing the theories’ aspects
including concepts, normal and planned changes, nature of and the empirical evidence. Finally,
the paper is going to discuss the strengths and limitation of both theories in some areas.
Choosing role theory and behavior theory was for several reasons. Role theory focuses on
the human behavior, and role theorist goal is to understand and describe the complexity of
human behavior (Biddle & Thomas, 1966).Every role consists of special human rights, certain
duties, people’s expectations, behaviors, and norms, which an individual is forced to face and has
to fulfill in his or her life. Role theory can give a useful way to understand the nature of problems
and challenges in my area of interest which is informal caregiving. Being informal caregiver can
lead to several problems and challenges that related to their roles or behavior. Role conflict, role
ambiguity, and role overload are common problems that can face the informal caregivers for
their patients that can affect their new role as an informal caregiver. Thus, role theory can help to
identify the role’s difficulties or challenges which can contribute to solve their new role’s
Behavior theory, on the other hand, is the second theory that will be discussed in this
paper. In behavior theory “the theoretical goal is the prediction and control of behavior"
(Watson, 1994).As mentioned earlier about my area of interest, informal caregivers face some
problems and challenges that related to the way that they behave while taking care their patients.
Since behavior theory predicts and controls human behavior, it will be useful to solve informal



caregivers’ problems that related to their behavior in the informal caregiving role. Using both
behavior theory and role theory can provide a helpful way to identify the problematic role
behaviors and change them positively.

Historical and Contemporary Scholars:
There are many scholars who contributed to role theory in the early twentieth century, yet
we will focus on most influential theorist. Mead, Moreno, and Linton are considered significant
role theory scholars (Biddle & Thomas, 1966). Mead was a sociologist who introduced the
concept role taking as a significant process to socialization and development individual’s self
(Biddle, 1979). In Mead’s book, Mind, self, and society which published after his death based on
unpublished writings and his student’s class notes are considered the most significant work of
Mead. Moreno had considerable efforts to understand behaviors, and his publication “who shall
survive” included the both term's role and role playing (Biddle & Thomas, 1966). Roleplaying
was introduced by Moreno as an intervention technique to help clients understanding new
prospective and learn new behaviors (Turner, 1996).Role playing as described by Moreno can be
used as a method to fulfill roles more adequately (Biddle & Thomas, 1966). Linton was
American anthropologist who had influential work to role theory (Biddle & Thomas, 1966).
Linton differentiated between static and dynamic aspects of role behavior (Turner, 1996).
“Linton proposed a classic distinction between status (position) and role" (Biddle & Thomas,
When writing about behavior theory, there are several theorists who had significant
contributions to the theory. Pavlov, Thorndike, Hull, Watson and Skinner are influential scholars



in behavior theory (Turner, 1996), so we will discuss some of them works.The Russian
phycologist, Pavlov, and his student had done experimental works on a dog (Watson, 2013). In
Pavlov experiment, he studied the salivation reflex of dog for food (Turner, 1996). Watson had a
significant contribution to behavior theory in classical conditioning. Classic conditioning
transpires when a typical reflex respond to a stimulus (Watson, 1994). Skinner came first with
operant conditioning (Turner, 1996). The term emphasizes the fact that the behavior operates
upon the environment to generate consequences (Skinner, 2005). In operant behavior, positive or
negative reinforcement can increase individual’s behavior (Turner, 1996). In conclusion, the
scholars of role theory and behavior theory are different. Both theories’ scholars focus was on
studying the behavior, but they use different perspective.
Origins and Social Context:
Role theory differs from some other theories. It did not come from one person’s work, yet
it was (Biddle, 1979). Mead, Moreno, and Linton are considered influential role theory scholars
who had significant contributions to role theory (Biddle & Thomas, 1966). The concept of role is
significant to symbolic interaction (Robbins, Chatterjee & Canda, 2012), and Mead's
contributions to role theory can be a good support for this idea. When Mead first used the
concept of role taking in the 1930s, it used to understand a person’s self-concept by that person
knowing who he or she is by “identifying with significant others, internalizing their attitude as
his or her own” (Turner, 1996). Also, at the same period in1930s Moreno, Moreno used two
concepts that are role and role playing (Turner, 1996). Moreno used role playing as a method to
help individuals to learn new behaviors to improve their role performance (Biddle & Thomas,
1966).In 1936, Linton distinguished between the position and role and distinguished between
static and dynamic aspects of role behavior (Turner, 1996). All these theorists’ contributions



were considered the beginning of role theory.
In the beginning of the nineteenth century, Pavlov, Thorndike, Hull, Watson and Skinner works
were considered the beginning of behavioral theory (Turner, 1996).Behavior theory used first
time with Pavlov’s classical conditioning (Krapfl, 2016). Pavlov in 1927 had experimented with
a dog and discovered the relationship between unconditioned stimulus and unconditioned
response (Turner, 1996). Before Pavlov's experiment, Thorndike developed the first principles of
operant conditioning using puzzle box experiment in 1911 (Walsh, 2014). Watson’s work in
1924 was c...

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