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B.F. Skinner

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Danielle Toner

on 3 October 2012

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Transcript of B.F. Skinner

B.F. Skinner B.F. Skinner Married to Lived in Studied at Worked at B.F. Skinner B. F. Skinner EARLY LIFE:
-Burrhus Fredric Skinner Born: March 20th 1904 Susquehanna, Pennsylvania
-Died of Leukemia August 18th 1990
-Father was a rising lawyer, mother a housewife; family was old-fashioned and hard working
-Grew up with one younger brother in a homely environment, he described as “warm and stable”
-However, his brother, two years younger than Skinner, died at age 16 of cerebral haemorrhage
-Spent much of childhood as a creative child interested in building things; cart with backwards steering,
perpetual motion machine, cabin in the woods, flotation system to separate ripe berries, various other small contraptions YOUTH AND EDUCATION:
-Dedicated his book Technology of Teaching (1968) to high school English teacher, Ms. Graves- Bachelors of Arts in English Literature (1926) from Hamilton College in New York in hopes of becoming a writer
-Skinner became an atheist when a liberal Christian teacher tried to relieve him of his fear of hell
-Wrote for the school paper, but saw himself as an “outsider” being an atheist in a religious school;often criticized the school and its beliefs
of his life REMEMBERED FOR:
-One of the most influential American psychologists
-He is remembered as controversial figure who was sometimes described as hateful and evil, but also
warm and enthusiastic
-However, his personality seems to be very similar to those of other creative scientists – conscientious
yet somewhat neurotic
-Radial behaviourist, developed theory of Operant Conditioning – the idea that behaviour is determined
by it’s consequences
-His findings and principles are still incorporated in cases of phobias, addictive behaviours, and
classroom learning enhancements
-Skinner Box – a small soundproof chamber in which the subject was safe and isolated from all outside
influences or distractions, responding only to the controlled conditions within the chamber; put his
daughter Deborah into it
-Author of 6 books; The Behaviour of Organisms (1938 – nonfiction), Walden Two (1948 – fiction), The
Technology of Teaching (1968 – nonfiction), Science and Human Behaviour (1953 – nonfiction), Verbal
Behaviour (1957 – nonfiction), Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971 – nonfiction) Harvard University Yvonne Blue -After graduation, lived at home with his parents in Scranton attempting to become a writer of fiction.
-Moved to Greenwich New York to pursue career as writer; continued working for a newspaper; Skinner eventually realized that he did not have enough world experience, nor did he own a strong perspective to become a writer
-Continued working in a Greenwich bookstore, where he discovered books for Ivan Pavlov and John B.
-Watson, these early behaviourist pioneers influenced him greatly
-It was the works of John B. Watson and Ivan Pavlov that encouraged him to pursue a PhD in Psychology (1931) from Harvard University, where he remained as a researcher until 1936 He married the same year; wife: Yvonne ----Blue with whom he has 2 daughters, Julie and Deborah
-Skinner went on to teach at the University of Minnesota and Minneapolis, as well as Indiana University, where he was chair of Psychology Department (1946-47)
-In 1948, Skinner returned to Harvard University as a tenured professor and remained there for the rest
of his life - social change refers to any significant alteration over time in behavioural patterns- some social change can yield social consequences or vice-versa
- Skinner’s theory is most commonly used to enforce “correct” behaviour
- long term affects from operant conditioning could be changes in what an individual perceives as acceptable or non-acceptable behaviour
- B.F. Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning is now used very commonly without realization
- Prospect of rewards for good behaviour, discipline for bad behaviour is used commonly
- Mainly used to enforce socially acceptable behaviour- Ex. Punishment for bullying, praise for sharing Skinner's Theory in Relation to Social Change -theory based on the fundamental idea that behaviours that are supported with positive reinforcement will tend to continue and vice-versa with behaviours that are punished
- changing around what it does by introducing a stimulus called reinforcing stimulus
- behaviour or act that is performed by one is followed by a consequence/reward, and nature of of it modifies tendency to repeat the behaviour further on in the future
- Skinner’s theory believed that studying observable behaviour was more productive that internal mental events
- Portrayed in many individuals of today’s society; won’t act a certain way if they will be punished for it
- Changing behaviour by use of reinforcement for desired response Harvard University Cambridge, Massachusetts • A pigeon is brought to a stable state of hunger by reducing it to 75 percent of its weight when well fed.
• It is then put into an experimental cage for a few minutes each day.

• A food hopper attached to the cage may be swung into place so that the pigeon can eat from it.

• A clock is now arranged to present the food hopper at regular intervals with no reference whatsoever to the bird's behavior, operant conditioning usually takes place.

• In six out of eight cases the resulting responses were so clearly defined that two observers could agree perfectly in counting instances.

• One bird was conditioned to turn counter-clockwise about the cage, making two or three turns between reinforcements.

• Skinner's pigeons did a very interesting thing. Whatever behavior they were doing just before the food came rolling down, they did more of. When it came down the next time, whatever they were doing before that, they did some more of. ------- B. F. Skinner! YOLO B.F. Skinner B.F. Skinner - The theory basically makes a connection with behaviour that is reinforced or discouraged with positive and negative reinforcements
- Skinner studied operant conditioning by conducting experiments with animals whom he placed in a “Skinner box”
- Positive reinforcements are favorable events or outcomes that are earned by an individual after a desired behaviour
- Negative reinforcements are characterized by outcomes that may be payment or “punishment” after a certain behaviour
Examples:- Being promoted for good work in the office- Parents rewarding a child’s good grades in school with a gift or treat- Students in public school being rewarded with gold stars for great classroom behaviour- A teenager is grounded for passing their curfew by a few hours Real Life Example McLeod, Saul. "B.F. Skinner | Operant Conditioning." Simply Psychology - Psychology Articles for Students. N.p., 4 May 2008. Web. 1 Oct. 2012. <http://www.simplypsychology.org/operant-conditioning.html>.
"Classics in the History of Psychology -- Skinner (1948)." Classics in the History of Psychology. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Oct. 2012. <http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Skinner/Pigeon/>.
Wyble, Steven. "B.F. Skinner and Operant Conditioning - Yahoo! Voices - voices.yahoo.com." Yahoo! Voices - voices.yahoo.com. N.p., 4 May 2008. Web. 1 Oct. 2012. <http://voices.yahoo.com/bf-skinner-operant-conditioning-1436801.html>. Boeree, George. "B. F. Skinner." B. F. Skinner. Webspace, 1998. Web. 02 Oct. 2012. <http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/skinner.html>."Operant Conditioning (Skinner)." Learning Theories. Learning Theories, Oct. 2012. Web. 02 Oct. 2012. <http://www.learning-theories.com/operant-conditioning-skinner.html>.Wiley. "Sociology: Social Change Defined." Sociology: Social Change Defined. John Wiley and Sons, 2012. Web. 02 Oct. 2012. <http://www.cliffsnotes.com/study_guide/Social-Change-Defined.topicArticleId-26957,articleId-26951.html>.
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