Burrhus Frederic Skinner was born March 20th, 1904 in small town named Susquehanna located in central Pennsylvania. Son of a lawyer and educated housewife, Skinner was always encouraged to do well in school. He rather enjoyed his studies and eventually attended Hamilton College in upstate New York. Burrhus Skinner chose not to attend school football games or parties. He found solace in writing for the school paper and faculty until he graduated with a BA English. Skinner used his degree to seek out employment for a newspaper in which he wrote columns on labor issues. Unsatisfied with his occupation, Skinner decided to go back to college in 1925, this time the school would be Harvard. After 5 years of studies, Burrhus achieved his masters in psychology; a year later he received his doctorate. Skinner stayed for 5 more years after receiving his doctorate to do research until he moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota where he taught Psychology. In 1945 B. F. Skinner assumed position of Chairman of Psychology at Indiana University until 1948 when we was invited to Harvard where he remained until his death. August 18, 1990, B. F. Skinner died of leukemia after becoming perhaps the most celebrated psychologist since Sigmund Freud.
Thought Skinner may have been a great teacher of Psychology, he will always be best remembered for his work with operant conditioning and radical behaviorism. Nearly all of Skinners studies were based on operant conditioning. Operant Conditioning was the theory that all actions occur based on the external reaction or stimulus. That reaction either reinforces or punishes the behavior which in turn results in an increase or decrease in the behavior. In the words of Skinner this can be explained as: "the behavior is followed by a consequence, and the nature of the consequence modifies the organism's tendency to repeat the behavior in the future." Burrhus Skinner's first experiments testing this theory came... [continues]
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