Skinner and His Influence on Psychology
Skinner and his Influence on Psychology
William James, Sigmund Freud, Carl Rogers, Wilhelm Wundt, John Watson, and Burrhus Frederic Skinner are a few of the many influential contributors to the history of psychology. This paper will focus on Burrhus Frederic Skinner; also known as B.F. Skinner, his work on the theory of behaviorism and how his approach to psychology is main stream in psychology today.
B.F. Skinner was an American writer, inventor, behaviorist and most importantly a psychologist. Skinner attended Hamilton College where he pursued a degree in literature, after attending Hamilton College Skinner received his PhD in psychology at Harvard University. Skinners work was inspired by John Watson who believed “Psychology should be based on experimental observation. This theory was called behaviorism. Behaviorism seeks to explain human and animal behavior in measureable and observable responses to environmental stimulus” (Moore, 2011).
Skinner acknowledged that animals act on their surroundings in order to locate food and protection. Skinner was especially fascinated with this observation and wanted to take this theory one step further by developing principles that would clarify how and why animals learned to act in given situations. His main experiment in regards to behaviorism was the use of the conditioning chamber, also known as the Skinner box. This box was designed to observe hungry eager rats. The box was equipped with a lever attached to a food dish. In this experiment Skinner was hoping to comprehend how the rat would respond when the lever was pressed and food was given. Skinner then observed when the rat was placed in the box it would explore about and usually end up accidentally pressing the lever, causing the rat to receive a food pellet in the dish. After that occurred, the rate of the lever being pressed increased considerably....