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Skinner Article

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* A Tribute to B.F. Skinner
* By Daniel Meier
* The Malkonian
* (Wikipedia, 2008)

* On March 20, 1904, in Susquehanna Pennsylvania, Burrhus Frederic Skinner was born (Boeree, 2006). B.F. Skinner was an American psychologist who made several contributions to the study of psychology, and who followed in the footsteps of Edward Lee Thorndike’s research on the operant conditioning behavior. Operant conditioning is a study that B.F. Skinner used to understand why an individual does what they do. Operant conditioning uses both positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, and punishment to alter an individual’s behavior by learning or strengthening an individual’s current behavior. These methods are used by psychologists to produce different responses when reinforcers like punishment and positive and negative reinforcements are used (Morris & Maisto, 2005). * Burrhus Frederic’s research encouraged him to create the Skinner Box that was named after him. B.F. Skinner’s box was used for rat test subjects, and consisted of solid walls with a cup underneath. Skinner’s goal was to reinforce successive approximations for a response. One study had Skinner placing a pigeon in a cage using food to test the pigeon’s behavior. Skinner concluded that the bird repeated everything it would do before it was given food each time. This was one example of Skinner’s experiments that was labeled superstitious (Morris & Maisto, 2005). * Burrhus Frederic’s experiments with pigeons and rats were studies filled with superstition because Skinner believed that when punishment and positive and negative reinforcement are used an individual is still inclined to repeat his or her actions (Morris & Maisto, 2005). *

* Daniel Meier


Boeree, C.G. (2006). B.f. skinner. Retrieved from

Morris, C. G., & Maisto,...

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