Skinner Article

Topics: Reinforcement, Experimental analysis of behavior, B. F. Skinner Pages: 2 (331 words) Published: September 28, 2008
Checkpoint: Skinner Article

By Shelley McCann

B. F. Skinner emphasized the importance of making psychology a science, using controlled experiments to objectively measure behavior influencing cognitive psychology. Skinner believed that each person is born a blank slate. He contributed the theory of operant conditioning. For example reinforcement strengthens behavior and punishment weakens behavior. Skinner developed this theory by conducting experiments on rats and pigeons in a “Skinner Box”. The theory of operant conditioning showed how the environment affects a person’s behavior. For example, a primary school teacher would use positive reinforcement to strengthen good behavior by using stars as rewards for good work. However, the biological approach criticizes Skinner as he doesn’t recognize how hormones and chromosomes affect behavior. For example, testosterone makes a person more aggressive. One of Skinner's experiments examined the formation of superstition in the pigeon. Skinner placed a series of hungry pigeons in a cage attached to an automatic mechanism that delivered food to the pigeons at regular intervals with no reference whatsoever to the bird's behavior. He discovered that the pigeons associated the delivery of the food with whatever chance actions they had been performing as it was delivered, and that they continued to perform these same actions. The experiment might be said to demonstrate a sort of superstition. The bird behaves as if there were a causal relation between its behavior and the presentation of food, although such a relation is lacking. (Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, 2008)

A big problem is that Skinner ignored the importance of internal meditational processes, like thinking, and how this affected a person’s behavior. Skinners theory of operant conditioning showed that there are comparisons between animal and human behavior. (Simply Psychology)

Works Cited
Simply Psychology. (n.d.)....
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