B. F. Skinner Biography

Topics: Experimental analysis of behavior, B. F. Skinner, Operant conditioning chamber Pages: 2 (820 words) Published: May 27, 2008
B. F. Skinner Biography

B. F. Skinner also known as Burrhus Frederic Skinner was born March 20, 1904 in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania to William and Grace Skinner. His father was an attorney and his mother and housewife. He was brought up in an old fashioned and hard working home. Mr. Skinner loved the outdoors and building things, and actually enjoyed school. However, he did have some tragedies one in particular was the death of his brother who died at the age of 16 from a cerebral aneurysm. Burrhus attended Hamilton College in New York. Where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1926. He was known as an outsider because he didn’t fit in well at the school. He wrote for the school paper and was often critical of the school, sororities, and faculty. Burrhus was also an atheist and he attended a school that required that you attend chapel every day. After graduating he moved home and lived in his parent’s attic so that he concentrates on writing. But after a year he became disillusioned with the whole process and realizes that he just didn’t have anything to say. Skinner later called this period “the dark year.” After reading a copy of Bertrand Russell’s book An Outline of Philosophy, in which Russell discusses the behaviorist philosophy of psychologist John B. Watson. He decided to leave literature and reenter graduate school at Harvard University. Skinner received his PhD from Harvard in 1931 and remained there as a researcher until 1936. In 1936 Skinner left Harvard University to work for the University of Minnesota where he met and married his wife Yvonne Blue. They had two daughters, Julie and Deborah. He taught at the University of Minnesota and later at Indiana University, where he was chair of the psychology department from 1946-1947 and then he returned to Harvard as a professor in 1948. He remained at Harvard until he retired. Burrhus was influenced by a number of people Bertrand Russell, Charles Darwin, Ivan...
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