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B. F. Skinner: Theories of
B. F. Skinner theory.

Skinner attempted to account for all behavior, not just personality, in factual,
descriptive terms.

He argued that psychologists must restrict their investigations to facts which can be
measurable in the laboratory.

Skinner’s contention was that psychology is the science of behavior, of what an
organism does.
B. F. Skinner life.

He was born in 1904 and died in 1990.

He was born in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania.

His father contributed to his moral education by teaching him what happens to

His interest in animal behavior also derived from childhood.

He taught his daughters’ cat to play the piano and his pet Beagle how to play hide
and seek.
B. F. Skinner early career.

Skinner majored in English at Hamilton College in upstate New York.

He wanted to become a novelist.

He built a study in the attic of his parents’ home in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and sat
down to write.

At the age of 22 years he became a failure at the only thing he wanted to do.
B. F. Skinner new identity.

After failing in novel writing skinner changed his career.

He decided to study human behavior by the methods of science rather than
methods of fiction.

He entered Harvard in 1928 to study psychology.

He stayed at Harvard until 1936.

He then taught at the University of Minnesota and Indiana University, returning to
Harvard in 1947.
Basics of behavior.

Skinner’s approach for behavior is based on thousands of hours of well controlled

He allowed himself to be tested using both the Rorschach and the Thematic
Apperception Test.

He was rated high in conscientiousness and openness to new experiences,
somewhat extraverted, and neurotic.

He believed that through training animals could be able to perform different tasks.
Basics of behavior.

skinner viewed life as superstitious where all events couldn’t be controlled in the

He viewed behavior as a factor controlled by factors that were external to the

Through aversive technique, people declare the unpleasant consequences.

He stated that self reinforcement entails rewarding ourselves through good
Operating on the environment.

He believed that most human and animal behavior is learned through operant

He stated that organisms behavior operates on the environment.

He taught animals how to perform many behaviors through operant conditioning.

Skinner believed that everyday life outside the psychology laboratory, our behavior is
rarely reinforced by the occurrences.
Nature of personality.

He was very organized.

Self trust and determination, he changed career several times.

Psychological to him was composed of methods of science.

He believed that animals could adapt to behavioral changes.

He believed that humans and animals demonstrate complex operant behavior with low
probability of occurring under normal conditions.

He was a great teacher, he shaped the behavior of a person in five minutes.
Application of operant conditioning.

Skinner’s operant techniques can be applied in.

Modify human behavior in clinical setting.

Modify human behavior in educational setting.

Modify human behavior in business setting.
Token economy program.

It is the classic application of behavior modification.

Tokens help people to react positively to a certain matter.

Token economy programs have worked in a variety of institutional settings as a
way of reducing problem behaviors.
Behavior modification program.

Behavioral modification helps in the reduction of:



Abuse of sickness privileges.

It leads to improvement in job performance and safety.

It focus on changing overt behavior and defining the nature of the appropriate
Human nature.

People are primarily products of learning, shaped more by external variables than
genetic factors.

childhood experiences are more important in Skinner’s view than are later
experiences because our basic behaviors are formed in childhood.

Skinner rejected all suggestions of an inner being or autonomous self that
determines a course of action or chooses to act freely and spontaneously.

A negative reinforce is an aversive or noxious stimulus, the removal of which is
Direct observation of behavior.

Behavior can be assed in three directions.

Direct observations

Self reports.

Psychological measurements.

Skinner states that With a comprehensive direct-observation program, it is possible
to plan a course of behavior modification.
Self reports of behavior.

It is carried through interviews and questionnaires.

The person observes his or her own behavior and reports on it.
Assessment in skinner theory.

Skinner was assessing behavior and not personality.

Functional analysis resulted to three types of behavior.

The frequency of the behavior.

The situation in which the behavior occurs.

The reinforcement associated with the behavior.
Physiological measurement of behavior.

The physiological measurement of behavior includes;

Heart rate.

Muscle tension.

Brain waves.
By recording such measurements, it is possible to evaluate the physiological effects of
various stimuli.
Research on Skinner’s Theory

Skinner’s assessment methods differ radically from those used by other theorists.

Skinner studied large groups of humans and animals and compared their average

He believed that valid results could be obtained without statistical data provided that
the researcher stayed within experiment conditions.
Reflections on Skinner’s Theory.

Those who oppose determinism found much to dislike in Skinner’s views.

There has been criticism of the type of subject and the simplicity of the situations
in Skinner’s experiments.

In his experiments Skinner ignored most of the criticisms of his work.

His experiments made him one of the hottest item on national and big-city talk
Current Status.

Research on Skinner’s Behaviorism has Found That;

The greater the reinforcement given during training, the more resistant is the conditioned
response to extinction.

Operant conditioning can shape most forms of behavior in humans and animals.

Even a lobster can be conditioned.

American major league baseball players engage in more superstitious behaviors than
Japanese players do.

College students who measure high in self-control get better grades, are better adjusted
psychologically, and have higher self-esteem.

Token economy programs have reduced aggressive acts by cognitively impaired patients
by as much as 79 percent.

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