B.F. Skinner

     Burrhus Frederic Skinner, better known as B.F. Skinner, was part of the school of behaviorists. Being a behaviorist means that they study methodology and behavioral analysis. B.F. Skinner played a huge part in the development in this school of thought. In fact, Skinner came up with the concept of positive reinforcement. One of Skinner's most famous experiments was the "Skinner Box". In this box was a rat and a metal bar. If the metal bar was pushed, food would come out as a type of reinforcement. So, every time the rat would push the lever, food would come out, causing the rat to do it more and more. This is an example of operant conditioning. However, Skinner produced some boxes where every time the animal would push the lever, the ground would be electrified which caused the animal to stop pressing the lever.

    Skinner had very hard-working working parents, so he tried his best to live up to that. He attended Harvard where he ended up getting his masters degree in psychology in 1930 and his doctorate in 1931. During this time, many people didn't really know much about psychology. People were learning more and more things, and were understanding why they act the way they do. These understandings partially came from Skinner. He opened up a new way of understanding things with his box. This proved that with positive or negative reinforcement, animals and humans learn what to do and what not to do.

     B.F. Skinner was very important to psychology. His development of operant conditioning created a new approach to psychology that studied behavior. We can use this idea today to reward or punish people so they will or won't continue that behavior again. I believe this time period influenced Skinner because during this time people did not really know how to properly punish people, for example, children. At schools, when a student was disobedient, they were hit with a paddle. This may sound awful in today's world, but it actually taught the students to not do it again.



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