Skinner and Harlow Compare and Contrast

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Essay. This essay will look at the work of two very famous behaviourists. It will consider the differences and similarities as well as give descriptive detail of their actual experiments and see if any contribution was provided to mankind. It will focus on the theory of learning based upon the idea that all behaviors are acquired through conditioning which occurs through interaction with the environment. As this was done by experimenting with animals, it is also necessary to consider the rules and restrictions that are needed to be kept in mind as research ethics applies to any experiments done on any living thing. (Word count 102) One of the few famous behaviourists was B.F. Skinner. He believed that with the right tools we can…show more content…
By giving a reward, such as dessert or pocket money to the child when completing homework, it was more likely that this behaviour would be repeated and strengthened. Another thing is the reward system in schools nowadays for good behaviour, where you would receive a star or something similar for behaving the desired way in the classroom. What Skinner showed was that all kinds of behaviours can be shaped and built step by step. (Word count 457) Another famous study to show that attachment is not based on the supply of food was conducted by Harlow (1962) on infant monkeys. The infant monkeys were placed in a cage with two cylinders made out of metal wire, each with a face to imitate a monkey. One cylinder was plain and only provided the infant monkey with milk but no other form of comfort. The other cylinder was covered with a soft cloth which therefore gave the infant monkey a contact comfort. The idea in question was if food was the main thing that caused attachment between the infant and the mother/caregiver. If that was to be true than it was expected for the infant monkey to cling on to the bare cylinder that provided milk. As it turned out, the little monkeys would spend most of their time on the cylinder that was covered with cloth and would only jump on the bare wire cylinder when hungry. They were also more secure when next to the cloth cylinder and would go around exploring the area but
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