The Effects Of Operant Conditioning And Positive Reinforcement

1332 WordsOct 26, 20156 Pages
One of the most well renowned American behavioral psychologists, B.F. Skinner was considered a pioneer in the development of operant conditioning and positive reinforcement. While some of his radical views, such as the illusion of free will, garnered criticism, his contributions to the field of behaviorism, most notably “The Skinner Box”, made him an influential psychologist. B. F. Skinner was born on March 20, 1904 in Susquehanna Pennsylvania, a small railroad town where he enjoyed roaming the countryside. From a young age, Skinner demonstrated his intelligence, and had gained a reputation in high school for debating intellectual and philosophical subjects with his teachers. After graduating valedictorian of his class, he attended Hamilton College in Utica, New York. Graduating in 1926, Skinner decided to spend a year writing and during this period, he became highly interested in behavioral psychology after reading philosopher Bertram Russell’s review of John B. Watson’s Behaviorism. At twenty four, Skinner enrolled as a psychology graduate student at Harvard University and earned his degree three years later. Skinner adhered to the principles of behaviorism, a popular school of thought until the 1950 's. Behaviorism differs from other fields of psychology in that it is not a mental science, which treats unobservable mental events as the causes of behavior, but instead claims that the cause of a behavior is due to the environment and the individual 's
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