Began working on ideas of human behavior
Wrote The Behavior of Organisms (1938)
Walden Two (1948) a novel based on his theories
Beyond Freedom and Human Dignity (1971) which explored behaviorism in relation to society
Awarded a lifetime achievement award by the American Psychological Association
Died August 18, 1990 in Massachusetts
Operant Conditioning deals with operants - intentional actions that have an effect on the surrounding environment. Skinner Believed that we both predict and control behavior.
By manipulating the environment... You can manipulate behavior.
Skinner defines a learning process in which the consequences which follow a response determine whether the behavior will be repeated.
Behavior will likely be repeated which has been reinforced, and tend to not be repeated with punishment.
Skinner (1948) studied operant conditioning by conducting experiments using animals which he placed in a 'Skinner Box'
Skinner Box - Positive Reinforcement
* At first behavior was random, but an inadvertently tripped lever was rewarded with a food pellet.
* The rat take long to learn that a lever represented a means of obtaining the reinforcer.
* The consequence of receiving food (a desirable stimulus) for lever pressing ensured that it would repeat the action.
* Skinner initially used a continuous reinforcement schedule
Skinner Box- Negative Reinforcement
* Rat was subjected to unpleasant electric current and the lever switched off the current.
* The consequence of escaping the current (an adverse stimulus) ensured that it would repeat the action. A light would be switched on, just prior to current.
* This lever pressing after the light was negatively reinforced.