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B.F. Skinner. Heather Blake and Madelyn Harriger. About B.f. Skinner. Burrhus Frederic Skinner Born March 20, 1904 in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania Hamilton College and Harvard University Married Yvonne Blue and had two daughters

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B f skinner

B.F. Skinner

Heather Blake


Madelyn Harriger

About b f skinner
About B.f. Skinner

  • Burrhus Frederic Skinner

  • Born March 20, 1904 in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania

  • Hamilton College and Harvard University

  • Married Yvonne Blue and had two daughters

  • University of Minnesota, Indiana University and Harvard University

  • Died August 18, 1990

Operant conditioning
Operant Conditioning

  • Define: changing of behavior by the use of reinforcement which is given after the desired response; looking at actions and consequences

  • Stemmed from Thorndike’s Law of Effect

  • Skinner Box


  • Working hard and getting a promotion increases the behavior of working hard because people want more chances of promotions

  • When someone has the window open and hears the traffic so they turn on the radio and don’t have to listen to the noise outside

  • Parents give you $20 for every A you receive as a final grade so you continue to work hard and get straight A’s


Responses from the environment that increase the probability of a behavior being repeated

Terminal behavior is the desired behavior at the end of a planned reinforcement

Types of reinforcers
Types of reinforcers

  • Primary (Natural):Unconditioned; learned naturally without learning

  • Secondary: associated with primary; “direct desire”

  • Positive: Associated with rewards

  • Negative: Associated with avoidance and elimination

Positive reinforcements
Positive Reinforcements

  • Strengthens behavior by providing a consequence an individuals finds rewarding

  • Ideally more preferred and effective

  • Examples:

    • Dress nice and a cute guy compliments More likely to dress nice

    • Get good grades and parents give you money  Keeps getting good grades

    • Little kid is behaves in public and gets candy  Will behave more often

Negative reinforcements
Negative Reinforcements

  • When a particular behavior is strengthened by the removal of an adverse stimulus; avoiding and eliminating

  • A process not an action

  • More common than positive

  • Example:

    • You clean up your room so your parents

      will not nag you about it

    • It rains and you get wet, next time you bring an umbrella when it rains

    • (Religious) To avoid Hell we are taught to be live a Christ-driven life


  • Weakens or eliminates a response

  • Removes a positive reinforcer or introduces a negative reinforcer

  • Example:

    • Get bad grades and phone is taken away

    • Misbehave and get spanked


  • Operant Conditioning

Education application
Education Application

  • Discuss with partner how you can use positive reinforcements in the classroom

Positive education application
Positive Education application

  • Lunch with the teacher

  • Treasure box

  • Bonus points

  • Pizza/Movie day

Education application1
Education application

  • Discuss with your partner how you can use negativereinforcements in the classroom

Negative education application
Negative education application

  • The students take a quiz at the end of every week and they are told that if all assigned homework is turned in then there will be no quiz. The behavior to complete homework is strengthened to avoid the quiz

  • Pop quizzes if students are not paying attention

    or are talking during the lesson. If they pay

    attention and ask questions then there is no

    pop quiz

What did we learn
What did we learn?

  • B.F. Skinner

  • Operant Conditioning

  • Skinner Box

  • Positive vs Negative Reinforcement

  • Negative Reinforcement vs Punishment


Skinner, B. F. (2011). B.f. skinner foundation: A survey of operant behavior. Retrieved from http://www.bfskinner.org/bfskinner/SurveyOperantBehavior.html

Conversation with B.F. Skinner. (1973). Organizational Dynamics, 1(3), 31-40.

Elias, J. L. (1974). B F Skinner and religious education. Religious Education, 69(5), 558-567.

McLeod, S. (2007). Simply psychology: Skinner-operant conditioning. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/operant-conditioning.html

Moore, J. J. (2011). BEHAVIORISM. Psychological Record, 61(3), 449-465.