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B.F. Skinner

B.F. Skinner

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B.F. Skinner

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  1. B.F. Skinner psychologist, behaviorist, author, inventor, and social philosopher

  2. Life • Born March 20, 1904 • Died August 18, 1990 of leukemia • 1926 received a B.A. in English Literature from Hamilton College • Skinner was struggling as a writer when he discovered the works of John Watson and Ivan Pavlov • Skinner was extremely interested in Pavlov’s work on Classical Conditioning • This interest made Skinner decide to quit writing and enter a psychology graduate program at Harvard University in 1928 • 1931- Skinner received his PhD from Harvard • 1936-Skinner married Yvonne Blue and had 2 daughters • 1948-Skinner joined the Psychology Department at Harvard University • He remained at Harvard for the rest of his career

  3. Accomplishments • Wrote 200 articles • Wrote 20 Books • Won many awards for his research: • 1966- Edward Lee Thorndike Award, American Psychological Association • 1968 - National Medal of Science from President Lyndon B. Johnson • 1971 - Gold Medal of the American Psychological Foundation • 1990 - Citation for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology • Skinner’s work is used today by many people including teachers, animal trainers, and mental health professionals

  4. Operant Conditioning Theory • Skinner believed that thoughts and motivation could not be used to explain behavior. He suggested that we should look at the external observable causes of human behavior. • Skinner's theory explained how we acquire the range of learned behaviors we exhibit each and every day. • Sometimes referred to as instrumental conditioning • Through operant conditioning an association is made between a behavior and a consequence for that behavior

  5. Skinner Box • Skinner is often referred to as the Father of Operant Conditioning. • He studied operant conditioning by conducting experiments in what now is called Skinner Box. • Skinner Box is a box that an animal is placed in that has a bar or a key that the animal can press in order to get food or water as a type of reinforcement. • Rats and pigeons were mostly used in these experiments.

  6. Skinner Box • The point of these studies were to exhibit that behaviors can be learned through reinforcements and punishers. • He used rats to show that this was an innate trait present that all animals would exhibit. • Skinner believed that humans learn behaviors in exactly the same ways that other animals do. • The learning was done by way of “shaping” the individual.

  7. Skinner Box This picture shows Skinner performing this experiment

  8. Operant Conditioning Theory • Skinner used the term operant to refer to any “active” behavior that operates upon the environment to generate consequences. • Principle reinforcement: implies that consequences of behavior would influence whether the behavior would occur in the future or not. There are two kinds of reinforcements. • Positive reinforcement • Negative reinforcement

  9. Reinforcements • Reinforcement is any event that strengthens or increases the behavior it follows. • Positive reinforcements are favorable events or outcomes that are presented after the behavior. In situations that reflect positive reinforcement, a response or behavior is strengthened by the addition of something, such as praise or a direct reward. • Negative reinforcements involve the removal of an unfavorable events or outcomes after the display of a behavior. In these situations, a response is strengthened by the removal of something considered unpleasant.

  10. Reinforcements • The effectiveness of the reinforcement is directly correlated to the schedule in which it is presented. • Continuous reinforcement: reinforcement is presented after every occurrence. • Partial reinforcements: reward is only presented occasionally, based on a schedule • Fixed interval: pertaining to time. • Fixed ratio: pertaining to number of responses.

  11. Punishments • Punishment, on the other hand, is the presentation of an adverse event or outcome that causes a decrease in the behavior it follows. There are two kinds of punishment: • Positive punishment, sometimes referred to as punishment by application, involves the presentation of an unfavorable event or outcome in order to weaken the response it follows. • Negative punishment, also known as punishment by removal, occurs when an favorable event or outcome is removed after a behavior occurs.

  12. Theory Application • Theory Examples: • Scenario 1:Your father gives you a credit card at the end of your first year in college because you did so well. As a result, your grades continue to get better in your second year. • Answer:Thecredit card is a positive reinforcement because it is given and it increases the behavior. • Scenario 2: A lion in a circus learns to stand up on a chair and jump through a hoop to receive a food treat. • Answer: The food treat is a positive reinforcement because it is given and it increases the behavior.

  13. Theory Application Cont. • Scenario 3: A professor has a policy of exempting students from the final exam if they maintain perfect attendance during the quarter. His students’ attendance increases dramatically. • Answer: The exemption from the final exam is a negative reinforcement because something is taken away that increases the behavior (attendance).

  14. A Case Study Employing Operant Conditioning to Reduce Stress of Capture for Red-Bellied Tamarins (Saguinuslabiatus).

  15. Visual Representations of Theory

  16. Memory Tools • Operant conditioning focuses on one’s behavior and the way one “operates” • “Operate” sounds like Operant

  17. Works Cited • B. F. Skinner (2013). The Biography Channel website. Retrieved 04:04, Jul 16, 2013, from • Buggey, T. (2007, Summer). Storyboard for Ivan's morning routine. Diagram. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 9(3), 151. Retrieved July 14, 2013, from Academic Search Premier database. • Cherry, Kendra (2013). B.F. Skinner Biography (1904-1990). Retrieved from er.htm • Cherry, Kendra (2013). Skinner Box Definition. Retrieved from • Good (2013). B.F. Skinner (1904-1990). Retrieved from • McLeod, S. A. (2007). B.F. Skinner Operant Conditioning - Simply Psychology. Retrieved from conditioning.html • Shteingart, H., Neiman, T., & Loewenstein, Y. (2013). The Role of First Impression in Operant Learning. Journal Of Experimental Psychology. General, 142(2).