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Biography: B.F Skinner Essay

1611 words - 7 pages

Research Paper: B.F Skinner"The consequences of behavior determine the probability that the behavior will occur again". This was said by one of the most famous psychologists, B.F Skinner. Skinner was born on March 20, 1904 in Susquehanna. He attended Hamilton College in New York and obtained a BA in English. Skinner wanted to be a writer of fiction it didn't work out as he realized he didn't truly want it. He joined Harvard University and received his PhD in psychology in 1931. He stayed their as a researcher till 1936 and returned in 1948 as a tenured professor after his teaching at the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis and later at Indiana University. Skinner died of Leukemia on ...view middle of the document...

B.F Skinner introduced the concept of reinforcement. He believed that if you are reinforced for doing something, than you are likely to perform that action again in future, just like how the rat pressed the lever and was reinforced by food, so it repeated it later on whenever he's hungry. If the food pellets stop dropping on pressing the lever, the rat will stop pressing the lever and this was defined as extinction of the operant behavior. And if you were to start dropping food pellets again on pressing the lever, the rat will start to learn the food is coming and keep pressing the lever just like before.Skinner also attempted to perform operant conditioning to invent a war weapon. This invention was called Project Pigeon. During World War II, Skinner advised training pigeons to guide the missiles to a target. There will be lens at the front of the missile, which will have an image of the target. If the pigeons peck at the center of the screen, the missile would be guided correctly, but once the pecking is "off-center, it would cause the screen to tilt, which would then, via a connection to the missile's flight controls, cause the missile to change course" (wikipedia,2007). Skinner believed that if pigeons are reinforced with food for pecking targets, they will continue to peck at targets. The pigeon equipment was huge and the program was cancelled on October 8, 1944 as this idea wasn't taken seriously regardless of some success with the training.Based on shaping, Skinner came up with an educational method called programmed learning. This method states that tasks can be broken down into small steps, regardless how complicated they are, and each step can be shaped individually and then join to form a whole. They used a device called teaching machine to show the student a subject matter in steps, each step is called a frame. If the student makes the correct response, he/she could move forward to the next one, but if he/she makes a wrong response, he/she has to go back until he/she learns it correctly. Programmed learning reinforces students for making the correct response so the student will earn 100% after he/she is done at their own time as it depends on each student how long will the student take to learn the subject matter. People think that teaching machines should only assist students, not replace teachers.B.F Skinner is very well known for his book Walden two. Walden two describes an ideal society where people are happy because every member of the society contributes to the society and also received benefits of the society. They have been socialized from early childhood to help other people. Children were thought to have self-control techniques to deal with jealousy and impatience and have a positive approach to any problems they are facing. Because of this way of raising children, people in the society were decent, kind and unselfish. "They see their actions as a result of their own free will" (Rathus, 2007). In this ideal society, it was...

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