B.F. Skinner and His Three Famous Ideas in Psychology Essay

B.F. Skinner and His Three Famous Ideas in Psychology Essay

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B.F. Skinner has been known as one of the most influential psychologists to date. Not only did his popularity grow because of his writings and ideas, but many other psychologists use his ideas in their writings as well (O’Donohue, Ferguson, 2001). Countless psychologists were interested in Skinners theories and ideas, which is why he is so popular still today. Skinner had many ideas in the world of psychology, but what most famous for his ideas of radical behaviorism, operant conditioning, and positive and negative reinforcement. B.F. Skinner looked at behaviorism as operant conditioning. He believed that every human and animal action or behavior had a subsequent consequence. After receiving this consequence following a particular behavior, the human or animal would decide whether or not that behavior should be repeated or not. Skinner did not come up with this concept on his own, but learned it from a psychologist named John B. Watson. While Watson’s ideas of radical behaviorism were very prevalent during the early 1900’s, in due course it lost a lot of its popularity. Shortly after the downfall of Watson’s B.F. Skinner created his own adaptation of behaviorism. Skinners adaptation of behaviorism almost instantly went viral. The influence this aspect of psychology had on people was substantially higher than the influence that Watson’s rendition had (Mowrer, 2001, p. 4). This was the birth of B.F. Skinner’s rising popularity in the psychology world.
Burrhus Frederic Skinner was born on March 20, 1904, in a small quaint town in Pennsylvania called Susquehanna (O’Donohue, Ferguson, 2001). Growing up, Skinner lived a relatively happy and healthy life with a close-knit family. The Skinner family were of middle class and...


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...t, B.F. Skinner had many ideas that critics did not agree with. His behaviorist beliefs contained the idea that humans control their own actions, and that leaving your life up to fate or a higher power is not a plausible option. He felt that if a person left their life and decisions up to someone else, it would not bring a positive outcome because they do not have the person’s best interest in mind (Delprato, Midgley, 1992, p. 1510). Skinner also believed that an individual’s actions are not separate from the environment in which they are in at the time. He had a strong belief that eventually, psychologists would be able to know the behavior that was about to be emitted, before it actually was. Skinner believed that taking the context of a situation would release an organism’s behavior, thus making the prediction of a beings actions (Delprato, Midgley, p.1510).

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