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Bf Skinner Essay

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Introduction (50-100 words)
Burrhus Frederic (B.F.) Skinner, an American behavioral psychologist, is best known for his experiments on changing behavior. With behavioral psychologists Pavlov and Watson as his inspiration, Skinner formulated his theory of operational conditioning. His idea of “shaping” behavior is prevalent in the parenting and teaching techniques of children and students.

Background (100-150 words)
B.F. Skinner was born on March 20, 1904 in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, a small town where he spent his childhood. He was the first-born son of a lawyer father and homemaker mother who raised him and his younger brother. As a young boy, Skinner enjoyed building and used his imaginative mind to invent many different devices. He spent his college years at Hamilton College in New York to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in writing. Following his graduation in 1926, Skinner explored writings of Pavlov, Russell, and Watson, three influential men in the field of behavioral psychology. After two years as a failed writer, Skinner applied to Harvard University to earn his Ph.D. in psychology.

Early career (100-150 words)
Throughout his college years, Skinner connected with William Crozier, his mentor and the chairman of the Physiology Department. Crozier challenged psychology’s mindset of focusing only on the individual’s mind. He encouraged Skinner to experiment with animals from a more holistic perspective.

After earning his degree from Harvard in 1931, Skinner stayed as a researcher for five more years. He primarily focused on fully understanding behavior and finding the most impartial ways to measure it. These goals led to his method of operant conditioning and the creation of the Skinner box.

Major works (300-400 words)
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...ss to the field of behavioral psychology, he did face some criticism regarding the reliability of his experiments. Psychologists who do not support Skinner’s work claim that his research using rats and pigeons does not translate into human behavior. Many people believe that the human mind is much more complex than that of small animals. It is common among those in the psychology field to believe that reinforcement and rewards are not the only causes of behavior.

Other critics are concerned with Skinner’s disapproval of Sigmund Freud, one of psychology’s founding fathers. While many of Freud’s claims are shown to be untrue, it is still unacceptable to have a lack of respect for predecessors. Even though Skinner faced some criticism regarding his work, he is still highly recognized for his ingenuity and discoveries and is the recipient of numerous honors and awards.
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