Essay about The Father Of Operant Conditioning

Essay about The Father Of Operant Conditioning

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Although Burrhus Frederic Skinner is known as “The father of operant conditioning” there were other scientists who contributed to his theory of behaviorism. Edward Thorndike and Ivan Pavlov were two researchers whose findings influenced the founding of behaviorism by John B. Watson. All of their influences and research contributed to B.F. Skinner`s theory of behaviorism and formulation of operant conditioning.
Edward Thorndike is known as one of the most influential researchers in the development of animal psychology. Thorndike`s experiments using his own designed puzzle box was used in his research for animal learning. In 1898 Thorndike used this puzzle box to observe how cats and dogs open latches on gates and traced the idea to the reports of Romanes and Morgan. (Schultz and Schultz, 2012) In one of his experiments Thorndike placed a food deprived cat into his puzzle box with food as a reward on the outside of the box. In order to receive the food the cat had to pull a lever or open the door. He observed as the cat demonstrated random behaviors inside the box before it finally caught onto what it was supposed to do. (Schultz and Schultz, 2012) This is similar to what Skinner exhibited with his Skinner box. He used Thorndike 's puzzle box as the substructure for his Skinner box. Skinner also used Thorndike 's law of effect to support his new theory of behaviorism. The original law of effect is defined as acts that produce satisfaction in a given situation become associated with that situation; when the situation recurs, the act is likely to recur. (Schultz and Schultz, 2012)
Ivan Pavlov in 1903 began to introduced a new type of learning called classical conditioning. Pavlov` main focus was the study of the digestive glands of d...

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