Friday, February 20, 2009

Major Contributions By BF Skinner

B.F. Skinner is a well talked-about member of the behaviorism field. Behaviorism is broken down into three claims. The first claim being that psychology is not the science of the mind but the science of behavior. The second claim is that behavior is not an internal process but rather is caused by external forces. Finally, the third claim is that mental terms or concepts should be replaced with behavioral terms, but still also the mental terms and concepts can be translated into behavioral concepts and terms.
Skinner was known to prac
tice radical behaviorism, which is described as a sub-type of psychological behaviorism. One of Skinner’s most well known contributions was the story Walden Two, a book constructed on the personal beliefs of Skinner. Within the tale, Skinner drew a picture of an ideal society. This society is built around behavioral ideals. Skinner’s personal belief that person’s historical environment interactions control their behavior rant rampant.
B.F. Skinner was also a part of Project Pigeon during World War II. Within the project, Skinner trained pigeons to lead missiles to their targets by pecking a target. Although the project was canceled due to the development of radar, Skinner found pigeons to be better test subjects than rats. One of Skinner’s most famous achievements was the Baby Tender. Although the invention later became know as “baby in a box”, the original idea was thought of by his wife Yvonne. While pregnant, Yvonne asked her husband to make a safer crib for their child. What Skinner came up with an enclosed crib that was heated. The crib had a Plexiglas window for the mother to see in and watch after the baby. Although the intention was for the child to only sleep in the crib, which is all that his daughter did, it was made out to be a monstrous machine.
Skinner also developed a teaching machine. After sitting in on one of his daughter’s math classes, skinner found that the students were being ineffectually taught due to the lack of feedback during the process of solving the problems on their assignments. Skinner saw that the students that did not understand the work were continuing to recreate the incorrect process through each of the math problems. With his teaching machine, Skinner was able to give immediate feedback to the student as to correct the incorrect process being done.


  1. great job on your reasearch I liked the idea that not only teachers had to explain to children how to do specific skills but also make it understandable.

    sandra wence

  2. Wow I am surprised that this man was actually successful at inventing machines to do different things. I surely didn't know that pigeons could be taught either. With the teaching machine, he probably increased the knowledge of many children.