Skinner, Burrhus Frederic (Psychologists and Their Theories)
AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGIST, WRITER
HARVARD UNIVERSITY, Ph.D., 1931
Burrhus Frederic (B.F.) Skinner (1904990) is considered by most to be one of the pivotal psychologists of the twentieth century. Both his followers and detractors alike agree that his tireless work in behaviorism has significantly changed the landscape of psychology in general and the perception of how behavior is understood by both scientists and common people. His theories, though modified in various ways over the years, still continue to be widely applied in all walks of contemporary life.
Skinner was an American psychologist best known for the theory he developed over many years, which he called operant conditioning. Operant conditioning was a refinement of Ivan Pavlov's earlier concept of classical conditioning. Operant conditioning states that learning occurs as a result of the rewards and punishments the subject receives in response to a particular behavior. If the result of the behavior is a reward, the same behavior is likely to be repeated. If the result is a punishment, the behavior is less likely to be repeated.
Skinner had an initial interest in becoming a writer and received a bachelor's degree in English from Hamilton College in New York. After some time out...
(The entire section is 18718 words.)
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