Bf Skinner Contribution To Psychology

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A very important psychologist that had many contributions to the study of behavior was B.F. Skinner. He was born in Pennsylvania in 1904 and given the name Burrhus Frederic Skinner. However, he is most commonly known by the abbreviation B.F. His father was a lawyer and his mother was a stay at home parent. Skinner attended college at Hamilton College where he pursued writing and graduated in 1926. After an unsuccessful writing career, he enrolled at Harvard University to study Psychology. While at Harvard, he began to study behavior and developed what would become one of his greatest successes, the Skinner Box. After receiving his PhD at Harvard in 1931, Skinner continued his research until 1936. Skinner married and had two daughters. He eventually …show more content…
The three components are a stimulus, a response, and an outcome. A stimulus evokes a response from the subject being conditioned. In a Skinner box, a light can be used as a stimulus to let the animal know when a certain behavior will lead to the desired outcome. For example, if the light is on and the animal presses the lever, it will receive food. However, if the light is off and the animal presses the lever, it will not receive food. This type of stimulus is referred to as a discriminative stimulus because it must be met before a response will lead to a particular outcome. According to Michael (1980) “a reinforcement frequency may be the same in the presence as in the absence of the stimulus, but in its presence that reinforcement may be of greater quantity, better quality, shorter delay, or may require less effort to obtain than in its absence” (p.47). This suggests that a discriminative stimulus may not have to be met for an outcome, but it needs to be met for an optimal and desirable outcome. The next component of operant conditioning is the response. A particular response leads to a particular outcome. In the Skinner box, the response is pressing the lever. In some instances, like the lever in the Skinner box, it does not matter how the lever is pressed as long as it gets pressed. It does not matter if the lever is pressed by the animal’s nose, paw, tail, etc. The last component is the outcome. This is the consequence of the action and can be positive or negative depending on whether or not the behavior is wanted or not. The outcome determines whether the subject is likely to repeat the behavior or avoid the

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