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Life and Works of Burrhus Frederic Skinner - Research Paper Example

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Frederic Skinner grew up in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. He was born in March 20, 1904 (Bjork, 2007). As a child, he was dynamic and enjoyed going outdoors. In addition, he also liked academic challenges…
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Life and Works of Burrhus Frederic Skinner
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Download file to see previous pages His father was a lawyer and his mother stayed at home. Perceptibly, he grew up in an intellectual and conventional household. As a youth, he was described to have difficulties in being socially accepted. One unfortunate event that happened in his life is when his brother died due to cerebral hemorrhage. Unlike any other usual adolescent, he did not actually like participating in the usual college social gatherings. Instead, he was more focused on critiquing authorities. He mainly did this through his journalism. Moreover, he proclaimed himself as a person who does not believe in God in spite of the fact that he was studying in a religiously devout school. After finishing his bachelor’s degree in English Literature, he decided that he would be a writer. He then worked for a newspaper in New York. He did not really become actualized in his first career. Skinner got inspired by the works of Ivan Pavlov and James Watson. Afterwards, he went back to school and got his masters and doctorate in psychology at Harvard. He got married with Yvonne Blue in 1936 and they had two daughters. He then worked at Indiana University’s psychology department. In 1948, his career went back to Harvard until his death in 1990. Works Skinner is known as a psychologist, author, educator, and philosopher. He published many books and journals regarding his theories. He devoted much of his life improving his researches. Lots of his experiments centered on measuring responses to various kinds of stimuli. Until his retirement, he worked on analyzing the human behavior. Skinner became famous for the air crib. It was also known as the baby tender. One of his daughters was raised using this invention. The contraption was made to alleviate Yvonne’s difficulties and worries in caring for their baby. It was fashioned with glass panels as well as with air conditioning. The air crib was invented with the aim to promote the general welfare of infants. In 1994, Skinner was inspired to make this invention when he found out that he would have a second child. In fact, the air crib was commercialized and marketed to around 300 families. It was found to be effective in soothing children and in manipulating the temperature especially during extreme weather. Furthermore, he became known for his book, Walden II. It is about a society run by behavioristic rules (Skinner, 1974). His book talks much about his theory which is called operant conditioning. This simply means that a behavior is affected by the response to that certain behavior. For instance, a child would tend to be obedient when his mother gives him candy as a reward. To concretely illustrate this concept, he devised an experiment. He utilized a special cage well-known as a “Skinner Box” (Shultz, 2012). It is otherwise called the operant conditioning box. The container has a lever that makes food pellet come out when pressed. The pellet acted as a reinforcing stimulus. When the rat accidentally pushed the bar and food came out, it repeated its behavior. Since the rat got rewarded for pressing the lever, he repeated the same action with the expectancy of having another positive feedback. After some time, the rat kept on pressing the lever until a number of pellets were piled. However, when no food pellet will come out, the rat will learn that its behavior does not result to a reward. Hence, it will learn to stop pushing the lever. Skinner termed this as extinction. Consequently, the rat’s first behavior will resurface if the reward would be returned. In addition, the schedules of reinforcement affect the learning of behavior. In his many experiments, the time and interval of giving rewards influence the rat’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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