|B. F. Skinner psychology|
- B.F. Skinner felt that much behavior
- is learned and not inherited,
- that the study of behavior should be experimental,
- disregarding reported thoughts and feelings,
- that behaviors are reinforced by rewards
- and discouraged by punishments,
- and that free will is an illusion.
The Skinner box
- Skinner called it the operant conditioning chamber. In it, Skinner
- would put a rat. When the rat, at first accidentally, moved a lever,
- a mechanism would deliver a pellet of rat food. To balance rewards
- with punishments, the box had a speaker, red and green lights,
- and an electrified floor able to shock the rat, but not kill it.
- The obvious finding was that the rat would learn
- to avoid the punishments and gain the rewards, but Skinner
- was also able to show that the learning would depend
- on the schedule of rewards and punishments. If your puppy
- pees on the rug, rub its nose in it right away; you want
- the pup to associate the punishment with the misbehavior.
- Experience shows that people
- do not respond as uniformly as lab rats
- to attempts to control their behaviors.
- Experiments with humans would likely result
- in paradoxical outcomes, producing behaviors
- not in the subjects’ own interests.
- Even if a person and his language were predictable,
- his speech would not be predictable.
- Even if a poet were predictable, his poems would not be.
- Languages evolve; fashions change; the young
- do not want to be understood by the old;
- businesses and scientists strive for something new.
- Why don’t the same inputs always produce
- expected outputs? Are people bored of their own
- successes? Do too many things depend on the unexpected?