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Skinner B. F. Article Review

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Updated: Jul 17th, 2020


Psychology and mainly behavioral psychology is one area that has attracted great interest from many scholars. Skinner B.F. is a renowned psychologist who has contributed greatly tom in the development of behavioral psychology. The first article gives a brief background of Skinner, B.F. education background, as well as his great contribution to behavioral psychology.

The summary of the article highlights how Skinner B.F. used his genius to invent a chamber for studying the behavior of rats and pigeons. Similarly, the review indicates the controversy surrounding Skinner B.F. view that animals behavior depends on hereditary heritage, past experiences and surrounding environment.

The second article comprises of a review of how cognitive psychology has changed within the last five decades. The article is essential in informing the readers about the blindness created in the younger psychologist and psychobiologists about important aspects in the history of psychology. The review also gives an account on Skinner B.F. engagement into radical behaviorism.

It is important in informing the reader about the scholars that prompted him to venture into radical behaviorism psychology. Lastly, is the review of an important article referred as Meaning in Behavior Analysis the article extends the works of Skinner B.F. by expounding on his perspective of meaning by explaining important terms such as mands, tact, as well as operant behavior.

The discussion is essential in informing the reader about how verbal response becomes meaningful in day-to-day interactions (Boeree, 1990).similarly, the articles are important in shedding light about the great psychology work accomplished by Skinner B.F. Moreover, the articles showed how Skinner B.F great contribution plays a fundamental role in behavioral science and revolution of cognitive psychology.

Skinner, B.F. Summary

Skinner B.F. was born in 20 March 1904 in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. He studied literature and received a B.A. from Hamilton College in New York. After unsuccessful years as a writer, he went back to study psychology after been inspired by the works of Ivan Petrovich Pavlov and John B. Watson. Skinner B.F. earned his Ph.D. in 1931 and remained in Harvard until he received his first faculty appointment in 1936 at University of Minnesota.

In 1945, he became professor and chair of the department of psychology at Indiana University before going back to Harvard in 1948. He retired as a professor 1974. Even after retiring, he remained very active and instrumental in psychology. As a psychologist, Skinner B.F. is renowned for his great accomplishment.

His contribution in the technical of behavior management through changing aspects of the environment has proved very powerful and effective for many species and situations. Skinner founded and specialized in two areas, which are the experimental analysis of behavior that investigated basics principals of behavior and applied behavior analysis that seeks solutions to specific problems.

During his era, he wrote many books and scientific journals about behaviorism science and Human Behavior. Skinner B.F. invented Skinner’s box, which is an apparatus used for experimental analysis of animal behavior, mainly important for classical and instrumental conditioning.

Skinner’s science of behavior was controversial and rarely understood. He claimed that behavior of animals including people depended on three fundamental factors: genetic heritage, past experience and current circumstances. He advocated on the study of behaviors based on directly observation aspect of the environment (Amsel, 1992).

B.F. Skinner and the Cognitive Revolution. Summary

The perspective of psychology has really changed within the past five decades bringing in new and interesting insight into cognitive research. Nonetheless, some scholars blame the revolution for blinding younger psychologist and psychobiologists about important part of their history through the rejection of behaviorism and neo-behaviorism.

The caricature of behaviorism originated from competing theoretical movements of Watson and Skinner. Skinner was engaged in several experimental and theoretical papers from 1930 t0 1937. Most of his research pertained investigating types of condition reflexes, as well as researching on the concept of drive.

In 1941, Skinner and Estes published a paper referred as conditioned emotional response that was similar to a paper published by Watson and Rayner in 1920 named conditioned emotional reaction respectively.

Skinner’s movement from moderate to extreme radical behaviorism continued to influence psychology. A decade later, Skinner changed his approach to psychology after publishing a famous paper that provoked the importance of learning theories.

This juncture marked a change of Skinners meta-theoretical position toward the radical behaviorism of post-1925 Watson. The cognitive revolution is associated with Skinner’s radical theoretical, as well as his great influential position. The cognitive revolution expanded further after Skinner published a book referred as verbal Behavior, which was Chomsky reviewed.

Skinner argued that learning of verbal behavior was incremental just as any shaping of any other operant through reinforcement. However, Chomsky criticized Skinner’s argument of language acquisition. He argued that language acquisition mainly genetically based. He argued that a child’s preexisting inherited disposition that he termed as linguistic competence played a significant role in language acquisition than nature.

Meaning in Behavior Analysis. Summary Review

Meaning is one of the most commonly used terms in day-to-day endeavors. Different scholars have differing definitions for the meaning. Skinner’s definition of meaning has an association between the causal relationship between verbal responses and their controlling variables that include motivational states and environmental events.

Meaning is a product of a stable affiliation between precise oral responses, their regulating variables and the results that accompany the behaviors. Verbal responses are significant in instances where steady fundamental relations among the member of the verbal population who play as the audience. When meaning exist between verbal behaviors, consequences and antecedes it is regarded as is abstract.

Mand is a term used by B.F. Skinner to describe to a verbal operant where the response gets its strength from a characteristic consequence. Thus, it is under the functional control of important conditions of deprivation or aversion stimulation. Identifying and controlling essential variables is necessary to determine whether a response is a mand.

A mand is unique from other verbal operant as it benefits the speaker, whereas other verbal operant benefits the listener. Understanding the meaning and agreeing are two different concepts. Listeners may comprehend the meaning, but not concur with the orator. In behavioral analysis, two people disagree when they do not share the contingencies that produce a statement.

Behavioral investigation of meaning is momentous in exposition essential provisions related with meaning such as ambiguity, synonyms, paraphrase and anomaly. Another important aspect is the tact, which is considered as the behavior under regulation of generalized support.

Sometimes it takes a form of a label for something. Whereas, the tact maybe subjected to judgment, the meaning of mands is not a subject of judgment of truth or falsehood (Hegde, 1980).

Reference List

Amsel, A. (1992). B.F. Skinner and the Cognitive Revolution. Journal of Psychology. 23, 2, pp. 67- 70.

Boeree, G. (1990). About Skinner B.F. Journal of Psychology. 43, 6, pp. 123-145.

Hegde, M.N. (1980). Meaning in Behavioral Analysis. Journal of Psychiatric, 23, 3, pp.5

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