My College Class Notes

A place to share my class notes…

Skinner and Operant Conditioning

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Skinner maintained that we can understand behavior and what others call personality only by applying the operant conditioning principle to understanding what a person does.

Rejecting the belief that humans possess free will, Skinner argued that we learn to be a particular kind of person in the same way that we learn anything else in life—through positive or negative reinforcement and punishment or, in his terms, reinforcement history.

External circumstances and consequences, not some inner-self, ultimately define personality. In effect, we could predict a persons behavior if we knew which of this person’s actions had been rewarded by society and which ones had been punished.

B. F. Skinner

American psychologist B. F. Skinner became famous for his pioneering research on learning and behavior. During his 60-year career, Skinner discovered important principles of operant conditioning, a type of learning that involves reinforcement and punishment. A strict behaviorist, Skinner believed that operant conditioning could explain even the most complex of human behaviors


Written by Joseph Eulo

May 28, 2008 at 7:29 am

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