Knock Wood

Knock Wood
Arvester & Jake
B.F. Skinner
Burrhus Frederic (March 20, 1904-Aug 18, 1990) was an
American behaviorist, inventor. He was the Edgar Pierce
Professor of Psych. at Harvard University from 1958-1974.
Skinner called his brand of behaviorism “Radical” behaviorism.
He believed that everything psychology is behaviorally driven
Consequences shape actions.
Skinner Box method.
Skinner Box (Conditioning Chamber)
Food dispenser controlled by Skinner
Food Given for reinforcement
Lever if pressed will cause food to be dispensed.
Experimenter controls lever.
Patient Results
• Rats could be conditioned to the
experimenters liking.
• They behaved as if a certain action produced
the food.
• They became superstitious.
• The behavior is put on extinction.
• This meant the reinforcement was
Historical Significance
• Superstitions are proven to be real
• Superstitions are everywhere and produce
society wide effects.
• Superstitions can now be used to influence
behavior throughout the medical field.
Recent Applications
• Helps advance medical fields treatments of
kids with ADHD by using skinner’s
reinforcement theory
• Studies found that superstitious behaviors
were developed better and faster through
negative reinforcement.
Ethical Questions/ Criticisms
• Subject of heated controversy
• Other prominent theoretical approaches to
human behavior have argued that the strict
behavioral views are unable to account for
many of the psychological processes that are
fundamental to humans.

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