20 March 2019

20th March 1904 - B. F. Skinner born.

On 20th March 1904 — B. F. Skinner was born.

Skinner was a dominant influence in psychology in the 20th century. Skinner's radical behaviorism provided a systematic analysis of the effects of consequences on behaviour. His principles of operant conditioning could train pigeons to play tunes on the piano or play table tennis. It was also the basis of more systematic research on pigeons and rats in the skinner box where they pecked a disc or pulling a lever for a reward, and that behaviour increases when it’s reinforced or rewarded.

The principles of rewards to shape behaviour were also applied to human being in the mental health field. Behaviour modification techniques were practised by many psychiatrists, psychologists and nurses during the 1970s and early 1980 to shape behaviour. An example of this might be when a carer only pays attention (the reinforcement or reward) to a patient who is throwing a tantrum (the behavior). So the carer would be asked to pay attention when the patient is behaving well, and not when they are behaving badly.

Similar principles of operand conditioning are behind systemic desensitisation for phobias and aversion therapy for something like smoking.

Thanks to the Today in Psychology History for this date.

No comments:

Post a Comment