Received a master's degree in 1930 and a doctorate in experimental psychology in 1931After earning a doctorate in 1931, Skinner built his work on the conditioned response theories of Ivan Pavlov.He spent most of his teaching career at Harvard (1948 – 74).He developed the Skinner box, a laboratory device for animal experimentation, designed to study responses to external stimuli. He also developed the "air-crib," a soundproof, germ-free, air-conditioned box meant to serve as an optimal environment for the first two years of childhood. He continued to write throughout his later years, authoring such works as Enjoy Old Age (1983), Upon Further Reflection (1986), and Recent Issues in the Analysis of Behavior.
Positive reinforcement or applying reinforcing stimulus is the strengthening of behavior by the application of some event (e.g., praise after some behavior is performed)Negative reinforcement is the strengthening of behavior by the removal or avoidance of some aversive event (e.g., opening and raising an umbrella over your head on a rainy day is reinforced by the cessation of rain falling on you)Positive punishment, application of an aversive stimulus/eventNegative punishment, removal of a desirable stimulus/eventA common misconception is that negative reinforcement is synonymous with punishment
A successful learning situation is one in which behavior goals are reached through mastery of a series of small steps or tasks which represent a larger objective. Each step or task is clearly defined and outcomes and activities are continually assessed to evaluate efficiency. Task analysis breaks each task to be mastered down to its most basic components, or subtasks. Behaviorists generally believe that students can be taught best when the focus is directly on the content to be taught. Behavioral instruction often takes the material out of the context in which it will be used. Immediate feedback and reinforcement with drill and practice procedures and programmed instruction that allows the learner to repeat tasks that were not performed correctly until they were mastered. To create a positive environment, Skinner’s solution was to use positive reinforcement – to reward student’s for studying and learning. He used Programmed instruction and behavior modification as examples of non-punitive reinforcements. Programmed InstructionThe material is presented in discrete units, students are active responders, students receive immediate feedback, and individual differences in learning rates are accounted for. Behavior modification Traditionally used to shape appropriate classroom behavior – such as speaking out of turn or fighting with classmates – it can also be applied to behaviors that relate more directly to learning – such as study habits, or attention to task. The steps are:Defining the present and desired behaviors in measurable and observable term, finding effective reinforcers, developing an intervention plan, measurement of the behavior before and during treatment, monitoring and making modifications, phasing out of the treatment.
Burrhus Frederic Skinner Born March 20, 1904, Susquehanna, Pa., U.S. Died Aug. 18, 1990, Cambridge, Mass. Taught at Harvard University, University of Minnesota, and Indiana University Authored The Behavior of Organisms (1938), Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971) and the novel Walden Two (1948) Founded behaviorism, studied learning theory, and behavior modification methods Best known as inventor of the Skinner Box
Skinner’s Theory Learning is manifested by a change in behavior Behavior is a function of environmental histories of reinforcing consequences Positive and negative reinforcement Positive and negative punishment Reinforcements increase the probability of a behavior reoccurring Punishments decrease the probability of a behavior reoccurring
Analysis Analyzing the training needs and defining objectives Breaking each objective into smaller tasks Teacher centered instruction, Lectures, tutorials, drills, and demonstrations Rewarding correct responses early and often Giving immediate feedback and reinforcement Eliminating the delay between response and reinforcement Creating a positive and comfortable learning environment Programmed instruction and behavior modification
References Answers. (2011). B. F. Skinner. Retrieved from http://www.answers.com/ Kretchmar, J. (2008). Behaviorism. Behaviorism -- Research Starters Education (p. 1). Great Neck Publishing. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.