Lecture_9.a - Lecture 9-Psychology of Personality B F...

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Lecture 9 -Psychology of Personality B. F. Skinner & Albert Bandura Skinner represented the height of the hard core Behaviorists. But the Cognitive Revolution was around the corner with Al Bandura. It was Al Bandura who showed that Skinnerian concepts were limited by their lackings. That thoughts can make a difference. That people can learn without doing and being reinforced. Bandura, together with a few colleagues at Stanford, was the tip of the cognitive spear. He was also my advisor during my graduate student career, in fact I was his last student. We published a few papers together and shared many conversations about Psychology and life. I remember, just after Skinner died, that a reporter called Al when I was in his office. The reporter asked Al how he felt being the last "living grandfather" of Psychology. Al laughed and simply said, "It's good to be living. B. F. Skinner Not so much a theorist as a scientist, Skinner held sway of Psychology in the 1940's and 1950's. His influence is still potent although much of his work was questioned by the Cognitive movement by Bandura and his colleagues. Skinner knew what he believed and really believed what he believed. His first name was Burrhus but professionally he was known as B.F. and to his friends as Fred after his middle name. B.F. Skinner (1904 – 1990) Early Life B. F. Skinner was born on March 20, 1904 in Susquehanna, a small railroad town in the hills of Pennsylvania just below Binghamton, New York. With one younger brother, he grew up in a home environment he described as "warm and stable". His father was a rising young lawyer, his mother a housewife. Much of his boyhood was spent building things - for example a cart with steering that worked backwards (by mistake) and a perpetual motion machine (the latter did not work). Other ventures were more successful. He and a friend built a cabin in the woods. For a door to door business selling elderberries, he designed a flotation system to separate ripe from green berries. When working in a shoe store during his high school years, he made a contraption to distribute the "green dust" that helped the broom pick up dirt. In high school, Skinner took an English class taught by Miss Graves to whom he was later to dedicate his book, The Technology of Teaching . Based on a remark by his father, he blurted out in class one day that Shakespeare had not written As You Like It , but rather Frances Bacon. When his teacher told him he didn't know what he was talking about, he went to the library and read quite a bit of Bacon's works. Bacon's championing of the inductive method in science against the appeal to authority was to serve him well later. First Encounters with Behavioral Science After attending Hamilton College, Skinner decided to become a writer. Moving back home he wrote little.
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