TravisMathenyUnit7Project

TravisMathenyUnit7Project - Behaviorism Running head: B.F....

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Behaviorism 1 Running head: B.F. SKINNER Behaviorism: The Psychology of B.F. Skinner Travis H Matheny PS210-03AU History of Psychology Kaplan University Professor, sally Gill November, 1, 2009
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Behaviorism 2 Behaviorism: The Psychology of B. F. Skinner Burrhus Frederic Skinner better known as B.F. Skinner was a very interesting psychologist whom contributed a great deal to the school of psychology referred to as behaviorism. Skinner was one of the 20 th century’s most influential psychologists and theorists. The goal of this paper will be to explain who B.F. Skinner was and how his theory evolved, as well as whom and what influenced his thoughts, thereby impacting the development of his theory. This paper will also address the important contributions that he made to the field of psychology and whether or not any of his key concepts are still used today. Skinner’s original love was with literature and his ambition was to be a great writer. Although his writing was good enough to have received compliments from the famous poet Robert Frost, after working on his writing for a couple of years he ultimately came to the realization that he really did not have anything of substance to say. He actually became quite depressed because he had thus far failed as a writer, or as he put it “he lacked success” (Schultz, 2008, p. 287). His self esteem had been obliterated and being rejected by a hand full of women in his search for romance certainly did not help, as a result of his depression he contemplated seeking help from a psychiatrist. Reading the work of Pavlov and Watson is what sparked his interest in the scientific study of human behavior. What specifically peeked Skinner’s interest were Watson and Pavlov’s experiments on human conditioning (Schultz, 2008, p. 288). As mentioned Ivan Petrovitch Pavlov was one of Skinners influences for his study of what Pavlov termed condition reflexes which is what incidentally earned him his place in psychology’s history books.
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Behaviorism 3 Pavlov discovered that his dogs would involuntarily salivate whenever they were given food. He reasoned that his dogs had become conditioned to salivating due to the stimulus which was the food, and he discovered later that they would also salivate from other stimuli such as the sound of the footsteps of someone coming to feed them. Also as mentioned another one of Skinners main influences was that of John B Watson who took the study of conditioned responses to the next level and he aimed to prove that all human behavior was a conditioned response learned from the environment. He proved this theory as it relates to human emotions through his work with a baby referred to as Little Albert. Watson was able to prove that emotional responses such as fear are learned. Watson conditioned little Albert to be afraid of a little white rat which ended up causing him to fear anything that resembled the white fluffiness of the rat, such as a rabbit, dog, a Santa beard and even Watson himself due to the fact that he
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This note was uploaded on 07/27/2011 for the course PSYCH 370 taught by Professor Lang during the Spring '11 term at Kaplan University.

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TravisMathenyUnit7Project - Behaviorism Running head: B.F....

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