Week 4 Checkpoint - Skinner - no means of getting food, or...

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In the study of behavioral psychology, many think of the greats like Freud and Thorndike. However, in the field of American psychology, you would be remiss to neglect or discount the contributions that were made by B. F. Skinner. Skinner was born in 1904 in the small railroad town of Susquehanna, PA. It wasn't until Skinner has completed college that he experienced his first taste of psychology. During a short stay in New York City where he was working in a bookstore, he came across the works Pavlov and Watson, and became intrigued. He returned to college at the age of 24 when he enrolled into the Psychology Department at Harvard University. Through a series of experiments during his time at Harvard, Skinner discovered principles that have become widely accepted by the psychology community. One of these principles that Skinner discovered was to become known as superstitious behavior. During some experiments he conducted on a pigeon, he placed the bird into a box. Inside this box there were
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Unformatted text preview: no means of getting food, or interaction. During varying intervals, food pellets would be dropped into the cage. Skinner discovered that the pigeon began to repeat the actions that had taken place immediately prior to the food being inserted. From strutting, hopping, or standing on one leg, whatever action had been taking place leading up to the point when it received food, the pigeon would repeat. The theory behind superstitious behavior is that while the reinforcement, or action has no bearing on the outcome, the animal or human, will repeat that action in an attempt to replicate the previous outcome. Another contribution that Skinner made was in the way in which punishment was viewed. He concluded that punishment was only effective in suppressing behavior, not in changing it. He concluded that punishment for behavior would have significant drawbacks and other means of correction should be sought....
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This note was uploaded on 12/13/2011 for the course PSYCHOLOGY BEH/225 taught by Professor Marvel during the Spring '11 term at University of Phoenix.

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