Topical Blog Week #12 (due Thursday)

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What I would like you to do is to find a PERSON or TOPIC from chapter 11 that you are interested in and search the internet for material on that PERSON or TOPIC. Please use 3 or more quality resources.If you did a Person: Once you have completed your search and explorations, a) I would like you to say WHO your PERSON is, b) how exactly HE OR SHE fits into the chapter, and c) why you are interested in THIS PERSON. Next, I would like you to take the information you read or viewed related to your PERSON, integrate/synthesize it, and then write about it. At the end of your post, please include working URLs for the three websites. Keep in mind that it will be easier if you keep it to one topic.

If you did a Topic: Once you have completed your search and explorations, a) I would like you to say WHAT your TOPIC is, b) how exactly the TOPIC fits into the chapter, and c) why you are interested in THIS TOPIC. Next, I would like you to take the information you read or viewed related to your TOPIC, integrate/synthesize it, and then write about it. At the end of your post, please include working URLs for the three websites. Keep in mind that it will be easier if you keep it to one topic.

Additional instructions: For each url.(internet resource) you have listed. Indicate why you chose it and the extent to which it contributed to your post.

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The topic I chose to research for this week was neobehaviorism. This particular type of psychology fit into the chapter in that it was a new movement in behaviorism that immediately followed Pavlov and Watson's ideas of behaviorism and conditioning. It was a very important movement in American experimental psychology, and it lasted for quite some time. I found myself interested in this topic because it's basically a continuation of behaviorism, which I find to be fascinating. I also didn't know much about neobehaviorism before this chapter, so it was fun to learn more about it.

Prior to this research, I didn't fully understand the differences and similarities between the two types of behaviorism. I now know that while they are both fields of experimental psychology concerned mostly with the study of learning and observable methods. However, the neobehaviorists continued to go even further with it. While psychologists such as Watson believed that only observable events (those external to the individual) could be studied, neobehaviorism disagreed. The neobehaviorists insisted that unobservable, internal events were just as crucial - it is not only the environment that is important, but its interaction with the individual (and the individual's thoughts) as well.

Neobehaviorism's three main psychologists (Tolman, Hull, and Skinner) were also focused largely on learning. All human behavior is learned through modeling and direct/indirect observation. Whether the learning is conscious or unconscious, everything we do is learned from someone/something else. Skinner was perhaps the best-known of the neobehaviorists, and his approach was rather daring compared to the others. While Hull attempted to develop formal theories, Skinner rejected that idea and chose instead to rely solely on the observation of behavior. He introduced to us the concept of operant conditioning and the idea that behavior is hugely influenced by reinforcement. Skinner totally disregarded the idea of physiology, labeling it as unobservable and therefore unscientific.

After neobehaviorism's time in the spotlight, other types of psychology like cognitive psychology took over, criticizing neobehaviorism and its focus on learning. While neobehaviorism pretty much disregarded mental processes, these other types of psychology insisted that many things in human behavior have to be understood in terms of mental functions. However, though other types of psychology are perhaps more accurate, there is no question that behaviorism and neobehaviorism were one of the most influential varieties of psychology in history.
I normally would not use such a website for a resource, since it tends to be rather inaccurate. However, I found this particular answer to be well-researched and the resources they used seemed very valid. This basically just differentiated between behavorism and neobehaviorism, stating their similarities and differences.
This gave us a brief overview of Tolman and Hull's views on neobehaviorism. It shared how Hull differed from Watson as well.
This was a great website on neobehaviorism and its details. It also gave good information on the three main psychologists involved in neobehaviorism.

I chose to do schedules of reinforcement, and it fits into the chapter because it was one of Skinner's big areas of study on operant conditioning to see how differences in refinforcement affect behavior. I am interested in schedules of reinforcement because I wanted to get a little more in depth with it and see how behavior changed in animals and humans when reinforcement was not given nearly as often. For example I was curious to find out how the pigeon would behave if it was given food, or reinforcement, every fifty pecks instead of every five pecks in the skinner box.

Reinforcement isn't necessarily always a good thing like giving an animal or a child a treat. There are four types of reinforcement: positive, negative, punishment, and extinction. Positive reinforcement is basically giving something to someone that is pleasurable in order to increase the response of the behavior. Negative reinforcement can be seen as taking something negative away in order to increase a behavior such as nagging someone to perform a task, and once they completed the task to stop nagging them. Punishment is basically adding something negative to decrease a certain behavior. The main example is placing a child on time-out for misbehaving with the idea that the child will stop misbehaving so he/she won't have to go on time-out. The last form is extinction in which something is taken away in order to decrease the behavior. An example of this would be to take away a child's toy for misbehaving. Reinforcement can be on a regular schedule where the reinforcement is applied on a set schedule whether good or bad; this type of reinforcement is called continuous. Two types of continuous schedules exist: fixed ratio and fixed interval. In a fixed ratio reinforcement occurs after a specific number of behaviors has occurred. For example, asking a child to clean his/her room three times and on the third time punishing the child. A fixed interval reinforcement schedule occurs when a fixed amount of time has passed before applying the reinforcer. In this case it could be looked at as an employer gives raises every year and not in between. When reinforcement occurs on an irregular basis it is called variable schedules. Two types of variable schedules exist as well: variable ratio and variable interval. A variable ratio occurs when a reinforcer is applied after a variable number of responses. We can look at this in the example of gambling in which statistically a person will win sometimes, but it the person doesn't known how long between winning and losing will occur. A variable interval is reinforcing someone after a variable amount of time. If a person has a boss who checks their work periodically, the person has to be working hard at all times in order to be ready because they don’t know when the next ‘check-up’ might come. Skinner discusses the effectiveness of the variable ratio schedule in not only pigeons, but on humans as well because the variable ration schedule is at the heart of all gambling devices. He talks about how the pigeon can become a pathological gambler just as a person can. He says that by discovering that pigeons can become addicted to gambling as well just by removing a change in the schedule makes it easy to interpret the human case subject. He states "We don't say humans gamble to punish themselves or as Freudians might say that humans do it because they feel excited when they do so, but nothing of the sort. People gamble because of the schedule of reinforcement that follows, and this is true of all gambling systems. They all have variable ratios built into them." - This video is effective because Skinner actually talks about schedules of reinforcement in the video and how it relates to gambling. - This site did a good job of defining and explaining the different types of reinforcement. - This site contains many examples of using different types of reinforcement schedules in order to train pets. It was interesting seeing operant conditioning and schedules of reinforcement at work in attempting to train animals as pets.

I chose to look deeper into Skinner; his thought seemed always to express a practical, applied and technical side. He wanted to create a “psychology for all organism, from protozoa to human” ( “Skinner's social worldview illustrates both his aversion to free will, to homunculi, to dualism as well as his reasons for claiming that a person's history of environmental interactions controls his or her behavior” ( He designed his ideal society according to behavioral principles. Skinner rejects the idea that people can create their environment. He believes that it is set a certain way and cannot be changed. “Skinner protests that “it is in the nature of an experimental analysis of human behavior that it should strip away the functions previously assigned to autonomous man and transfer them one by one to the controlling environment” (
You can see his ideas put into reality when reading his book Walden Two. The main theme of the book is “dinner trays to marriage, is open to change if the right experimental evidence can be found” ( This idea that things aren’t arranged around what we want but are controlled by the world around us to make us happy. The community would elect a group of six people, 3 men and 3 women to make decisions for everyone. “All that a science of behavior does is try to wrest control away from the traditional forces--propaganda, advertising, education, social norms, and random chance--and into the hands of people who have a detailed knowledge of how to change behavior for the better” ( Many critics have pointed out that he was trying to make the people of this book into the rats of his experiments. He explained his ideal world as fiction which helped people better at accepting it than if it were to be non-fiction.
Many people over the years have tried to create the “perfect world”. In our society today there’s no way to create a world that is great for everyone. Skinner’s ideals would work best under a communist society, not a democracy. Unfortunately there are good and bad things about each type of government. Psychology is always changing and discovering new things to help improve our society. Maybe one day there will be a more “perfect society”, but with people’s free will taking control it is hard to really say it would ever be perfect. I looked to Sparknotes to see what Walden Two was about. It was very helpful because it gave synopses and analysis. this website was recently updated and gave its sources at the end. I took away from this website the ideas and criticism of Skinner’s worldview. It gave a long list of references and it used things directly from his research. It gave information on Skinner’s world view.

The topic that I chose to research is Molar Versus Molecular Behavior. This topic fits into the chapter because this chapter and others before it discuss behaviorism. I am interested in this topic because I want to learn more about the differences between molar and molecular behavior. I want to try and find how they correlate with one another. I think they work off each other and I want to gain more knowledge about that.

After researching various websites I can now see some relationships between molecular and molar behavior. While reading about this topic I was thinking how our choices could affect both molecular and molar behavior. Molecular behavior is small and simple movements. The best example that I can come with to illustrate that would be flexing one of your muscles. It could be any muscle. In fact right now I am making hundreds of molecular behaviors by punching each of these keys on the key board. However this is where I get confused and question the difference. Although it doesn’t take much more than a poke with a finger to punch a key, I am still doing it to achieve an outcome; therefore shouldn’t it be considered a molar behavior. Molar behavior is more of a meaningful behavior pattern. Going back to molecular behavior, many say that the movement patterns of a molecular behavior are too small to measure.

Now that I have a better understanding of what the two mean I was able to synthesize it all and come up with a couple of conclusions. First I believe that in order to have a measured behavior, there must first be many molecular behaviors. That is a simple and fair statement. Next where does molecular behavior start? I think many would believe that everything begins with a choice. Molecular behaviors are reactions to our brain sending signals to our body to perform a task. However I have another thought. I think that everything begins with a cause and after comes an effect. Perhaps we don’t have a control on our molar or molecular behavior. What if we are simply reacting to the needs to survive or something else that takes place in the universe? I believe that choice is an illusion created between something with power and something without power. Causality is one of the few constants in this universe. It is all around us. It is what makes us perform molecular and molar behaviors. We do not choose to do something until we have a cause for it. Sometimes those causes go unnoticed, but they are always there. Sometimes we do things for no reason at all we might say. The cause for those kinds of molar behaviors may be because we are bored and want to randomly do something. I think that there is always a cause for our behaviors. Our molecular and molar behaviors are reactions to that cause. Molecular and Molar behaviors work with each other to react to whatever the cause is.
This website helped me better understand the meanings of molar and molecular behavior. It demonstrated both of them clearly so I could picture in my mind what molar and molecular behaviorism looked like.
This website also demonstrated a difference between molar and molecular behavior. Along with that it brought into the picture the psychologists that formulated these types of behavior.
This just gave me an understanding of causality. I helped me bring together all my ideas about the topic I chose.

I choose to do further research on Clark Hull. Clark Hull fits into this chapter obviously because he was involved in behaviorism. He studied learning and motivation and the stimulus which evoked this reactions. This is also why I am interested in learning more about Hull; as a teacher this can be helpful when trying to engage my students.

Hull was one of the most influential behaviorists between 1940 and 1950. He was also interested in hypnosis. Hull was a very scientific man. He believed people were predictable, automatic and cyclical. There was no mention of the conciseness by Hull, only variables. Hull brought the importance of math and physics to the head of experimental psychology.

According to Hull behavior stemmed from reactions from one’s environment, which provides the stimuli for observable responses. Hull believed the stimulus stems from an intense need which stimulates behavior. The stronger the need, or motivation, the stronger or more frequent the behavior once a reinforcement is given.

To apply this to learning means there is a strong focus on reinforcement. For example I have recently learned four purposes students can have for their behavior; one of the intentions of a behavior can be to gain attention. If we look at attention or love as being a basic need, Maslow would say it is, then their behavior is the stimulated by the lack of attention they are receiving. If a student has been given attention for a disruptive behavior this behavior will get worse before it gets better if the teacher chooses to ignore it. This can be an example of Hull’s belief that states performance can be affected but learning will still occur.

For a period of time, Hull’s research and theories were at the forefront of learning theories, but this was short lived since by the 1960s his ideas were all but gone. One reason for its failure could stem from the complicated math involved in the theory. Also, this theory failed to fully address the question about motivation and was focused solely on rats.
I used this website for information on Hull’s beliefs on behavior regarding stimulus, response, and behavior.
I used this site for basic information on Hull especially if I didn’t understand something from another site.
I used this website for additional information on Hull’s learning theory particularly reinforcements.
I used this website for a more detailed look at all of Hull’s conclusions on his learning theory regarding drive and intention.

I decided to research Edward C. Tolman a little further. Tolman fits into the chapter because he was a behaviorist. However he did have his own different way of viewing behaviorism, with a little bit of gestalt. This is one of the reasons I found him so interesting because he did things a little differently by using the gestalt view to influence his behaviorist thinking.

Edward Tolman was born in 1886 in Newton, Massachusets. When Tolman went off to get a higher education he did not originally go into psychology (seems to be a theme amongst psychologists). He and his brother went into electrochemistry, but than realized after taking one psych class that he prefered that much more. Tolman has many contirbutions to psychology and a lot have to do with rats. His four most famous findings are: 1. cognitive map 2. latent learning 3. intervening variable and 4. subject use, that he used rats with.
Cognitive maps were shown they exisit in a rats mind when Tolman made a maze that had enterences A, B, C, D. When he put the rat in the A enterence and they learned that if they turn right at B they would get food, he decided to move them and start them in the C enterance to see if they would still turn right and end up in D with no food, or be able to change it around and turn to B. He was shown that rats do have cognitive maps and when they were put in enterance C they still turned to B to find the food.
Tolman also studied latent learning. He used rats again and with one he did not give a reward and with the other he did. He found that the rat who did not get a reward still knew the maze, and when the rate without the reward found an unexpected reward, the rat was able to know the maze more quickly. While studying latent learning Tolman found interevening variables that could effect certain aspects of his experiments. For example, the intervening variable in the above experiment was hunger, hunger mad the rat go even faster. Intervening varibales are not seen they are just measured and cause behavior.
I used this website for an overall look in Tolmans life. It had his most recognized achievments and information about what he studied and his experiments.
This website gave a timeline on Tolmans life, simply stateing when he went to college, what he studied what books he wrote etc. It also included a picture of the maze Tolman used to learn cognitive maps.
This was a fun experiment done that showed Tolmans cognitive map experiment more in depth.

I choose to do my blog research over different types of conditioning in psychology. In the chapter this topic really interested me because of the different types the chapter described as well what the different types of conditioning do. I thought this would be an appropriate topic because the chapter talks about behaviorism and conditioning in it. From my research I found that there are two main types of conditioning classical and operant.
Classical conditioning was first founded by accident in the laboratory of Ivan Pavlov. He founded conditioning after finding that dogs he was studying would salivate when he brought them food. He then began to ring a bell before he brought the dogs their food after a while the dogs were conditioned to salivate at the sound of the bell. Then Pavlov would ring the bell and not bring the dogs food, he found that the dogs still salivated at the ringing of the bell.
In my research I have found that there are various types of classical conditioning. The first type is forward conditioning this type of conditioning allows the subject to learn the fastest out of the various types. This is where the conditioning stimulus precedes the unconditioned stimulus like that of the bell before the salivation. Simultaneous conditioning is where the conditioned stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus are presented at the same time. Backward conditioning is a little different from the other types of classical conditioning. The conditioned stimulus follows unconditioned stimulus in this scenario the conditioned stimulus is usually meant to inhibit the unconditioned stimulus. During temporal conditioning a stimulus is presented as various time intervals throughout the experiment. The conditioned response occurs when it is correctly timed between unconditioned stimuli. During unpaired conditioning the conditioned stimulus and unconditioned stimulus are presented at random this approach is often used in sensitization. Lastly extinction occurs when the stimulus used in conditioning is taken away such as the bell in Pavlov’s experiment.
Operant conditioning is different from classical conditioning in that the behavior of the subject is modified voluntarily. Operant conditioning deals largely with reinforcement and punishment in the testing of the subject. There are four different contexts of operant conditioning. The first of these contexts is reinforcement or the rewarding of a desired behavior. Negative reinforcement is something negative occurring until the subject does the targeted behavior. An example of this would be a very loud noise that would continue until the subject being tested hit the correct lever. Positive punishment is another form of operant conditioning. In this form a behavior is reduced by introducing a negative stimulus after the behavior occurs like an electric shock. Negative punishment is the last form of operant conditioning. This works by removing a stimulus after an undesired behavior like taking a toy from a child after bad behavior, resulting in decrees of that behavior. Extinction can also be used in this type of conditioning when no stimulus results from a behavior. Such as if a lever is pressed and nothing happens, there is nothing positive to make it press it again but also nothing negative like a shock to make it not press it resulting in knowledge not to press the lever.
This resource I used to gain background knowledge on operant conditioning.
This resource I used to gain background knowledge on classical conditioning.
This resource I used to gain more knowledge on the different types of operant conditioning.

I picked to look up Clark Hull because his life story really interested me. He came from a background where a person would normally not have the chance to go anywhere, but he overcame it. I thought his ideas were also intriguing, even if they are not quite appreciated or used much today. I also had never heard about him before reading chapter 11, so I wanted to learn more.

Clark Leonard Hull was born on May 24, 1884 in Akron, New York. He was raised by a poor family on a rural farm in Michigan. He spent his early education in a one-room schoolhouse, where he would also teach for one year after graduating. He then moved on to the Alma Academy. After graduating from the academy, he contracted typhoid fever, and had to delay any further education for the next year.

After recovery, he was able to attend the University of Michigan to complete his undergraduate work. He had many bouts with illness, which included contracting polio at the age of 24. He became permanently paralyzed in his left leg, leaving him reliant on an iron brace and cane to walk. He had originally planned to study engineering, but his health struggles led him to turn his interests toward psychology because it required less labor. While his poor health and financial struggles led to several interruptions in his education, he eventually earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan at the age of 29.

In 1918, he was awarded his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison at 32 years old. He stayed at Wisconsin for ten years to teach. During this time, he began researching the measurement and prediction of aptitude. He left Wisconsin in 1929 for a position at Yale University, where he began his research on hypnosis and suggestibility. He was one of the first psychologists to empirically study hypnosis.

Also at Yale, he developed his most well known theory on behavior, drive reduction theory. He took certain ideas on conditioning from the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov, which provoked Hull to be interested in conditioned reflexes and learning. He also borrowed from American psychologists, including John B. Watson, who emphasized the objective study of behavior, and Edward L. Thorndike, who stressed the importance of reinforcement in learning. Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory also had an effect on Hull’s ideas.

Hull believed behavior occurs in response to "drives" such as hunger, thirst, sexual interest, feeling cold, etc. When the goal of the drive is attained (food, water, mating, warmth) the drive is reduced for a short time, until the drive returns. This reduction of drive serves as a reinforcer for learning. Being a true behaviorist, Hull was only interested in what was observable. He did not deny cognitive features such as purpose, ideas, intelligence, insight, values, or knowledge, but since these characteristics could not be directly observed, he did not include them as part of his theory.

Hull's Global Theory of Behavior was a mathematical formula explaining the relationship between a stimulus and how an organism responds. The formula looks like this: sEr = (sHr x D x K x V) - (sIr + Ir) +/- sOr He labeled this relationship as "E", a reaction potential, or as sEr.

Habit strength, sHr, is determined by the number of reinforces. Drive strength, D, is measured by the hours of deprivation of a need. K, is the incentive value of a stimulus, and V is a measure of the connectiveness. Inhibitory strength, sIr, is the number of non-reinforces. Reactive inhibition, Ir, is when the organism has to work hard for a reward and becomes fatigued. The last variable in his formula is sOr, which accounts for random error. Hull believed that this formula could account for all behavior, and that it would generate more accurate empirical data, which would eliminate all ineffective introspective methods within the laboratory.

Hull was criticized for his theories, saying that he generalized all behavior, including humans, with the observations he made with rats. Still, his ideas on behavior and his contributions to the methodology for experimentation in learning theory have led other psychologists to create new and expand on his theories. - This website gives a good description of his drive reduction theory in detail. - This site offers a lot of information on Hull’s background. - This source has good information on Hull’s career and theories.

This week I wanted to look more into Cognitive Maps. The book discussed them when describing how a mouse can take what it has learned about its current area and use that to help complete the maze faster than it normally would have. So naturally, the first website I went to showed me several examples of mazes and the impact that both rats and men have on cognitive maps themselves. This was interesting to me because it was something I did not think we could learn from rats because at the time it would be difficult to know exactly what was going on in their brain. It is much easier now with the technology we have and the machines we can use to study and analyze this information. There are not as many examples of this type of thing in the real world, but while I was reading about this in the book, I immediately made a connection to people and directions. Weather it is driving directions or simply walking around looking at a map there are ways to acclimate yourself to your new surroundings to help you grasp your location quicker. I have traveled with the same group of friends many times to new places and it always amazes me at the time it takes for them to become familiar with a new place, especially if we are going to be there over several days. I understand that it is different from person to person but I was shocked to see how much quicker I noticed it than they did or maybe it was simply their unwillingness to learn. This may not be the only example, and a small one at that, but I still think it is a good way to relate a scientific idea that we learned about in the book and relate it to a real world situation. This video provides a more in depth look at the scenario as a whole and uses the basic rat in the maze structure. It showcases a great soundtrack as well as providing dates to show how long this process took and the development that has been made. this was a cool video that does not really pay off until the end. We see the dog eventually figures out how to get to the woman with the camera, and we assume this is because the dog lives in that house for many years. While this is still impressive, it would be nice to see the attempt in a totally unfamiliar environment. this website was good for information and showed several examples of maps and mazes that helped paint a visual picture.

I’m doing my research on Clark Hull. I’ll be honest; I didn’t really read anything about him in the chapter. I was kind of more interested in Skinner than anyone. So to be fair and nice I decided I would give Hull a chance and read up on him.

May 24, 1884 the Hull family gained a new member, Clark Leonard Hull. He was born in Akron, New York but was raised on a farm in Michigan. Before Clark went to college he was educated at a small schoolhouse (that only had one room) in West Saginaw. Before he went off to Alma College he taught at the schoolhouse for a year. I guess he was getting a head start. His childhood years and school days were not all fun and games. His heath was not well off. Soon after he graduated from college he contracted typhoid fever and had to put his education on hold.

Things did not get better for Clark. At the young age of 24 he was diagnosed with Polio. The Polio caused Clark’s left leg to become paralyzed. As a result he had to walk with a cane and an iron brace. Along with his heath problem he also had some financial problems. His family was also struggling. This lead to another pause in his education, Clark was forced to take another year off to get better and to earn some money. He taught at a school to earn a little extra cash.

Before Clark was interested in the Psychology field he wanted to become an engineer. Because of his heath Clark turned to psychology instead. Even with his bad heath Clark received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree at Michigan University at the age of 29. A few years later at the age of 34 he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a Ph.D. That’s the college I want to go to for graduate school!!! That’s pretty awesome! :) Anyway, after he graduated he didn’t go too far. Actually, he didn’t go anywhere. Clark stayed at the University and became a faculty member. He held this position for the next ten years.

One of the first experiments that Clark worked on was tobacco and the effects it has on behavior. He was interested in behavior, I see how he fits into chapter eleven now. Not long after his first experiment he was offered a teaching job, which he happily accepted. The course was about psychological testing, which was called aptitude testing.

In 1929 Clark left the University to go teach and Yale. At Yale he was the research professor. Clark would also become one of the first people to study hypnoses. This only furthered his love for behaviorism. So it’s not a surprised that in 1933 Clark published a book called ‘Hypnosis and Suggestibility’. This book sounds like it might be interesting to read.
Clark used experimental analysis (I’m guessing his students) and statistics to come up with the findings for his book. He argued that there is no connection between sleep and hypnosis. Clark quoted “hypnosis is not sleep, … it has no special relationship to sleep, and the whole concept of sleep when applied to hypnosis obscures the situation". I always thought hypnosis was part of some form of sleeping. His main goal of studying hypnosis was to find improvements in either a person’s senses while under or the cognition aspect of it. While doing the research he came across an “Erika!” moment. He found that during the stage of hypnosis, a phenomenon would accrue. This being a form of pain brought on by mentally inducing it and memory. His most famous feature of hypnosis is being able to induce it while looking a person straight in the eye. That’s wicked. I think I’d be a little scared if someone just stared at me until I went under. It’s still super interesting though.

Clark received a medal called the Warren Medal for all his hard work in 1945. In 1952 on May 10, Clark passed away in New Haven, Connecticut.

Finding all this information made me realize that I like Clark. He had many struggles in his years but came a long way. What I like the most about him was his studies on hypnosis; I find that to be very interesting. This also makes me realize that I really should have read his part in the book because I probably would have found it interesting, might just have to go back and read it. --> despite the big Mario DS game that’s advertised in the middle (front and center) of the article it was an ok website, not my favorite of the three. But I did get a little information from it so it’s not all bad. --> this site and the site below go together like peanut butter and jelly! They are awesomely full of information and I learned a lot from both of the sites. Each one talks about the same thing BUT one of them fills in added information about the subject making it a detailed and worth it! :D --> pretty much said everything in the one above it. --> I couldn’t stay away, I had to use it! This is where I got the information for his book on hypnosis and his death.

I am going to be looking up further information on B.F. Skinner. He fits into this chapter because he was incredibly important to the advancement of behaviorism. I chose to learn more about him because I find behaviorism especially interesting and would like to learn more about the research Skinner did to advance behaviorism.

Burrhus Frederick Skinner (I’d want to be known as B.F. too) was born on March 20, 1904 to his father William, a lawyer, and his mother Grace, a housewife. He had a very old-fashioned upbringing but loved school unlike any child his age should have. He earned his BA in English from Hamilton College in New York. One thing I found to be interesting when looking more into Skinner was that he was an atheist and the school he attended, Hamilton, required daily visits to the chapel. After awhile of trying his luck at writing newspaper articles, he decided to move on and return to school. He went to Harvard where he received his MA in Psychology and a year later his PhD. After studying here for awile, he moved to Minneapolis where he taught at the University of Minnesota. He met his wife, Yvonne Blue, here and they had two daughters, Julie and Deborah, together. After traveling, he finally settled at Harvard where he stayed until his retirement, doing research and writing (on Psychology). He died on August 18, 1990 from leukemia.

Skinner was very influential on the science of behaviorism. He is well-known for the work he did on operant conditioning (reinforcement/punishment) and his operant conditioning chamber. This chamber taught animals, typically rats and pigeons, to press a lever in response to a stimulus, light or sound, which is presented to the animal. Once the animal emits the behavior, it is reinforced with food or some other reward. It is with this chamber, Skinner learned more about schedules of reinforcement.

Continuous reinforcement is reinforcement in which the animal emitting the behavior is rewarded every time the correct target behavior is being emitted. Intermittent reinforcement is reinforcement in which the animal is rewarded either each time a certain number of times the lever/button was pushed (ratio) or a certain amount of time the lever/button has been pushed (interval). These can also be a set amount or time or number of times pushed (fixed) or can vary each time (interval). Skinner found that the variable ratio was best at eliciting a response from the animal being studied and that the fixed interval was the least effective.
I used this site to learn about Skinner’s biography.
I used this sit to learn more about Skinner and his research, especially the operant conditioning chamber.
I used this site to learn more about schedules of reinforcement.
This video demonstrates well how Skinner used operant conditioning to train pigeons to elicit a certain behavior in response to a certain stimulus.

For the purpose of this assignment, I chose to research the life and works of Clark Hull. He fits into chapter 11 due to his work with behaviorism. I gained interest in researching Hull because of the way the book portrayed him. The section in the book about his life is not overly interesting. Because of this, I wanted to look deeper into, and see what he did during his lifetime.

Clark Hull was born in Akron, NY. His childhood home was a log farmhouse. When he was a toddler, his family moved to Michigan. When Hull was in his teen years, typhoid fever was the cause of death for many of his classmates. He was fortunate enough to continue his studies at Academy of Alma College. After 2 years of his studies, Hull himself contracted typhoid fever. The time needed for recovery kept him out of school for a year. When he was able to return to his studies, he took on a career as a mining engineer. While working in iron mines in Minnesota, Hull contracted polio at the age of 24.

Hull chose to study psychology because of the involvement of philosophy and the use of lab equipment. Once recovered from polio, he continued his studies. He received B.A. in psychology from the University of Michigan, and his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin.

Hull is well known for work in three types of research. One is aptitude testing. This was completed during his time at the University of Wisconsin. He then became a professor at Yale, and gained interest in hypnosis and suggestibility. He then developed several learning theories and published Mathematico-Deductive Theory of Rote Learning. He was influenced by Thorndike and Watson. Hull’s Hypothetico-Deductive Theory includes habit strength, evenly spaced trials, and reinforcement. HE tried to develop a learning theory that involved behaviors of both humans and animals. He saw human behavior as being mechanical.

I really enjoyed learning about the life of Clark Hull. He dealt with many struggles in his early life, and still made a lot of valuable contributions. This site was used to biographical reasons. It gave me a lot of step by step information about his early life I used this site as a biography check, as well as for information about his life before and after polio. This site gave me information about the work Hull did during his life. I used this site to gain more knowledge about Hull’s theories.

I chose the topic Neobehaviorism to do more further research. I find Neobehaviorism to be very interesting because I didn't know there was two types of behavior in psychology. I am not a psychology major, so when I read about this I was interested in what it is all about.

Neobehaviorism is different from behaviorism. The difference is Neobahiorists observe the behavior of individuals and the environment, while behaviorism just determines the environment of behavior.

Neobehaviorism is in experimental psychology and the movement lasted for thirty years 1930-1960. The psychologists that were neobehaviorists were Hull, Skinner, and Tolman. All three psychologists wanted to formalize the laws of behaviorism. One thing I found interesting and I didn't know was all three psychologists were influenced by the Vienna Circle, which was psychologists arguing that meaningful statements about the world couldn't be brought upon until a physical observation was done. All three psychologists had some part of being a part of the Neobahiorism.

The movement of neobehaviorism ended with knowing the importance of learning with animals and physical observations instead of just being in the experimental environment.
I learned that this movement was just about some psychologists looking at behavior in a different perspective, and in a different time maybe this movement would've lasted longer. this website gave a lot of detail about Neobehaiorism. gave a clear definition about what neobehaviorism was. this website gave a lot of insight on what exactly neobehaviorism is, and all three psychologists input.

I chose to write about B.F. Skinner, I am interested in his biography, where he is from, who his family is and where he went to school. This relates to the chapter in that B.F. Skinner was a leading psychologist in Behaviorist psychology and made many contributions to the field of psychology.
Burrhus Frederic Skinner was born March 20th, 1904 to William and Grace Skinner. He was born in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. Skinner was also not very fond of religion after a poor experience with religion at his school. Skinners brother Edward, died of cerebral hemorrhage, and for anyone this probably can dramatically affects one’s life and experiences.
In 1936 Burrhus married. His wife’s name was Yvonne Blue. They had to daughters Julie and Deborah. The couple moved shortly after their marriage to Minnesota where he had his first teaching job. Skinner was also involved in a brief project in working on a missile guidance system for the government during World War II but it was cancelled shortly after.
One interesting piece of information I found in my research of Skinner was his device called the baby tender that he created for his daughter Deborah so that she could be warm, while not being wrapped in numerous blankets during the very cold Minnesota winters. This device was published in an article in 1945 in the Ladies Home Journal, and was titled “Baby In a Box” or something along those lines.
Through the reading there seems to be a stigmatism about psychologist’s children and how they are raised and turn out as adults. I have not done any research to see how skinners children have turned out, but there were some mentions of Watson who did some pretty terrible things or so I have read. - This website provided interesting information about B.F skinners baby tender, a device he created for his daughter that was misinterpreted. I chose this source because it provides a lot of basic information over Skinners life, and provides other sources to look at that might provide useful information. - this website provided some minor details that differed from the Wikipedia website that might be useful in researching for biographical information on skinner.

A) Project Pigeon
B) Project Pigeon was one of B.F. Skinner’s first projects.
C) I hate birds. I like thinking about them in war. (please don’t judge)

I can’t believe this is what I decided to do my topical blog on, but I did. I decided to do it on the top secret mission of Project Pigeon. I hate birds. I don’t know whats wrong with me, but I think I like thinking about birds and war and perhaps dying. Ok, I know that’s not exactly how Project Pigeon worked. The pigeons were actually used as directors of missals. They did this by pecking a screen. Wherever the pigeon pecked at on the screen is where the missal would fire. This was the first technology (if you can call pecking birds technology) of its kind. Up until now, there was now system the could guide a missal.

The pigeons were trained to do this by operant conditioning by B.F. Skinner. The pigeon’s pecking was reinforced by good (grain pellets to be exact.) Skinner thought of the idea while he was studying at the University of Minnesota. He came to the question of whether birds could be trained as navigators or not.

The pigeons pecked reliably even though there were plenty of distractions around them, including loud noises from the combat of the war. This project was put in place for World War II. I found an excellent video on YouTube which showed great pictures of the project. It shows how the missals and lens worked and how they attached things to the pigeons heads to help control their pecks. However, the video is definitely not in English, haha. So I just muted to the video and thought of it as more of a slide show, rather than an actual website.

Even though the project ended up being cancelled in the end, in the beginning the National Defense Research Committee provided twenty five thousand dollars worth of funding. This was a lot of money back in the 1940’s. The cancellation of this project eventually ended up to one of Skinner’s most popular study, the Skinner Box.
This website was useful and gave a great overview of Project Pigeon.
This video showed great pictures of Project Pigeon for a better understanding.
Though this website mainly talked about Skinner, it did provide some useful facts about Skinner’s contribution to Project Pigeon.

The topic that I chose to research this week is molar behavior. I chose to research this topic because I liked the way it was discussed in the book. From the book Tolman was one of major psychologist to study molar behavior during this time. Tolman emphatically rejected the beliefs of Watson and, sought to prove Watson wrong in his research. In my research I found that molar behavior is best described as the product of a particular organism’s history. I was also able to look at some current research on molar behavior and, the researcher who provided it.
Going along with the way Tolman felt about molecular behavior he went into depth about what he called his field theory. This theory simply stated that as organisms do things they begin to create maps of the environment. These maps of the environment make it possible to do things again in the same way base off prior knowledge. He also went on to say that all of these things were based off the fact that actions were derive from a specific goal.
The first question that needs to be answered when thinking about the concept of molar behavior is what makes it relevant. Molar behavior is relevant because it goes against the concept of molecular behavior which states that behavior can be understood by focusing on what occurring at the moment. The key factor of molar behavior being that it is something that is a pattern of history over time. The example used in describing this was about love. It said that you do not just start loving someone it is a feeling that is developed.
One researcher in this area is Howard Rachlin. Rachlin did research that focused on the operant behavior of pigeons. He placed pigeons in a box in which there were two buttons they could peck to get food. The button that gave out food at a faster rate gave out less food while the other button took longer but gave a lot more food. The pigeons eventually began to forget about the smaller more immediate reward and only go for the larger one. This research showed that past behaviors influence present ones making the concept of molar behavior valid. - brief summary of who Rachlin was. - discussed the work that Rachlin did with the pigeons. - helped me better understand what molar behavior is. - talked more about Tolman’s beliefs

In chapter 11 I decided to choose B.F. Skinner to look into further. I have heard so much about him in other classes I wanted to see if their is more information about him and his studies on behavior or what other things he has helped to add to the field of psychology. \
B.F. Skinner has helped to further the understanding of behavior and conditioning. He has identified operant conditioning and Type S conditioning. He soon used his research and studies to attempt to help with the WWII war effort. He began what was called Project Pigeon. He wanted to train pigeons to guide bombs to their targets. His project tho was canceled due to another top secret project that eventually lead to the development of radar which better served the armies purposes than pigeons. However, Skinner did not go with out learning anything from this project and soon understood that pigeons learned far faster than rats in experiments.

Skinner also seemed to be quite the inventor as well and pondered new gadgets as much as doing his behavioral work. After his pregnant wife's asking he soon created a new crib. He called it the baby tender and attempted to market it but the company changed the name to baby in a box and controversy soon followed and rumors spread that he was in fact using the crib to experiment on his newborn infant daughter as he he did with the Skinner boxes that were discussed in this chapter. Skinner did no such thing of course and truly believed his invention could help to produce happier and healthier children.

I was also interested in just seeing the skinner boxes and experiments in pigeons in action. I found a few videos that gave me a better idea into what they did to condition pigeons and some of the experiments that they did.

Skinner Boxes/Pigeon Experiments

Baby in a Box information,9171,909996,00.html

B.F. Skinner Foundation

I have decided to do research on Clark Hull. Clark Hull fits into the chapter as an American psychologist who did in depth research on motivation and learning in humans. This is done by scientific laws of behavior. I am interested in learning more about this person because while learning about the history of psychology, I feel that it is something new to incorporate scientific laws of behavior.

Clark Leonard Hull is an American psychologist that was born in 1884 in the town of Akron in New York. Once in college, he went to the University of Michigan and received his bachelor's and master's degrees. In 1918 he received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before initially attending college, he almost died of typhoid fever then during college had polio which at the age of 24 left him partially paralyzed. Hull taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

A well known book used for the learning of his students is Mathematico-Deductive Theory of Rote Learning and Principles of Behavior. Both of these published researches put emphasis on animal learning behavior as well as conditioning. In biological terms of this animal phenomenon, Hull says that "Organisms suffer deprivation. Deprivation creates needs. Needs activate drives. Drives activate behavior. Behavior is goal directed. Achieving the goal has survival value.

A well known study conducted by Hull is a study of the processes involved in learning new concepts. For this experiment, Hull used Chinese characters as stumuli. These Chinese characters were each put in a row based off of having a common feature which is known as a "radical." The subjects used in this study were to learn how to associate a nonsense sound with the corresponding radical. Over time, the subjects became familiar with pairing the radical and the nonsense sound, eventually identifying various stimuli that they had not seen before. To Hull's surprise, the performance of the subjects improved gradually but steadily. As well as a great study, this was also Hull's doctorate dissertation. He then completed his doctorate at the age of thirty-four.

Hull created the hypothetico-deductive system. This system has a set of postulates that are based off of behavior. From what can be found in the book and in additional links, postulate four, Habit Strength, is very lengthy and can not be read within a small period of time. Here is a small paragraph of the fourth postulate-

"Whenever an effector activity and a receptor activity occur in close temporal contiguity and this is closely associated with the diminution of a need or with a stimulus which has been closely and consistently associated with the diminution of need, there will result an increment to a tendency for that afferent impulse on later occasions to evoke that reaction. The increments from successive reinforcements summate in a manner which yields a combined habit strength which is a simple positive growth function of the number of reinforcements."

This summary according to Hull explains contiguity and reinforcement. Learning is made possible when there is a close contiguity between stimulus and response.

Interestingly, Hull did studies on Hypnosis. He studied this through experimental analysis as well as statistical analysis. Hull did come to conclusions about a lot of the misconceptions of hypnosis. First, hypnosis was not related to sleep. A person was not sleeping while under hypnosis. Hull rather proposed that this was not hypnosis at all, but the power of suggestion and that this influence was induced psychologically.

Clark Leonard Hull died in Connecticut on May 10th of 1952.
Information about Hull and his life as well as a few experiments.
Information about the life of Hull and education
Information about past experiments and life of Hull

I chose to learn more about Clark Hull. I chose him because he stood out to me as one of the most ambitious researchers so far in this book. His story is what locked me in with interest. He was raised in an impoverished family and almost died of typhoid fever right before starting his college education. And if that wasn't trying enough to his health, he managed to get polio in his second year of college which left him partially paralyzed at the young age of 24. This wasn't going to stop him from making a name for himself, however. He obviously went on to do great things in the psychology world, which is why he fits greatly into this chapter. He worked on aptitude testing, hypnosis, and, his dissertation topic, learning.
His studies on hypnosis really struck my interest. I find hypnosis to be extremely fascinating, and to learn that he was studying it way back in the 1920's is crazy cool! His research stood apart from any other fluke about hypnosis that it was thought to be. He came out with a book about hypnosis that had actual data in it that made a lot of people less, "this hypnosis stuff is just for entertainment", to, "oh, there's more intellectual things going on here". Hull believed that his book on hypnosis was worth doing for the advancement of science, and believed that it would be quoted for one hundred years. Its now still being quoted and thought about, as he said himself.
I found something very interesting about Hull that interested me. Hull worked with, what is said to be one of his most famous students, named, Kenneth Spence. What is interesting about him, to me, is that Mr. Spence went to the University of Iowa!! Awesome!! Turns out he later became a collaborator with Hull, working on, principles to varieties of behavioral processes, including an analysis of anxiety. One of his more major contributions of Hull's behaviorism studies was his explanation of discrimination learning.
One of Hull's more "best known" works, was his work on the Drive Reduction Theory. Drive Reduction Theory means that behavior occurs in response to "drives" such as hunger, thirst, sexual interest, feeling cold, etc. Once the drive is met, than the "drive" is reduced for a short period of time. The reduction of the drive is the reinforcer for learning. Thus making this theory, a "reinforcement theory of learning". Hull was criticized on his theory because he used rats to prove it. The critics didn't believe that human behavior could be related at all to rats.
--This is where I got most of my information about his hypnosis studies.
--This is where I learned about Kenneth Spence and his contributions of Hull's work.
--I got most of my drive reduction information from here.
--I got other additional information from our text book.

I decided search more information about BF Skinner.He is a very important figure who has contributed a significant amount to the school of behaviourism in psychology.He fits into the chapter as well because the chapter is about the evolution of behaviourism and the knowledge about behaviourism is not complete without BF Skinner.To be specific i chose to write about him because i wanted to know more about his life and background.
BF Skinner was born near New York and was initially a student of literature.He went to Hamilton college to get a degree in literature.Eventhough he studied literature and was interested in it ,he did not find success in the field.Thus,he went back to school to harvard university where he enrolled in the psychology program.He did research after working in a biological lab.Skinner designed the famous skinner boxes while working there as well and came up with the concept of operant conditioning.This concept basically states that behaviour is a function of consequence.Skinner also established concepts called reinforcement and punishment in relation to ones behaviour and how they play a role in the occourance of a particular behaviour.
He also wrote a number of books,keeping his interest in literature alive.Skinner also taught at the University of minnesota and did further research on pigeons.
He was very radical about his ideas about behaviouism were rather staunch.He accomplished a lot in his career and made a name for himself.Even today the topic of behaviourism is not complete without Skinners operant conditioning.

This website had information on the various personal and professional aspects of skinners life

Thid website had quality information about skinners personal life.

This website is the BF Skinner foundation website,hence had a vast amount of information about his life and achievements.

This week I chose to do more research on B.F. Skinner’s Project Pigeon. I found this to be interesting because I’ve only heard about Skinner’s work with rats in the Skinner box, never anything else beyond that. Project Pigeon, as we learned in this chapter, was Skinner’s first full-scaled attempt to develop a behavioral technology.

During WWII the military was looking for ways to guide their missiles. Upon hearing this news, B.F. Skinner decided to take on the project and was finally granted $25,000 to do research to aid the military. This funding allowed Skinner to pursue the development of a guidance system using pigeons to direct missiles towards targets. This system involved a lens at the front of missile projecting an image of the target to a screen inside, while a pigeon trained to recognize the target pecked at it. As long as the pecks stayed in the middle of the screen, the missile would fly straight. However, if the pecks were off-center, this would cause the missile to change its course. The pigeons were trained through operant conditioning, one of Skinner’s fundamental principles. The Skinner box was phase one for the pigeon. On the computer screen a target would appear and it was up to the pigeon to peck at the target when it was in the center of the screen. Other targets included no target or an unattended target. When the pigeon pecked at the appropriate target in the middle of the screen the outcome was positive reinforcement with food. After the pigeons were able to choose the correct target time and time again, it was time to move on to phase two. During this phase, there was no box, the pigeons were now in a small tube, barely large enough for them to fit inside. While in the tube, the pigeons were again shown the targets on a screen which continued operant conditioning. Skinner realized that he needed to present the pigeons to the real life situation of the matter so he exposed the pigeons to combat conditions. Some examples were, vibrations, forces of gravity, and the intense sounds of war. Once making it through this phase, the pigeons were off to phase three. This put the pigeons were put in the cockpits of the missiles they would be flying in. The mechanism of steering was simple; this is when the pigeons would peck at the lens located inside the missile and through their operant conditioning would peck at the center of the screen, if they were off, as mentioned before, the missile would then change its course. The lens would tilt as the pigeon pecked at it. This in turn would send a signal to the missiles fins to adjust in order to get it back on course. For the most part, the pigeons were accurate. To try and remove any errors that could be made, Skinner used the thought of three is better than one; which led to him having three cockpits in one missile. Here, if one pigeon made an error, the other two could make up for it. The project had very successful results. However, the military did not embrace this idea.

Despite the success Skinner had with the pigeons, the program was cancelled due to little support. The project team was poorly supervised and there was a lack of technical support. They also had very little support in the military circle. The military decided to lean more towards electronics because they were nervous about a bunch of armed pigeons flying in the sky. However, the research still stands. : I always like being able to view YouTube videos just because I learn a lot better by being able to visually see what is going on rather than just reading it word for word. This link was extremely helpful in explaining the three phases and everything in between during the operant conditioning of the pigeons in Project Pigeon. : This link was helpful because it gave more detailed information about the endorsement as well as adding the cancellation of the project. : I liked this link because it gave information on where the military was coming from and why they decided to get rid of Project Pigeon.

A behavioral psychologist that I found interesting was B.F. Skinner. He fits into this chapter because he was a behavioral psychologist. He did a lot of things that were very out of the ordinary and was criticized for it, but still pursued his research. B.F. Skinner was born in 1904 and went to college to be a writer originally at Hamilton College. He eventually went on to Harvard to receive his PhD, and he wasn’t very interested in psychology until he met Fred S. Keller who was a Harvard grad that introduced him to behavioral psychology.

One of Skinner’s controversial mechanisms was his “air crib” that he used for his second child. This was a crib designed to maintain a comfortable temperature allowing the child to only need to wear a diaper. Many people were against this idea and thought it was inhumane. I think it is a but strange, but I do not believe it is bad. Skinner was making his child be at a comfortable temperature at all times. This probably allowed the child to be more content, because she was neither too hot or too cold which would likely have caused her to cry.

Skinner is most known for his research with operant conditioning and the skinner box. This was an apparatus that Skinner invented that was able to test what rats could understand as well as learning about operant conditioning. Skinner placed the rats in this cage and the rat had to hit a lever to get food. When they received the food this was a reward which reinforced the behavior. He took this a step further and placed a light in the cage and they could only receive their reward (food) if the right color light was on. If it was not they would receive a shock. This was able to test the rats ability to see color. He also moved to experimenting with pigeons as well. Skinner wanted to use pigeons to guide missiles to their target for the U.S. government, but it ended up falling though.

Skinner’s work for behavioral psychology has made a big impact on this field. His work was controversial, but we learned a lot through it. The idea of opperant conditioning is still used today, and we focus on rewards and punishment. If it wern’t for Skinner and his out of the box ideas, we would not know what we know today, which is why I find him so interesting. this talked a lot about Skinner’s air crib this gave a nice overview of Skinners’s background and his research. gave a good overview of behaviorism.

I chose to examine BF Skinner and his techniques (In particular the Skinner Box). Operant conditioning has four important terms: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, punishment, and extinction.

It seems as though negative reinforcement was the trickiest of the four concepts since negative implies something bad. Negative reinforcement is very different from punishment, since it is the removal of some stimulus or negative consequence in order to strengthen the subject’s behavior. The example I found most often was in relation to Skinner’s experiment. The rat would be shocked, and when the rat pressed the bar, the shock would go away. The rat then learned that doing some behavior (pressing the bar) would make the negative stimulus (the shock) go away. Negative reinforcement.

Punishment, on the other hand, is the addition of a negative stimulus (for example: the shock) to discourage some behavior.

I liked seeing the variations of the Skinner Box and the applications. One student used the Skinner Box to teach a rat to turn five times before pressing the bar.

Casino gambling slot machines have been likened to a human version of a Skinner Box – the person puts in a coin, pulls a lever, and every so many pulls, a reward is (usually) received. Some have criticized this comparison as incomplete.

Operant conditioning has permeated our culture, so much so that I could find no end to the references in television programs. My favorite was the Big Bang Theory when Sheldon trained Penny using chocolates:

I’m going to try something different and post a video that is INCORRECT. Ironically enough, I learned a lot from this link, but only because the people in the comments corrected the mistake made by the filmmaker. Thanks to them, I’ll never forget what negative reinforcement means. - used because it explained the different categories related to operant conditioning, specifically negative reinforcement and punishment. - used for its overall information on Skinner and operant conditioning

I wanted to find out more about B. F. Skinner, one of the most recognized behaviorists. My mom (who just turned 84 last week) was actually a psychology major (though she went on to become and retire as an elementary school teacher), and I used to make jokes about Skinner’s influence on her. I also didn’t think that I really grasped where Skinner was coming from by reading the chapter, so I thought I would do a little more research on him.

Reading about Skinner, I became interested in applying his own stimulus/response analysis to the man himself. For example, how did Skinner get into behavioral psychology in the first place? He originally wanted to be a writer, taking his BA in English Literature. So what happened?

According to Boeree, Skinner didn’t fit in well as an undergrad, “not enjoying the fraternity parties or the football games.” Looking at the photo in the text, that is not hard to imagine: his forehead was absolutely huge (like the alien overlords in cartoons and movies). Talk about an ‘aversive stimulus’! “When he graduated, he built a study in his parents’ attic”, intending to spend a year trying to become a writer (Boeree; HMP, 383). I suppose that’s not as bad as the basement, but still: the guy is sounding pretty creepy by this point.

Goodwin explains that parental pressure and doubts concerning his own talent eventually caused Skinner to abandon his literary pursuits (HMP, 383). Wikipedia expands on this, saying that Skinner “concluded that he had little world experience and no strong personal perspective from which to write” (Wikipedia, B. F. Skinner, Biography).

I thought that this was revealing, from a stimulus/response standpoint, regarding Skinner’s own belief in stimulus/response as the sole descriptors of behavior. That quote from Wikipedia suggests that Skinner felt that he had experienced too little stimulus from the wider world to develop as a writer. Personally, I don’t think that sitting in the attic would be much help with that.

Yet while sitting in the attic, Skinner “read a number of popular articles on behaviorism, and this led him to Watson and Pavlov” (HMP, 383). And so developed Skinner’s interest in behaviorism. Sometimes you read something and it just ‘clicks’ with your own private understanding of how the world operates. This appears to be what happened with young Skinner (though this would conflict with Skinner’s view that personality has no bearing on behavior [B.F. Skinner And Behaviorism]).

Skinner eventually did fulfill his youthful dream of becoming a fiction writer, however, by writing Walden II. Boeree summarizes the basic precepts of the book in this way: “The bad do bad because the bad is rewarded. The good do good because the good is rewarded. There is no true freedom or dignity.” (The inhabitants of Walden II are rewarded for good behavior, but not punished for bad behavior [HMP, “Close-Up: A SKINNERIAN UTOPIA”, 392-393].)* Clearly, Skinner felt that he was rewarded for his work in psychology (being named the most influential psychologist of the 20th century [HMP, 393; Wikipedia), and not so much by his aspirations to become a writer of fiction.

*As Dr. Ken Tangen explained, this is because rewards generalize to behavior (and model additional positive behaviors), whereas punishments are effective only when the punisher is present (and also model additional negative behaviors). Negative behavior can only be extinguished by removing the reward for said behavior and replacing it with rewards for positive behavior.

Wikipedia: B. F. Skinner
Biographical info on Skinner and capsule entries on his work and accomplishments.

“B. F. SKINNER, 1904 - 1990", Dr. C. George Boeree, Professor Emeritus, Psychology Department, Shippensburg University
Developed by Boeree for his students of Personality Theories; biographical info on Skinner and summary of Walden II.

"B.F. Skinner And Behaviorism, A biography of the late B.F. Skinner, an American, whose Theory of Behaviorism had an enormous impact on the science of Psychology", Demand Media, 2011
Skinner on personality.

"If You Know Nothing About Personality 08: Skinner", Uploaded by kentangen on Mar 16, 2010
Explanation of behavioral consequences of reward and punishment in operant conditioning.

When trying to find someone to talk about, well it was simple and easy. I love B.F. Skinner and everything that he did. Skinner was a great influence and one who should be talked about often. I feel that every time one talks about Skinner, I learn something new. Last time I read about Skinner I learned about the Air Crib.
B.F. Skinner was born on March 20, of 1904 in a small railroad town in the hills of Pennsylvania. He had one younger brother and grew up in a home environment which many times is described as warm and stable. His father, who I found to be interesting, was a lawyer and his mother was a housewife. While growing up he was able to spend most of his time building things. Once he built a cart that the steering worked backwards and a motion machine. Latter in his years B.F. Skinner and his friend built a cabin in the woods. Later in high school he worked for a show store and made a contraption to distribute “green dust” which helped the broom pick up the dirt. I found this to be very interesting because even as a child he was thinking about cleaver ideas and think to make that others would not have thought about. He was a very creative child and was able to explore with various items and tools.
Throughout college he continued to make inventions and have new creative ideas. Skinner constructed apparatus and after apparatus his rats’ behavior suggested change. From there Skinner invented the cumulative recorder. This was a mechanical device that recorded every response as an upward movement of a horizontally moving line. Due to this he was able to come up with the term operant conditioning.
Later in his years (1936), he married at the age of 32 and moved to Minnesota where he had his first teaching job. Even though a war was occurring Skinner was eager to continue to have ideas with science. He though that he would be able to train pigeons to guide bombs. He was able to train them to peck at the target that was holding onto the missile but this idea was discontinued. This was discontinued because there was a better way of dispersing the missiles (secret) which Skinner was unaware of.
Skinner was able to invent something that many known as the Air Crib, or the Baby Tender. This happened in 1943 and his wife was pregnant again. This idea came from his wife, she knew that her husband had a wonderful talent with making things and wanted to know if he could make something that was safer than the typical crib. He did and was very proud of what he had invented. Skinner mad an enclosed heated crib with a Plexiglas window. His daughter Deborah had a playpen that she spent much time in and was only in the bed when it was time to sleep. Towards the end of his life there were many rumors saying that what he did(putting her in the Air Crib) caused his daughter to commit suicide and go carzy. However he never experimented on any of his children and was a very amazing father. As for Deborah she was a successful artist that lives in London with her husband!!! On the plus side the cribs were commercial dispensed and it is estimated that 300 children were raised in such cribs. They were able to track down 50 people that used the air cribs and all results were positive and the parents enjoyed using such a great invention
Though the years of making things he was able to make the Skinner box, a teaching machine and many other things. Skinner deciding to make the teaching machine was something that sparked many people’s interest. The field of education was able to embrace this new teaching method. The teaching machine simply presented problems in random order for the students to do. There would be feedback after each one as well. This machine mainly gave more practice on skills that were already learned. The students were able to respond better to material that was broken up into small parts. I found this very interesting because I have not heard about this yet. I was able to find something interesting that I did not know about.
This site was able to give me information just about Skinner and his years growing up and getting old!
This gave me more insight about the Air Crib and the positives and benefits of it.
Again I was able to know more about the Air Crib. Which I am infatuated with because its just amazing how someone can make such a great invention.
This was about their child Deborah who many people many rumors about, and how she was a lab rat. In this she is able to tell people about her great childhood and positive side to the things that her father did.

I was interested in Skinner and the operant [chamber]. I am interested because the description of his method development assist me in identifying differences between and operant, and classical conditioning discussed earlier in our textbook. I am in study of education, and am interested in creating safe, learning environments for students. Thus.

I attended a resident teachers panel with 4 guest speaker educators from the Cedar Valley area this week and I was reminded that “every day is different.” I discussed with Zoe, my roommate later in a conversation @ “r. pagoda” (our house), concerning opinions on operant [classrooms], control, forces, procedure, and small-large scale utopia. Since establishing that there is a bias and much ado about reducing bias, psycho-scientists have reduced the occurrence we discuss in class of cool incidents when psychologists do experiments on themselves, or their own children. There is a certain oddness to this, when we don’t think we exactly know the unknown particular intentions of a person for a particular set of behaviors. Are we wearing our “parent hat” or “scientist hat” or
“councilman hat” or “citizen hat” or “economist hat”? What is our purpose? Sorry….austerity complex. What’s the point?”

What I took away in summary is that the challenge of becoming an operant [earth] is that we all can’t get inside. So the opposite happens and gravity forms “untopia” into a reciprocal vacuum balloon and pops, unlike a bubble gum bubble blowing bubbles, like earth’s core creation.

So my educational day dreams I am able to discontinue pursuing the outer limits of an operant [classroom], and instead focus on pursuing the inner limits of myself as a classroom [operant].


Resident Teachers of Cedar Valley Panel. Ms. Luck (Hoover Middle School). Schindler Education Center. Cedar Falls, IA. November 9, 2011 @ 1700-1750 hrs.

Piece of Conversation. ZahZah Zoe (UNI Senior). r. pagoda on Franklin St. Cedar Falls, IA. November 9, 2011 @ 2013-2054 hrs.
check out “teaching machine” portion

While reading chapter 11, the topic of explanatory fictions interested me a great deal. The definition that the book gave was this: a tendency to propose some hypothetical internal factor mediating between observable stimuli and measurable behaviors and then to use the factor as a pseudo-explanation for the behavior. To me, that seems a bit wordy. So I turned to internet for a more simple explanation. This is what I found on An explanatory fiction is a work of fiction that attempts to explain the causes of a real event. So the example I thought of relates to homelessness. A person may ask “Why is that person homeless and sleeping in the street?” And one may answer “He’s a drunk.” To me, this would be an example explanatory fiction. It may be true that this homeless person drinks every day and he may even be a “drunk.” But that response doesn’t really answer the question. An example of a statement that really answers the question would go something more like this, “After losing his job due to the economy, he could no longer make his mortgage payments and his house was foreclosed on. He had no other choice but to live on the streets.” So saying he is a “drunk” is just a label whereas the latter answer is the explanation. And just to be clear, this person could drink every day BECAUSE of his current situation, not due to his previous one. Also in researching this chapter, I enjoyed reading about the air crib and more about the teaching box that we discussed in class.

I chose to write this blog about Skinner's work with animal superstition, because we usually think of superstition as something exclusively human. I could be wrong here, but I tend to think of superstition as a part of a larger cognitive process with an evolutionary past.

Skinner created superstitious behavior in pigeons by reinforcing them at regular time intervals (fifteen or twenty seconds) regardless of what behavior they were emitting. The pigeons associated their actions with food, and so continued whatever behaviors they were emitting at the time over and over again. Some of them would spin around and around in the cage, or lift their heads repeatedly.

So why does the pigeon behave this way? It does not emit superstitious behavior merely because it wants food. It emits superstitious behavior because it connects the concept of food with that behavior, and continues to connect the two concepts even though the behavior does not always lead to food. I think Skinner tapped into a cognitive process (though he would not think of it that way) called confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias is the process of counting the "hits" and ignoring the "misses". The classic example is the TV psychic/medium trying to cold read an audience: "I'm getting a J sound, someone whose name starts with the letter J, maybe the letter G..." That may have been a hit, let's say someone has a dead grandfather named John (as a side note, does anyone *not* have a dead grandfather named John?). "I'm getting something involving water, did John like to swim? Did he own a boat or something? Maybe he liked to ski?" Well it turns out John lived in Colorado, and was an avid snow skier. That's three (arguably four) misses, and one hit (kind of), but he doesn't lose the audience. They're blown away, because it looks like he pulled "skiing" out of nowhere! I'll link to a John Edward video at the bottom so you can see what I mean.

The pigeon associates food with a behavior, so it tries to emit the behavior again. Let's say it receives food for that one, but maybe not the next one. As long as it receives reinforcement before it undergoes extinction, it will continue to emit the behavior (this is called the extinction curve). I think the extinction curve can be described in terms of confirmation bias: how many misses does it take for confirmation bias to break down? How many times does John Edward have to fall on his face in front of a live audience for them to realize that he's cold reading?

From an evolutionary perspective, confirmation bias is very helpful. It makes intuitive sense that the pigeon would have some kind of genetic hard-wiring to first associate its own behaviors with food rather than attributing the food to chance (because if it really is due to the behavior, it will emit the behavior again and be fed again), but also to persist in that association in the face of contrary evidence, because that persistence might pay off in the wild. Let's say a bird knocks a coconut out of a tree, and it breaks. The bird that attributes it to the behavior rather than chance is the bird that is more likely to try to replicate it, at least once. Additionally, if the second time doesn't work, if it works the third time, then the bird who tried it again would be rewarded. There has to be some kind of ideal gullibility ratio for animals in the wild: too much skepticism about whether their actions caused the food, and conditioning breaks down (and the bird starves). Too much credulity, and you get birds spinning around in circles all over the world.
This the study where Skinner created superstitious behavior in pigeons by reinforcing them on an interval schedule rather than a ratio schedule.
This is a youtube video relating Skinner's experiment to what people do at the bowling alley.
This article discusses superstition in evolutionary terms.
Here's a video from John Edward, who is a famous psychic medium, to explain confirmation bias. Note how many times he is wrong, but how he just keeps going and the audience does not really notice.

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