olso6188: November 2011 Archives

Skinner's Box

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Link: http://www.snopes.com/science/skinner.asp

The famous psychologist, B.F. Skinner was once accused of raising his daughter, Deborah, in one of his famous Skinner boxes. This issue arose when an article was published about Skinner's baby tender, and people who did not read the article fully or those who did not understand it accused Skinner of raising his daughter in a Skinner box. The truth of the matter is that Skinner had built a special crib (baby tender) for his daughter to keep her in a climate controlled environment so that she could avoid being wrapped in layers of blankets and also avoid the rashes that accompany the cold Minnesota winters. Skinner, in reality, was trying to protect his daughter and keep her safe. He was not trying to operant condition her. Deborah did not receive rewards or punishments in crib, but was able to remain a clean healthy baby, who was free to move about as she pleased without the restrictions of blankets. Skinner did want to study the effects of operant conditioning on humans, but he did not study it on his own daughter. He stuck to animals (mostly rats and pigeons).

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