Burrhus Frederic Skinner Was Born March 20th 1904 in a small town in Pennsylvania. He had a relatively normal upbringing other than the fact that his brother died at an early age. Skinner Received a Bachelors of Science degree in English from Hamilton College in upstate New York. He wanted to be a writer and began writing while attending Hamilton. After graduating and completing his education at Hamilton He returned home for a brief period he later referred to as his “dark year”.
After taking a job at a New York city bookstore Skinner Happened upon books by Pavlov and Watson. He found their writing to be of great interest. At the age of 24 Skinner decided to continue his education and attended Harvard University were he joined the newly formed psychology department. At Harvard Skinner found a friend and confidant in William Crozier who was the head of the newly formed Psychology Department. The two men were joined in a common interest, the study of animals and their behaviors.
During his many experiments on shaping behavior through positive and negative reinforcement Skinner and many success’s and some happy accidents he invented the cumulative recorder. The recorder showed that his test subjects in this case rats reacted to the result of pushing a lever and that the response was directly correlated with the outcome. Skinner realized his results differed from that of Povlav in that it did not depend on any preconceived stimulus but on the effect of pressing the bar. Skinner named it Operant behavior and spent the next five years investigating not only operant behavior but also how prior stimuli took control of relationships. These studies eventually made it to print in his first book, The Behavior of Organisms (1938).
Following his studies at Harvard Skinner married Yvonne Blue and moved to Minnesota were he took a teaching job at the University of Minniesota at Minniapolis. Busy with teaching he had little to do with the advancement of...