Date Due: 9/6/06
B.F. Skinner Biography
Burrhus Fredric Skinner was born on March 20, 1904 in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania a little town in the hills just below Binghamton, New York. With one younger brother, he grew up in an affectionate and secure home. His father is a lawyer and his mother is a housewife. During his boyhood he spent the most time constructing things- a cart with steering wheels that worked backwards (by mistake) and a perpetual motion machine (the latter did not work). But some other of his inventions was more successful. He once designed a flotation system to separate ripe from green berries for a door to door business selling elderberries (Vargas, 2006).
In high school, Skinner took an English class taught by Miss Graves to whom he was later to dedicate his book, “The Technology of Teaching”. It was based on a statement by his father, he shouted out one day in class that Shakespeare had not written As You Like It, but rather Frances Bacon. When he teacher told him that he didn’t know what he was talking about, he went to the library and read quite a bit of Bacon’s works. Bacon’s championing of the inductive technique in science against the petition to ability was to serve him well later (Vargas, 2006).
Skinner attended Hamilton College, which is a small liberal arts institution, on the recommendation from a friend. He majored in English Literature and minored in Romance Languages (Swenson, 1999). Skinner never fitted into the student life at Hamilton. He joined the fraternity without knowing what it was all about. He was not good in sports and suffered acutely. Skinner wrote a paper at the end of his freshman year, he complained that the college was pushing him around with unnecessary requirements (one of them daily chapel) and that almost no interest was shown by most of the students. By senior year he was in open revolt (Lafayette College, 2006)....