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B. F. Skinner (1904–1990) was an American psychologist ( [link] ). Like Watson, Skinner was a behaviorist, and he concentrated on how behavior was affected by its consequences. Therefore, Skinner spoke of reinforcement and punishment as major factors in driving behavior. As a part of his research, Skinner developed a chamber that allowed the careful study of the principles of modifying behavior through reinforcement and punishment. This device, known as an operant conditioning chamber (or more familiarly, a Skinner box), has remained a crucial resource for researchers studying behavior (Thorne&Henley, 2005).

Photograph A shows B.F. Skinner. Illustration B shows a rat in a Skinner box: a chamber with a speaker, lights, a lever, and a food dispenser.
(a) B. F. Skinner is famous for his research on operant conditioning. (b) Modified versions of the operant conditioning chamber, or Skinner box, are still widely used in research settings today. (credit a: modification of work by "Silly rabbit"/Wikimedia Commons)

The Skinner box is a chamber that isolates the subject from the external environment and has a behavior indicator such as a lever or a button. When the animal pushes the button or lever, the box is able to deliver a positive reinforcement of the behavior (such as food) or a punishment (such as a noise) or a token conditioner (such as a light) that is correlated with either the positive reinforcement or punishment.

Skinner’s focus on positive and negative reinforcement of learned behaviors had a lasting influence in psychology that has waned somewhat since the growth of research in cognitive psychology. Despite this, conditioned learning is still used in human behavioral modification. Skinner’s two widely read and controversial popular science books about the value of operant conditioning for creating happier lives remain as thought-provoking arguments for his approach (Greengrass, 2004).

Maslow, rogers, and humanism

During the early 20th century, American psychology was dominated by behaviorism and psychoanalysis. However, some psychologists were uncomfortable with what they viewed as limited perspectives being so influential to the field. They objected to the pessimism and determinism (all actions driven by the unconscious) of Freud. They also disliked the reductionism, or simplifying nature, of behaviorism. Behaviorism is also deterministic at its core, because it sees human behavior as entirely determined by a combination of genetics and environment. Some psychologists began to form their own ideas that emphasized personal control, intentionality, and a true predisposition for “good” as important for our self-concept and our behavior. Thus, humanism emerged. Humanism is a perspective within psychology that emphasizes the potential for good that is innate to all humans. Two of the most well-known proponents of humanistic psychology are Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers (O’Hara, n.d.).

Abraham Maslow (1908–1970) was an American psychologist who is best known for proposing a hierarchy of human needs in motivating behavior ( [link] ). Although this concept will be discussed in more detail in a later chapter, a brief overview will be provided here. Maslow asserted that so long as basic needs necessary for survival were met (e.g., food, water, shelter), higher-level needs (e.g., social needs) would begin to motivate behavior. According to Maslow, the highest-level needs relate to self-actualization, a process by which we achieve our full potential. Obviously, the focus on the positive aspects of human nature that are characteristic of the humanistic perspective is evident (Thorne&Henley, 2005). Humanistic psychologists rejected, on principle, the research approach based on reductionist experimentation in the tradition of the physical and biological sciences, because it missed the “whole” human being. Beginning with Maslow and Rogers, there was an insistence on a humanistic research program. This program has been largely qualitative (not measurement-based), but there exist a number of quantitative research strains within humanistic psychology, including research on happiness, self-concept, meditation, and the outcomes of humanistic psychotherapy (Friedman, 2008).

Questions & Answers

4. As indicated in this section, Caucasian women from industrialized, Western cultures tend to be at the highest risk for eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia nervosa. Why might this be?
Shamy Reply
Is anyone know the exact cause of mental illnesses like Add, Adhd, Ocd, bipolar etc
Kartikey Reply
mental desorders are caused by many factors
a chemical imbalance with bipolar which if i remember correctly has somthing to do with OCD as well.....?
its also has to do with parts of the brain that recieve neurons and some that dont.
Natasha...u from which country?
no i need more explanation
ADD, ADHD, bi polar, and OCD. the first 3 are mostly chemical imbalance to the brain. bi polar is a chemical imbalance that has to do with the emotional and creative parts of the brain. its cause from not getting the right amount of something or not enough of something. which is why amphetamines
will either make them act more normal and or helps them concentrate. also can make the unleveled level out. desoxyn is methamphentimine hydrochloride its for obese add and adhd
may I add that some studies have shown that children who have A.D.H.D were more than likely brought up in single parent family's and Im not a 100% sure of the stat's but believe that some studies have shown as many as 80% of children with A.D.H.D were brought up in a single parent inviroment.
And I also remember A.D.H.D in the early days and ideas were put fourth of the cause and one that stood out was spending excessive amounts of time playing computer games as that was still quite anew phenomena at the time.
not that anyone mentions that one any more lol.
I don't believe there is such a thing as chemical imbalance. More research is needed and it's too easy and simple just to blame certain illnesses on a chemical imbalance. What is chemical imbalance? Maybe we should start there.
chemical imbalance is when you either lack a brain chemical such as seritonin, dopamine ex.
gavin true to that. our enviroment is a big factor in our chemicals. when were happy because of something our bodies produce more dopamine
for example. single parent families are stressful which studies have shown cause more damage then we think or relize including brain chemistry
lol duh read a book every now an den u won't bee sow retar'ed. geez some people I swair jus aint gots no cents. ya knaw what eye sayin... lol
ask reinfield from dracula he suffers from psychotic ideation...lol
what are the psychological effects of being a patient
Gloria Reply
why is the Synapse so important to biopsychologists
Susan Reply
I dnt know
because its very important
Because that's where the exchange of information takes place which causes reactions in us and so biopsychologists need to study the info transmitted in order to study the reaction to explain a mental process/behaviour
synapse occurs as part of the brain activity. This is where everything seems to happen. Just imagine this synapse is like firing information, your feelings, and stuff
so can i assume that if there is action potential in the pre synaptic cell but the neurotransmitter does not diffuse into the post synaptic cell that this would lead to some sort of mental dysfunction?
Or the opposite, too much neurotransmitter
how long does it takes to stabilize your sleeping hours?
Gabby Reply
15 minutes.
90 mnit +
usually 24 hrs for me
30mins to 1hr
30 minutes
why do we get depression
meghna Reply
how to be a neuropsychologist?
mukhtar Reply
wo Kya hota h?
I speak English sorry... If you can translate: I suggest studying anatomy if you are still in high school. You will need a master degree. So about ten years of college.
Pay close attention to psychology as well. Biology is a must.
what are the factors affecting learning
Savoeda Reply
motivation is probably a big factor, but also intellectual ability, knowing from personal experience
why do we get depression
you have it
low income families, poverty and a poor stimulating environment for children could be caused of learning disabilities or effects.
any advice on psychological statistics ?
Kurt Reply
I'm taking psychological statistics too
psychological statistic is a branch of psychology that deals with research and experimental aspect of psychology. It is an offshoot if experimental psychology, they make use of statistical tools in describing, predicting, analysing and make an inference about data collected in order to
what about factors affecting learning
What is the morality in Greek Mythology?
Lianne Reply
Three basic processes involved in the act of remembering are:
kesandu Reply
encoding, storage, retrieval
What is psychology
psychology is the study of the mind
Psychology is the scientific study of human mental processes and behavior.
it involves studying both; human and animals. It's called subject in the experimental design.
The three main processes involved in human memory are encoding, storage and recall (retrieval)..
Do you think there is a stigma associated with mentally ill persons today? Why or why not?
Ali Reply
yes absolutely
and I do believe that stigma is associated with anything when people at large don't know how to deal with anything
Stigma of drowning.
@Gayatri. plz explain. what it means people don't know.
that people are unaware how to respond to a person dealing with any sort of mental illness
so it means mind can't solve problems of mind. am I right ?
yeah sometimes actually it all depends how a person respond to it
and does anxiety falls in that as well
ok thanks.
who started ethics
Segun Reply
relate social psychology to environmental health
Joyce Reply
what can tell me about analytical psychology of Carl G. Jung
babatunde Reply
google it, I don't think anyone has ever studied it properly.

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Source:  OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 03, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11629/1.5
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