B.F. Skinner and Radical Behaviorism

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B.F Skinner was an American innovator, behaviorist, philosopher of sociology, and psychologist. He retired in 1974 after teaching psychology at Havard University since 1958. Radical behaviorism, often known as conceptual behavior analysis, is a philosophical study of human behavior. B.F Skinner, a philosopher, pioneered this concept. He regarded free will as a human action that is dependent on the consequences of prior actions and as an illusion. He stated that when the results are incorrect, the chances of the effort being repeated are slim. and when the effects are sound, there is a high probability of the action to happen. Professor Skinner referred to this tendency as the principle of reinforcement.

B.F Skinner used a conditioning of operant to determine the mode of strengthening behavior, and he made consideration of the response rate as the most efficient way of measuring the strength of response. He invented a chamber of operant conditioning (Skinner box) to study conditioning of operant, and the cumulative recorder to measure the rate. With these tools, and in collaboration with Ferster C.B, he came up with the experimental finding that was so influential, the work that featured in the Reinforcement Schedules book.

In my perspective, the radical behaviorism was another scientific philosophy developed by Professor Skinner, a theory that enabled him to establish a school of view based on experimental research that is behavior analysis using experiments. He applied his ideas to the human community design in the utopian novel, and the culmination of his human behavior analysis in Verbal Behavior work (Skinner 190).I believe Radical behaviorism is distinguished from behaviorism of methodology, which emphasizes on behaviors that can be observed, that is it includes feeling, thinking, and other events that are private in the theorizing and analyzing animal and human psychology.

B.F Skinner conceptualizes positive reinforcement and behavior that is conditioned, and this displays his radicalism than other psychologists who cast aside free will and dignity notions. Despite the fact that he is not famous as his contemporaries and forebears, like Ivan Pavlov and Freud Sigmund, Skinner changed the way of understanding and studying the behavior of humans. He left a legacy that is far-reaching, inspiring and influencing domains like the psychology of experiments, behavioral therapy, self-help, management, and education.

In my opinion, the understanding brought by B.F Skinner is that what is done by the human is primarily contributed by their behavioral consequences, and that emotion, actions, and thoughts are the exclusive environmental products. By this notion, he undermined the function of biology in regulating and forging the behavior of humans, disregarding the burgeoning fields of the genetics of responses, the science of cognition, and psychology of evolution (Grandinetti 21).

The theories on human and animal behavior were put forth by B.F Skinner, of which most of them are very concise and elegant. The research that he did on animals was predicated on the consequent importance, especially punishments and rewards. By considering each part of all the tasks he undertook, Skinner was able to facilitate the change of behavior in animals, even more, animals than the instinctual or the natural ones. Through the success of this research, he could persuade the military to provide finance to fund the Operation Pigeon research – training pigeons how to guide torpedoes and bombs.

Although B.F skinner’s psychology has proven essential for any discourse on the behaviour of humans, it has also shown insufficiency in other areas. For instance, in his work on verbal behavior emergence and child development, he argues that a severe mechanism of acquiring language is through imitation (Skinner 201). He said that an infant learns verbal behavior from the community that is verbal. This explanation was simplistic that it attracted Chomsky Noam, the linguist ire, and launched a movement of cognitive psychology by his response virtue. Noam argued that many animal experiments by B.F Skinner could not be contrasted with human trials and never did he develop a behavioral science fully.

Regarding the mentalism relation to the artificial intelligence issue, the cognitive computationalism notion was predicated by the discipline, but Skinner was still skeptical about it. He says that the question is whether men do and not whether machines think, and that the mystery that surrounds a man who is considering it also surrounds a computer. Skinner continues to argue that it is the world that is supposed to shape people. He made a dismissal of both genetics and science of cognition and seemed misguided by the standards of today. Undoubtedly, while the conditioning of behavior and the process of learning are crucial, it is evident that the predispositions of genetic do exist, and as shown by the neurosciences, that human brains are highly modularized and specialized for particular tasks, including the behaviors and psychologies.

Humans today are in a state of nearly genetic hysteric determinism, and should not be forgotten that the environment has the power to shape the personalities. Even as the debate of nurture versus nature goes, many breakthroughs of tremendous genomic are being made showing a commonplace. But it is time to reconsider how tendencies and preferences are moulded by the society.

Works Cited

Grandinetti, Daniel. How was Skinner Wrong: A critical Remark on B.F Skinner’s Radical

Behaviorism. 2016 Print

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Skinner, B F. About Behaviorism. New York: Vintage Books, 1976. Internet resource.

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April 26, 2023

Science Education

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