Encyclopedia of the History of Psychological Theories

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert W. Rieber

Skinner, B. F.

  • Edward K. Morris
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0463-8_137

Basic Biographical Information

The American psychologist, Burrhus Frederic (B. F.) Skinner, was born on March 20, 1904, in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, and died on August 18, 1990, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In revolutionizing behaviorism, he became the most eminent psychologist of the twentieth century.

Majoring in English at Hamilton College (1922–1926), Skinner aspired to be a writer, but writing failed him. It described the human condition, but did not explain it. So, he turned to the newest science, psychology; enrolled at Harvard University (1928–1931); and earned a doctorate for research and theory in psychology’s newest system, behaviorism. Remaining at Harvard on fellowships (1931–1936), he invented and refined apparatus (e.g., the Skinner box) and conducted pioneering research on basic behavioral processes (e.g., reinforcement; see Skinner 1938). At the University of Minnesota (1936–1945), he continued his research and extended it (e.g., to behavioral pharmacology),...

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  1. Skinner, B. F. (1938). The behavior of organisms: An experimental analysis. New York: Appleton-Century.Google Scholar
  2. Skinner, B. F. (1947). Experimental psychology. In W. Dennis (Ed.), Current trends in psychology (pp. 16–49). Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.Google Scholar
  3. Skinner, B. F. (1950). Are theories of learning necessary? Psychological Review, 57, 193–216.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Skinner, B. F. (1999). Cumulative record (Definitive ed., V. G. Laties & A. C. Catania, Eds.). Cambridge, MA: B. F. Skinner Foundation.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied Behavioral ScienceUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA