Essay on Operant Conditioning by B. F Skinner

1580 Words Dec 12th, 2008 7 Pages
Introduction People do on a day to day basis, many actions without realizing it, and most of the time, they don’t know why they do them. Certain reinforcements, some positive, and some negative have conditioned their actions and thoughts. In this essay, I chose Burrhus Frederic Skinner who came up with the theory of operant conditioning. B. F. skinner,(March 20, 1904 – August 18, 1990) is an American psychologist who believed that we do have such a thing as a mind, but that it is simply more productive to study observable behavior rather than internal mental events. As Skinner's theory was based on the earlier work of Thorndike, he also believed that the best way to understand a behavior is to look at the causes of the …show more content…
He applied directly the theories he derived from his conduct of experiments on this animals to human beings. He did not take into account that human beings are much more complex compared to a rat. He also did not extend his studies to real-life situation. Skinner proposed that the way humans learn behavior is much the same as the way the rats learned to press a lever which is not true to a certain extent as the relevance to human behavior is minimal. He did not consider that people are unique and cannot be compared to animals as humans have free-will and can self-actualize whereas an animal does not have that capability.
Abolish other factors Another criticism would be that Skinner never consider other factors aside from environment in deriving his theory. He only concentrate on the observables that is the environment and the behaviour only. He over-emphasise on environment almost deem as if he abolish all other factors which can affect behavioural learning. For example, human being tend to relect on the consequence of their action before deciding it is right or wrong. But Skinner did not mention on reflection or self-awareness in his studies. He believed mind and feelings does not play any part in determining behaviour. He also applied the

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