(Burrhus Frederic Skinner;) Susquehanna, 1904 - Cambridge, USA, 1990) American psychologist. He obtained a doctorate in psychology from Harvard University in 1931, and continued his research at the same University as a Biology lab Assistant Professor Crozier; in 1936 he began working as a professor at the University of Minnesota, where he stayed for nine years.
B. F. Skinner
B. F. Skinner
In 1938, Skinner published his first book, the behavior of organisms, and after a brief period at Indiana University, was established at Harvard (1948). Influenced by the theory of Pavlov's conditioned reflexes and John B. Watson's Behaviorism, Skinner believed that it was possible to explain the behaviour of individuals as a set of physiological responses that are conditioned by the environment, and turned to the study of the possibilities offered by the scientific control of behavior through reinforcement (prize of the desired behavior) , necessarily about animals.
The most famous experiments of Skinner include doves to play the table tennis training, call Skinner box, still used for the conditioning of animals, or the design of an artificial environment specifically designed for the first years of life of the people.
His radical Behaviorism rose abundant controversy in his country, and achieved a remarkable fame with the publication of the novel Walden 2 (1948), in which speculated about a future society completely programmed with the behavior engineering techniques.
In his essay about beyond freedom and dignity (1971), Skinner defended that such concepts were ultimately pernicious to society, and that the only way to achieve an optimal coexistence is necessarily apply techniques appropriate in the design for the conduct of its members.