Skinner, B(urrhus) F(rederic)

Skinner, B(urrhus) F(rederic)

biographical name

(born March 20, 1904, Susquehanna, Pa., U.S.—died Aug. 18, 1990, Cambridge, Mass.) U.S. psychologist and influential theorist of behaviourism. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and first achieved notice with The Behavior of Organisms (1938). In the mid-1940s he presented his “Air-Crib,” a soundproof, germ-free, air-conditioned box meant to serve as an optimal environment for the first two years of childhood. In Walden Two (1948), a controversial but popular work, he described a utopia based on behavioral engineering. He spent most of his teaching career at Harvard (1948–74). His other works include Science and Human Behavior (1953), Verbal Behavior (1957), Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971), and an autobiography (3 vol., 1976–83). He received the National Medal of Science in 1968.

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