Skinner box

noun

Skin·​ner box ˈski-nər-ˌbäks How to pronounce Skinner box (audio)
: a laboratory apparatus in which an animal is caged for experiments in operant conditioning and which typically contains a lever that must be pressed by the animal to gain reward or avoid punishment

Examples of Skinner box in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Amid this dangerous escalation, DeSantis has wanted it both ways: to be lauded for putting Florida in a Skinner box and calling it freedom and for the media to shy away from examining the ruinous results. Melissa Gira Grant, The New Republic, 2 Mar. 2023 Social media users have become rats in lab experiments, living in human Skinner boxes, glued to the screens of their smartphones, compelled to sacrifice more precious time and attention to platforms that profit from it at their expense. IEEE Spectrum, 3 Jan. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Skinner box.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

B. F. Skinner

First Known Use

1940, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Skinner box was in 1940

Dictionary Entries Near Skinner box

Cite this Entry

“Skinner box.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Skinner%20box. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition

Skinner box

noun
Skin·​ner box ˈskin-ər-ˌbäks How to pronounce Skinner box (audio)
: a laboratory apparatus in which an animal is caged for experiments in operant conditioning and which typically contains a lever that must be pressed by the animal to gain reward or avoid punishment

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