Davranışçılık skinner

bacon says nature to be commanded must be obeyed it’s a very important point it works in physics and chemistry before you can do anything with physics or chemistry you must discover what physics will allow you to do you have to the world teaches you how to manipulate the world but unless you are willing to do what the world tells you to do unless you’re willing to obey the world you will never make the world behave and that when you deal with organisms it’s even more stuff more those at a time when I first started working with with rats in my first experiments I would arrange an experiment and I would expect to get a certain shape curve I wouldn’t get that and I would get so serious why don’t you do what you’re supposed to do and I realize finally nature to be committed must be obeyed the rat is always right whatever the rat does it shouldn’t do it but I had not arranged the right conditions BF Skinner ranks is one of the most important psychologists of the 20th century he’s been at the same time admired honored and maligned as a behavioral scientist as a philosopher of science and as an educational and social innovator in spite of his worldwide fame BF Skinner’s accomplishments are not easy to categorize or even to describe although his favorite experimental lab animal was the pigeon he himself cannot be pigeonholed hello i’m marie Sidman about a year ago Davidson Films asked me if I would help them to prepare and narrate a film about the life and accomplishments of BF Skinner he taught us that we are what we do but more to the point he taught us that we can change what we do for the better I agreed because I felt that there was a first importance to tell people about this unusual man and so I said I would do whatever I could during the year I worked hard I wrote my recollections about the man and what he did and I worked with Davidson films on the script I have my notes here with me and now I want to share my thoughts with you now Skinner’s work was about behavior initially that of lab animals but with more and more applications to humans in ever larger groups although the focus of his science was always on individuals his later writings dealt with how we through understanding our own behavior could restructure social systems to improve life for ourselves or for the planet Earth the broader the scope of Skinner’s work the greater the outcry against it for a person who accomplished so much Skinner’s boyhood seems unremarkable nothing in his early history seems to predict that he would do extraordinary work burrs Frederick Skinner known to his friends as Fred was born in 1904 in a small Pennsylvania railroad town where his parents had also grown up Skinner’s childhood was warm and stable he was punished only rarely and enjoyed many opportunities for independent experience he did however receive instruction from his lawyer father about the terrible consequences of criminal action and he got advice from his mother to avoid deviations from what society considered right and he had warnings from his grandmother about the eventual wages of sin the horrors of hell these experiences perhaps led to his early and lasting disenchantment with organized religion and to his lifelong personal and professional opposition to behavioural control through punishment and threat young Skinner and his friends enjoyed exploring nature in the countryside and building things like this cabin in the woods the continuation of this gadget earring was later to

result in the invention of new and significant devices for use and behavioral experiments at Hamilton College the only indication that his later accomplishment might prove extraordinary was his generally rebellious conduct which almost caused the administration to refuse him his degree he was accepted into Harvard Department of Psychology in 1928 after little more than a brief interview today of course getting into graduate school is not quite so simple three major currents affected the intellectual life of the 1920s and were to affect Skinner’s work Darwin’s theory of evolution Freud’s psychoanalysis and behaviorism particularly as its spraying from Pavlov’s research on conditioning about 70 years before Skinner’s entrance into Harvard Charles Darwin had published his monumental on the Origin of Species which proposed that all life-forms are Earth had evolved from simpler forms over millions of years humans too were seen as a product of this natural evolution the progression that resulted from the natural environments selection of characteristics that contribute to individual survival Skinner would link his behavioral observations to Darwin’s explanation of how nature works and suggested that a selection process applied also to behavior Skinner’s descriptive term selection by consequences although inspired by Darwin’s natural selection sprang from his own experimental observations and broke new ground Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis a product of the early 20th century proposed that people’s adult behavior was largely a reaction to very early experiences for Freud people did not act freely but were driven by motivations and mental states that were largely unknown to them many of Skinner’s most vocal critics would come from the field of psychoanalysis but Skinner and Freud did have some things in common for example the notion that our behavior has identifiable causes with predictable effects and is not the product of free will was quite in harmony with Skinner’s beliefs Skinner would however adamantly reject Freud’s appeal to unobservable mental constructs like ego hid and super-ego as causes of behavior for him such inventions contribute little to our understanding because we then have to explain their behavior as well the third influence was the infant field of behaviorism often seen as descended from the work of Pavlov who was not himself a psychologist especially important to Skinner’s approach to scientific methodology with a meticulous and creative experiments of Ivan Pavlov’s a Russian physiologist who won the Nobel Prize in nineteen and for for his studies of the digestive system but TAV loves more important work was on the conditioning of behavior with it he showed how biological reactions come to be elicited by environmental stimuli first Pavlov showed that a small amount of food in a dog’s mouth would cause the animal to salivate nothing surprising here this is how the animal functions physiologically in direct contact with food then a long wig or just before presenting the food Pavlov set a metronome ticking that had no effect on salivation at first after a few such pairings of the metronome with the food Pavlov observed that the ticking of the metronome itself even without the food would cause the dog to salivate now this was surprising the previously ineffective metronome now made the animal salivate the metronome tick is a conditioned stimulus and the salivation is now a conditioned response many American psychologists led by the famous behaviorist John B Watson were excited by Pavlov’s findings like Pavlov Skinner initially studied the physical reactions of lab animals but soon moved beyond to their observable acts although Skinner shared the earlier behaviorist insistence on dealing with observable behavior and its relations to the environment he also would argue that

the same principles could be applied to behavior that we cannot directly observe like thinking and feeling it was of prime importance to Skinner that what we do think and feel can be studied by the methods of science and can be described and predicted by scientific laws this was a feature of the work that attracted many students me included advances in scientific theory and practice often are made possible by the development of new laboratory apparatus and techniques these permit us to see things never seen before and to see familiar things more clearly Skinner at Harvard was soon putting his mechanical skills to work inventing new devices for use in experiments that would make behavior more understandable that’s known as the closed environment often called the Skinner box a term he himself rejected Skinner’s first discovery was simply that laboratory animals would continue to peck a disk if they could get food that way but this discovery was not quite as simple as it seems it’s gonna recognize that there was more involved here than just an animal’s getting food in a bold generalization that has held up remarkably well he asserted that not just lab animals but any animals and humans too would repeat any activity that produced consequences that he called reinforcers for us humans flicking switches for example produces many different kinds of reinforcers but it all starts much earlier and it goes on throughout life behavior that gets certain results gets repeated the second thing skin have realized was that the sequence of events here was just the reverse of what happened in Pavlovian conditioning Pavlov got his dog to salivate in response to a stimulus the metronome Pavlov’s and Watson’s work led to a stimulus response psychology that many have recognized as too simplified and mechanistic to account for the great variety of human behavior but Skinner got his animal to peck a disc not by presenting it with a stimulus beforehand but instead by presenting a consequence afterward the important event here was the food that came after the animal Peck to the disk this was no longer stimulus-response psychology if anything it was response stimulus psychology but still more was involved Skinner’s operant behavior consists of acts that operate on the environment producing consequences that determine how likely the acts are to be repeated if you want to know why someone is doing or saying some particular thing look first at what happens immediately after the act if you can change that consequence you will probably change the future likelihood of the act Skinner’s realization that behavior is governed by consequences was a milestone in the scientific study of behavior analogous to Darwin’s formulation of natural selection Darwin was concerned with species characteristics that are selected over millions of years but Skinner was concerned with the selection of behavior from the variety of actions that each individual is capable of a process that we can see taking place during an individual its lifetime critical words here are behavior selection and individual Skinner’s work was focused on observable actions not theoretical constructs he was interested in why one behavior was selected from the many possibilities available to any organism at any point in time he was also concerned with individuals Skinner did not group individuals statistically and merge their results into averages if some individual acted differently from another he wanted to know why Skinner proposed that the critical relation between behavior and environment can be conceived of as a contingency of reinforcement consequences in this case food are

contingent on some acts here disc pecking contingent means dependent on it defines an if/then relation if the pigeon in this chamber pecks the lighted disc it then gets food depending on the type of consequence the acts will or will not be selected this pigeon will soon be ringing the bell as you will see but it starts out doing many other things Skinner discovered that one could mold behavior from one variation to another ending up with an ax that was completely out of the range of anything the organism had ever done before starting with reinforcement for just turning toward the bell closer approaches are then required this gradual molding of behavior Skinner called shaping this pigeons behavior has been shaped into ringing the bell by requiring closer approximations to the desired behavior before giving it food the process validates Skinner’s assertion that selection by consequences is a fact not a theory anyone can see it happening but Skinner did not stop here it was clear to him the simple two term reinforcement contingencies were not enough Skinner’s research showed that the environment not only provides consequences that select and maintain particular behavior but that the environment also selects from an organisms repertoire of two term units the particular ones that will be active at any moment notice this pigeon has three disks available but only pecks the lighted one the bird only gets food by pecking at the lighted disk Skinner calls things like the light too primitive stimuli these stimuli allow animals and people to discriminate to make distinctions by signaling that certain reinforcements will be available if they act in a certain way Pavlovian conditions stimuli usually trigger physiological reactions that have some natural relation to the unconditioned stimulus like salivation in Pavlov’s original experiments discriminative stimulus ever signal opportunities for us to do something that is likely to produce reinforcers for example the sight of food on the table is likely to make a salivate Pavlovian conditioning it also may lead to our picking up a knife and fork operant conditioning discriminative stimuli control when and where we do things by adding the third term discriminative stimulus to the reinforcement contingency along with response and consequence skinner greatly broadened the applicability of operant conditioning the three term contingency is the basic unit of operant behavior without the third term discriminative stimulus to control when and where we act in certain ways we would be trying to do everything all at once instead in any given situation we respond in the same way as was reinforced in the similar situation in the past the scope of operant conditioning was widened still further when Skinner discovered that discriminative stimuli because they lead to reinforcement can also act as conditioned reinforcers themselves in our own lives a prime example of this is money money acts as a discriminative stimulus that leads to many different kinds of reinforcers money offers us so many opportunities to buy so many reinforcers that it becomes a powerful reinforcer itself other aspects of the environment to signal the availability of reinforcers and become conditioned reinforces themselves the environmental events that become conditioned reinforcers are virtually limitless reinforcers have two defining features both of them necessary and directly observable first a reinforcer must follow an action this pidgin received grain after moving toward the Bell second for a consequence to be

reinforcing it must cause the action to be repeated or to happen more often this hungry pigeon is pecking the bell more than it had before because of receiving the grain when it pecks positive reinforcement refers to the addition of something that had not been there before a certain action occurs flipping this switch brings this teenager music negative reinforcement refers to the removal of something that for an action was taken this parent is escaping music by flipping the switch the other way punishment would occur if when the teenager brought home some bad grades the parents denied her the use of the radio or made her perform extra chores punishment and negative reinforcement are often mistakenly equated punishment occurs whenever an action is followed by either a loss of positive reinforcers for instance use of the radio or the addition of negative reinforcers like extra chores Skinner’s experiments showed that even if punishment does stop undesirable behavior it either works only temporarily or produces unwanted side effects like escape anxiety or avoidance behavior that can be long-lasting Skinner was not an advocate of punishment a significant advance occurred in psychology when Skinner recognized that the rate at which any particular act occurs is the most important feature to measure in studying and describing behavior for him rate was a convenient way to measure an acts probability and that is what we’re interested in isn’t it when we characterized someone as talkative it means they talk a lot when we wonder why our friend is so smart it’s because we have seen her always doing well on exams when we become annoyed with a lazy roommate we are reacting to his frequent avoidance of chores all of these come out of our observations of high or low frequencies of whatever behavior we’re currently looking at Skinner realized of course that in the real world little of our behavior is always reinforced he therefore invented techniques to find out what happens to acts that are only reinforced occasionally here for example the pigeon gets fed each time it pecks