Skinner was an extraordinary man. He was left to be an only child after his
younger brother passed away. Skinner was very creative at a young age. He and a
close friend built a contraption that separated ripe berries from the unripe
ones and created a business out of it. During college he joined a fraternity.
At first, Skinner believed that his fraternity didn’t participate in hazing and
treated their members with respect. He was soon proven wrong when he was tied
to a pole where he was supposed to stay all night. Lucky for Skinner, he was
able to cut himself free. While at Harvard, Skinner created the prototype of
the Skinner Box. The box was used to study animal behavior. The Skinner box was
also known as the Operant conditioning chamber.
During this week’s reading I was exposed to the theories of
Skinner, the creator of the Operant Conditioning theory. He believed that
reinforcement shaped behavior, either positive or negative and the use of
punishment. Positive reinforcement is praise after a behavior is exhibited. One
of the examples given was the monetary value placed on good grades for children.
Negative reinforcement is the removal of some unfavorable event, both believed
to strengthen behavior. Punisher is anything that follows a behavior that is intended
to decrease the behavior. I agreed with Skinners theory on conditioning because
it seems as if we all have learned in that way. By being conditioned to either
do or not do things. When I was in grade school, I had more chores added for
bad behavior or grades. I was also taken on ice cream trips after getting good
grades and behaving well. Skinners beliefs made the most sense to me because I
was able to compare them to my life and remember my dealings with either
positive or negative reinforcements.
Overall, the theories of Skinner were the most appealing to me
because I was able to remember how this was applied to my life personally. Operant
Conditioning is believed to work best if you’re encouraging a behavior, rather than
telling one what not to do. Punishers are used to prevent behaviors, although sometimes
when people are punished too often they see themselves as bad and no longer want
to change their behavior. Some catch on quickly and some don’t. In all, we have
all learned things by conditioning and reinforcement whether we know it or not.