Skinner and Behaviorism
Considered the father of Behaviorism, B.F. Skinner was the Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard from 1959 to 1974. He completed his PhD in psychology at Harvard in 1931. He studied the phenomenon of operant conditioning in the eponymous Skinner Box, still used today.
Quite the opposite of a neuroscientific approach, Behaviorism does not look under the hood. In its time, the theory was revolutionary because it deployed an experimental approach to the study of psychology, in contrast with the prevailing psychoanalytic approach. Under Skinner’s leadership, Behaviorists subjected psychology to quantifiable and stringent measures and application of the scientific method.
Skinner was interested in how environmental experience and learning caused modification of certain behaviors. He developed the Operant Conditioning Pigeon Chamber and other devices to enable him to conduct controlled experiments. Stimuli were typically in the form of rewards (positive) or punishments (negative). The experiments revealed how behaviors could be increased with rewards or decreased with the application of punishments.