Skinner’s research and contribution to psychology
Development of Psychology has been influenced by several great contributions from different major researchers who proposed several concepts that influenced understanding of human nature and psychology. Burrhus Frederic Skinner (1904-1990), was one of the most influential American psychologists that had his name in several theories and inventions within the scope of psychology. He was the main proponent of the school of behaviourism in psychology and this explained the human actions as regards to their physiological responses to various external stimuli. He also provided the detailed analysis of operant conditioning which focused on the concept of reinforcement i.e. negatives, positive reinforces and then punishment (Morris & Maisto, 2005). The contributions of his work towards psychology modify the previous taught on psychology learning. His works shows that the operant conditioning, a form of psychological learning affects our lives and responses to changes around us.
Humans tend to respond positively to whatever increases a pleasant events while likely withdraw from negative reinforcer which tend to cause a reduction or termination of the ongoing behaviour. This analysis represents a form of trial and error in learning the positives and the negative processes or events. More of skinner’s works were majorly on animals which I guess could be as a result of the ways in which they can be manipulated easily. He is also a major author with several published works which includes; ‘The Behaviour of organism’ and ‘Beyond freedom and dignity’. Skinner believes that the main basis for learning is all about function of change in behaviour and this change is secondary to the responses to stimulus around.
His major works which also include the demonstration of formation of superstitious behaviour by those animals also influence learning processes. Skinner believed that because of the stimulus resulting in the changes seen in the animals, the animal tend to develop a certain behaviour which was believed to affect availability of foods (Morris & Maisto, 2005). Once the action by the animal occur with subsequent availability of food, the animal will develop such action believing it always the cause of availability even if the actions is nowhere near the major influence to availability of foods for the animal. Skinner’s contributions in psychology still remain a major guideline towards the understanding of intricacies of learning in both humans and animals.
Morris, C.G. & Maisto, A.A. (2005). Learning. Psychology: An introduction. Twelfth Edition. Pearson Education.