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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 28

“No one works on Monday morning because he is reinforced by a paycheck on Friday afternoon.” (p. 18)
 

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 27

“When the psychotic shows an insensitivity to normal contingencies of reinforcement, an environment must be designed to which he is likely to respond.” (p. 16)
 

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 26

“The problem [with psychotic behavior] is not to find in the structure of the observed behavior some hint as to how it may be made to disappear, but rather to build up the behavior which is missing.” (p. 16)
 

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 25

“Teaching is the arrangement of contingencies of reinforcement which expedite learning . . . Programmed instruction is a technique taken directly from the operant laboratory, and it is designed to maximize the reinforcement associated with successful control of the environment . . . An equally important advance is the arrangement of contingencies of reinforcement […]

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 24

“Practical control is already a commonplace in the operant laboratory, where behavior is frequently manufactured to specifications and changed almost at will.” (p. 14)
 

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 23

“When the variables discovered in an experimental analysis prove to be manipulable, we can move beyond interpretation to the control of behavior.” (p. 14)
 

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 22

“A culture is not the behavior of the people “living in it”; it is the “it” in which they live—the contingencies of social reinforcement which generate and sustain their behavior.” (p. 13)
 

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 21

“Eventually we must ask why people behave in their respective ways. It is not enough to say that a custom is followed simply because it is customary to follow it. Nor is it enough to say that people behave as they do because of the ways in which they think.” (p. 12)
 

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 20

“It is the contingencies which prevail in a given verbal community which “generate sentences.” They shape and maintain the phonemic and syntactical properties of verbal behavior and account for a wide range of functional characteristics —from poetry to logic. They do so without the help of the mind of speaker or listener (141 [Skinner’s […]

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 19

“Verbal contingencies have the same status as contingencies maintained by laboratory equipment, but they involve the behavior of a second organism, the listener, and the behavior they generate therefore has many unusual characteristics.” (p. 12)
 

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 18

“A language is not the words or sentences “spoken in it”; it is the “it” in which they are spoken—the practices of the verbal community which shape and maintain the behavior of speakers.” (p. 12)
 

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 17

“Verbal behavior is a field in which the concept of contingencies of reinforcement has proved particularly useful.” (p. 10)
 

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 16

“The principles of hedonism, utilitarianism, and adaptation were not wrong, they were simply not precise.” (p. 10)
 

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 15

“… we no longer look at behavior and environment as separate things or events but at the interrelations among them. We look at the contingencies of reinforcement. We can then interpret behavior more successfully.” (p. 10)
 

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 14

“It is only when we have analyzed behavior under known contingencies of reinforcement that we can begin to see what is happening in daily life.” (p. 10)
 

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 13

“When we recall how long it took to recognize the causal action of the environment in the simple reflex, we should perhaps not be surprised that it has taken us much longer to see contingencies of reinforcement. The traditional homocentric view of human behavior discourages us from looking at the environment in this light, […]

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 12

“Suppose we ask an observer who knows nothing about the analysis of behavior to look into a typical experimental space when an experiment is in progress … The fact remains that direct observation, no matter how prolonged, tells him very little about what is going on …” (pp. 8-9)
 

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 11

“A more active form of attention is analyzed as a sequence of contingencies; paying attention is precurrent behavior having the effect of changing stimuli. A pigeon will change the shape or color of a visual pattern if the contingencies under which it is reinforced are thereby improved.” (Footnote, p. 8)
 

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 10

“If a conspicuous stimulus does not have an effect, it is not because the organism has not attended to it or because some central gatekeeper has screened it out, but because the stimulus plays no important role in the prevailing contingencies.1—Footnote in next quote The other cognitive processes invoked to salvage an input-output formula […]

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 9

“The behavior generated by a given set of contingencies can be accounted for without appealing to hypothetical inner states or processes.” (p. 8)
 

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Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 8

“An adequate formulation of the interaction between an organism and its environment must always specify three things: (1) the occasion upon which a response occurs, (2) the response itself, and (3) the reinforcing consequences. The interrelationships among them are the “contingencies of reinforcement.” (p. 7)
 

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By |January 19th, 2018|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 8|

Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 7

“Any stimulus present when an operant is reinforced acquires control in the sense that the rate will be higher when it is present. Such a stimulus does not act as a goad; it does not elicit the response in the sense of forcing it to occur. It is simply an essential aspect of the […]

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By |January 18th, 2018|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 7|

Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 6

“The class of responses upon which a reinforcer is contingent is called an operant, to suggest the action on the environment followed by reinforcement. We construct an operant by making a reinforcer contingent on a response, but the important fact about the resulting unit is not its topography but its probability of occurrence, observed […]

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By |January 17th, 2018|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 6|

Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 5

“By using rate of responding as a dependent variable, it has been possible to formulate the interaction between an organism and its environment more adequately. The kinds of consequences which increase the rate (“reinforcers”) are positive or negative, depending upon whether they reinforce when they appear or when they disappear.” (p. 7)
 

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By |January 16th, 2018|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 5|

Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 4

“… by thoroughly adapting the rat to the box before the lever is made available, most of the competing behavior can be “stamped out” before the response to be learned is ever emitted. Thorndike’s learning curve, showing the gradual disappearance of unsuccessful behavior, then vanishes. In its place we are left with a conspicuous […]

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By |January 15th, 2018|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 4|

Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 3

“… the full significance of consequences was only slowly recognized. Possibly there was some uneasiness about final causes (How could something which followed behavior have an effect on it?), but a major difficulty lay in the facts … Men sometimes act in ways which bring pain and destroy pleasure, have a questionable net utility, […]

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By |January 12th, 2018|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 3|

Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 2

“Every stimulus-response or input-output formulation of behavior suffers from a serious omission. No account of the interchange between organism and environment is complete until it includes the action of the environment upon the organism after a response has been made.” (p. 5)
 

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By |January 11th, 2018|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on Contingencies of Reinforcement. Chapter 1: The Role of the Environment. Quote 2|

Contingencies of Reinforcement. Part I: Contingencies Of Reinforcement and the Design of Cultures. Chapter 1 The Role of the Environment. Quote 1.

“[The invention of concepts such as the total stimulus situation, cues, and releasers] was patchwork, designed to salvage the stimulus-response formula, and it had the effect of moving the determination of behavior back into the organism. When external stimuli could not be found, internal had to be invented.” (p. 4)
 

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By |January 10th, 2018|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on Contingencies of Reinforcement. Part I: Contingencies Of Reinforcement and the Design of Cultures. Chapter 1 The Role of the Environment. Quote 1.|

Contingencies of Reinforcement: A Theoretical Analysis, Preface, Quote 5

“Some of the questions to which a different kind of theory may be addressed are as follows: what aspects of behavior are significant? Of what variables are changes in these aspects a function? How are the relations among behavior and its controlling variables to be brought together in characterizing an organism as a system? […]

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By |January 9th, 2018|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on Contingencies of Reinforcement: A Theoretical Analysis, Preface, Quote 5|

Contingencies of Reinforcement: A Theoretical Analysis, Preface, Quote 4

“Many physiological explanations of behavior seem at the moment to call for hypotheses, but the future lies with techniques of direct observation which will make them unnecessary (see Chapter 9)”. (p. xii)
 

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By |January 8th, 2018|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on Contingencies of Reinforcement: A Theoretical Analysis, Preface, Quote 4|

Contingencies of Reinforcement: A Theoretical Analysis, Preface, Quote 3

“If hypotheses commonly appear in the study of behavior, it is only because the investigator has turned his attention to inaccessible events—some of them fictitious, others irrelevant.” (p. xi)
 

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By |January 5th, 2018|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on Contingencies of Reinforcement: A Theoretical Analysis, Preface, Quote 3|

Contingencies of Reinforcement: A Theoretical Analysis, Preface, Quote 2

“Behavior is one of those subject matters which do not call for hypothetico-deductive methods. Both behavior itself and most of the variables of which it is a function are usually conspicuous.” (p. xi)
 

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By |January 4th, 2018|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on Contingencies of Reinforcement: A Theoretical Analysis, Preface, Quote 2|

Contingencies of Reinforcement: A Theoretical Analysis, Preface, Quote 1

“To guess who is calling when the phone rings seems somehow more admirable than to pick up the phone and find out, although one picks up the phone to confirm the guess.” (p. ix)
 

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By |January 3rd, 2018|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on Contingencies of Reinforcement: A Theoretical Analysis, Preface, Quote 1|

Skinner’s Quote of the Day Continues in 2018

Dear Readers,

Starting today, the B. F. Skinner Foundation continues its project Skinner’s Quote of the Day with Contingencies of Reinforcement, 1969. As before, the selected quotes will be published daily Monday through Friday. You can subscribe to the RSS feed here, read it and comment on the website, or join the discussion group on […]

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By |January 3rd, 2018|News, Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on Skinner’s Quote of the Day Continues in 2018|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 36

“It is the environment which must be changed. A way of life which furthers the study of human behavior in its relation to that environment should be in the best possible position to solve its major problems.” (pp. 276-277)
 

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By |November 10th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 36|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 35

“A distinguished social philosopher has said, “It is only through a change of consciousness that the world will be saved. Everyone must begin with himself.” But no one can begin with himself; and if he could, it would certainly not be by changing his consciousness.” (p. 276)
 

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By |November 9th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 35|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 34

“We cannot say that a science of behavior has failed, for it has scarcely been tried. And it will not be given a fair trial until its philosophy has been clearly understood.” (p. 276)
 

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By |November 8th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 34|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 33

“When we say that science and technology have created more problems than they have solved, we mean physical and biological science and technology. It does not follow that a technology of behavior will mean further trouble. On the contrary, it may be just what is needed to salvage the other contributions.” (p. 276)
 

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By |November 7th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 33|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 32

“Knowing the basic principles without knowing the details of a practical problem is no closer to a solution than knowing the details without knowing the basic principles.” (p. 276)
 

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By |November 6th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 32|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 31

“We are all so used to being controlled to our disadvantage that to call a person harmless is to imply that he is totally ineffective or feeble-minded.” (p. 268)
 

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By |November 3rd, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 31|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 30

“Contingencies designed for explicit purposes can be called manipulative, though it does not follow that they are exploitative; unarranged contingencies must be recognized as having equal power, and also possibly unhappy consequences.” (p. 268)
 

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By |November 2nd, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 30|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 29

“[Behaviorism] provides an alternative account of the same facts [of daily life]. It does not reduce feelings to bodily states; it simply argues that bodily states are and always have been what are felt. It does not reduce thought processes to behavior; it simply analyzes the behavior previously explained by the invention of thought […]

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By |November 1st, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 29|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 28

“Man . . . is . . . breeding at a dangerous rate, exhausting the world’s resources, polluting the environment, and doing little to relieve the threat of a nuclear holocaust. Nevertheless, if the position I have presented here is correct, he can remedy these mistakes and at the same time build a world […]

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By |October 31st, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 28|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 27

“But man remains what he has always been, and his most conspicuous achievement has been the design and construction of a world which has freed him from constraints and vastly extended his range.” (p. 263)
 

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By |October 30th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 27|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 26

“Behavior is the achievement of a person, and we seem to deprive the human organism of something which is his natural due when we point instead to the environmental sources of his behavior. We do not dehumanize him; we dehomonculize him.” (p. 263)
 

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By |October 27th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 26|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 25

” . . . we can scarcely deny that man is an animal, though a remarkable one. The complaint that Pavlov converted Hamlet’s “How like a god!” into “How like a dog!” was answered by Hamlet himself: “In action how like an angel! In apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world! The […]

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By |October 26th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 25|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 24

“It has been said . . . that science has reached a limit beyond which it cannot establish the determinacy of physical phenomena, and it has been argued that this may be the point at which freedom emerges in human behavior . . . Similar arguments have proved wrong in the past.” (p. 260)
 

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By |October 25th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 24|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 23

“No one thinks before he acts except in the sense of acting covertly before acting overtly.” (p. 259)
 

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By |October 24th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 23|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 22

“Scientific knowledge is verbal behavior, though not necessarily linguistic. It is a corpus of rules for effective action, and there is a special sense in which it could be “true” if it yields the most effective action possible.” (p. 259)
 

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By |October 23rd, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 22|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 21

“It would be absurd for the behaviorist to contend that he is in any way exempt from his analysis. He cannot step out of the causal stream and observe behavior from some special point of vantage, “perched on the epicycle of Mercury.” In the very act of analyzing human behavior he is behaving—as, in […]

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By |October 20th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 14: Summing Up, Quote 21|