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So far B. F. Skinner Foundation has created 399 entries.

About Behaviorism, Chapter 3: Innate Behavior, Quote 3

“. . . plausible conditions of selection are hard to find in support of such an assertion as that “principles of grammar are present in the mind at birth,” since grammatical behavior can hardly have been sufficiently important to survival for a long enough time, to explain its selection.” (p. 42)

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By |March 13th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 3: Innate Behavior, Quote 3|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 3: Innate Behavior, Quote 2

“Darwin simply discovered the role of selection, a kind of causality very different from the push-pull mechanisms of science up to that time. The origin of a fantastic variety of living things could be explained by the contribution which novel features, possibly of random provenance, made to survival.” (pp. 40-41)

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By |March 10th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 3: Innate Behavior, Quote 2|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 3: Innate Behavior, Quote 1

“. . . to say that a bird builds a nest because it possesses a nest-building instinct, or because certain conditions release nest building, is merely to describe the fact, not to explain it.” (p. 38)

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By |March 9th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 3: Innate Behavior, Quote 1|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 15

“Profiting from recent advances in the experimental analysis of behavior, [behaviorism] has looked more closely at the conditions under which people respond to the world within their skin, and it can now analyze, one by one, the key terms in the mentalistic armamentarium.” (p. 36)

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By |March 8th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 15|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 14

“Even those who insist upon the reality of mental life will usually agree that little or no progress has been made since Plato’s day.” (p. 36)

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By |March 7th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 14|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 13

“Plato is said to have discovered the mind, but it would be more accurate to say that he invented one version of it.” (p. 35)

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By |March 6th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 13|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 12

“A person who has been “made aware of himself” by the questions he has been asked is in a better position to predict and control his own behavior.” (p. 35)

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By |March 3rd, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 12|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 11

“Self-knowledge is of social origin. It is only when a person’s private world becomes important to others that it is made important to him.” (p. 35)

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By |March 2nd, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 11|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 10

“Explanations of behavior vary with the kinds of answers accepted by the verbal community. If a simple “I feel like it” suffices, nothing else will appear. Freud was influential in changing the kinds of answers often given to “Why are you doing that?” He emphasized feelings but allowed for references to personal history. The […]

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By |March 1st, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 10|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 9

“The words used to describe covert behavior are the words acquired when behaving publicly.” (p. 31)

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By |February 28th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 9|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 8

“Verbal behavior can easily become covert because it does not require environmental support. “I said to myself . . . “ used synonymously with “I thought . . . ,” but we do not say, “I swam to myself.” (p. 31)

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By |February 27th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 8|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 7

“We often ask about feelings by asking “What does it feel like?” and the answer usually refers to a public condition which often produces a similar private effect.” (p. 27)

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By |February 24th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 7|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 6

“Fortunately, . . . the verbal community can to some extent solve the problem of privacy. For example, it can teach responses descriptive of internal conditions by using associated public conditions. Something of the same sort happens when a blind person is taught to name the objects he feels by a teacher who merely […]

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By |February 23rd, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 6|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 5

“The community can teach a child to name colors in various ways. For example, it can show him colored objects, ask him to respond with color words, and commend or correct him when his responses correspond or fail to correspond with the colors of the objects . . . The community cannot, however, follow […]

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By |February 22nd, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 5|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 4

“We might expect that because a person is in such intimate contact with his own body he should be able to describe its conditions and processes particularly well, but the very privacy which seems to confer a special privilege on the individual makes it difficult for the community to teach him to make distinctions.” […]

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By |February 21st, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 4|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 3

“We respond to our own body with three nervous systems, two of which are particularly concerned with internal features. The so-called interoceptive system . . . The so-called proprioceptive . . . A third nervous system, the exteroceptive, is primarily concerned with seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling things in the world around us, […]

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By |February 20th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 3|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 2

“We feel [the world within our skins] and in some sense observe it, and it would be foolish to neglect this source of information just because no more than one person can make contact with one inner world. Nevertheless, our behavior in making that contact needs to be examined.” (p. 24)

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By |February 17th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 2|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 1

“A small part of the universe is contained within the skin of each of us. There is no reason why it should have any special physical status because it lies within this boundary, and eventually we should have a complete account of it from anatomy and physiology.” (p. 24)

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By |February 16th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 2: The World Within the Skin, Quote 1|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 20

“When it is important to be clear about an issue, nothing but a technical vocabulary will suffice. It will often seem forced or roundabout. Old ways of speaking are abandoned with regret, and new ones are awkward and uncomfortable, but the change must be made.” (p. 22)

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By |February 15th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 20|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 19

“For purposes of casual discourse, I see no reason to avoid such an expression as “I have chosen to discuss . . .” (though I question the possibility of free choice), or “I have in mind . . .” (though I question the existence of a mind), or “I am aware of this fact […]

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By |February 14th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 19|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 18

“. . . it is impossible to engage in casual discourse without raising the ghosts of mentalistic theories. The role of the environment was discovered very late, and no popular vocabulary has yet emerged.” (p. 22)

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By |February 13th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 18|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 17

“To spend much time on exact redefinition of consciousness, will, wishes, sublimation, and so on would be as unwise as for physicists to do the same for ether, phlogiston, or vis viva.” (21)

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By |February 10th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 17|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 16

“I consider scores, if not hundreds, of examples of mentalistic usage. They are taken from current writing, but I have not cited the sources . . . (I express my regrets if the authors would have preferred to be given credit, but I have applied the Golden Rule and have done unto others what […]

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By |February 9th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 16|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 15

“One writer has recently said that “mere speculation which cannot be put to the test of experimental verification does not form part of science,” but if that were true, a great deal of astronomy, for example, or atomic physics would not be science. Speculation is necessary, in fact, to devise methods which will bring […]

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By |February 8th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 15|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 14

“Much of the argument goes beyond the established facts. I am concerned with interpretation rather than prediction and control. Every scientific field has a boundary beyond which discussion, though necessary, cannot be as precise as one would wish.” (p. 21)

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By |February 7th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 14|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 13

“When what a person does i[s] attributed to what is going on inside him, investigation is brought to an end. Why explain the explanation? For twenty-five hundred years people have been preoccupied with feelings and mental life, but only recently has any interest been shown in a more precise analysis of the role of […]

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By |February 6th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 13|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 12

“The environment made its first great contribution during the evolution of the species, but it exerts a different kind of effect during the lifetime of the individual, and the combination of the two effects is the behavior we observe at any given time.” (p. 19)

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By |February 3rd, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 12|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 11

“An organism behaves as it does because of its current structure, but most of this is out of reach of introspection. At the moment we must content ourselves, as the methodological behaviorist insists, with a person’s genetic and environmental histories. What are introspectively observed are certain collateral products of those histories.” (p. 19)

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By |February 2nd, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 11|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 10

“Radical behaviorism restores some kind of balance. It does not insist upon truth by agreement and can therefore consider events taking place in the private world within the skin. It does not call these events unobservable, and it does not dismiss them as subjective. It simply questions the nature of the object observed and […]

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By |February 1st, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 10|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 9

“Radical behaviorism . . . does not deny the possibility of self-observation or self-knowledge or its possible usefulness, but it questions the nature of what is felt or observed and hence known. It restores introspection but not what philosophers and introspective psychologists had believed they were “specting,” and it raises the question of how […]

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By |January 31st, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 9|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 8

“Most methodological behaviorists granted the existence of mental events while ruling them out of consideration.” (p. 17)

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By |January 30th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 8|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 7

“It is so easy to observe feelings and states of mind at a time and place which make them seem like causes that we are not inclined to inquire further. Once the environment begins to be studied, however, its significance cannot be denied.” (pp. 15-16)

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By |January 27th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 7|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 6

“The quickest way to [avoid the mentalistic problem] is to confine oneself to what an early behaviorist, Max Meyer, called the “psychology of the other one”: consider only those facts which can be objectively observed in the behavior of one person in relation to his environmental history.” (p. 14)

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By |January 26th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 6|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 5

“Structuralism or developmentalism do not tell us why customs are followed, why people vote as they do or display attitudes or traits of character, or why different languages have common features. Time or age cannot be manipulated; we can only wait for a person or a culture to pass through a developmental period.” (pp. […]

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By |January 25th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 5|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 4

“A kind of prediction is possible on the principle that what people have often done they are likely to do again; they follow customs because it is customary to follow them, they exhibit voting or buying habits, and so on.” (p. 13)

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By |January 24th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 4|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 3

“. . . the major difficulties are practical: we cannot anticipate what a person will do by looking directly at his feelings or his nervous system, nor can we change his behavior by changing his mind or his brain.” (p. 12)

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By |January 23rd, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 3|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 2

“The person with whom we are most familiar is ourself; many of the things we observe just before we behave occur within our body, and it is easy to take them as the causes of our behavior.” (pp. 10-11)

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By |January 20th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 2|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 1

“Why do people behave as they do? It was probably first a practical question: How could a person anticipate and hence prepare for what another person would do? Later it would become practical in another sense: How could another person be induced to behave in a given way?” (p. 10)

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By |January 19th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 1: The Causes of Behavior?, Quote 1|

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 11

“The major problems facing the world today can be solved only if we improve our understanding of human behavior. Traditional views have been around for centuries, and I think it is fair to say that they have proved to be inadequate.” (pp. 8-9)

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By |January 18th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 11|

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 10

“Unfortunately, very little is known about this analysis outside the field. Its most active investigators, and there are hundreds of them, seldom make any efforts to explain themselves to nonspecialists. As a result, few people are familiar with the scientific underpinnings of what, I believe, is the most cogent statement of the behavioristic position.” […]

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By |January 17th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 10|

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 9

“The criticisms listed above [on pp. 4-5] are most effectively answered by a special discipline, which has come to be called the experimental analysis of behavior. The behavior of individual organisms is studied in carefully controlled environments, and the relation between behavior and environment then formulated.” (p. 8)

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By |January 16th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 9|

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 8

“I believe the explanation [why behaviorism is still so seriously misunderstood] is this: the science itself is misunderstood.” (p. 8)

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By |January 13th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 8|

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 7

“Much is at stake in the way in which we look at ourselves, and a behavioristic formulation certainly calls for some disturbing changes”. (p. 7)

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By |January 12th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 7|

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 6

“[Watson’s] new science was also, so to speak, born prematurely. Very few scientific facts about behavior—particularly human behavior—were available . . . Among the behavioral facts at hand were reflexes and conditioned reflexes, and Watson made the most of them, but the reflex suggested a push-pull type of causality not incompatible with the nineteenth-century […]

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By |January 11th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 6|

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 5

“Watson himself had made important observations of instinctive behavior and was, indeed one of the first ethologists in the modern spirit, but he was greatly impressed by new evidence of what an organism could learn to do, and he made some rather extreme claims about the potential of a newborn human infant.” (p. 6)

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By |January 10th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 5|

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 4

“The first explicit behaviorist was John B. Watson, who in 1913 issued a kind of manifesto called Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It. As the title shows, he was not proposing a new science but arguing that psychology should be redefined as the study of behavior. This may have been a strategic mistake.” (p. […]

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By |January 9th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 4|

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 3

“Human behavior is the most familiar feature of the world in which people live, and more must have been said about it than about any other thing; how much of what has been said is worth saving?” (p. 3)

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By |January 6th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 3|

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 2

“Some of the questions [behaviorism] asks are these: Is such a science really possible? Can it account for every aspect of human behavior? What methods can it use? Are its laws as valid as those of physics and biology? Will it lead to a technology, and if so, what role will it play in […]

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By |January 5th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 2|

About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 1

“Behaviorism is not the science of human behavior; it is the philosophy of that science.” (p. 3)

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By |January 4th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Introduction, Quote 1|

Skinner’s Quote of the Day Project starts 2017 with quotes from About Behaviorism

A good tradition of starting on January 4th of the New Year to publish daily quotations from Skinner’s publications continues today. We start 2017 with the first quote from About Behaviorism (Skinner, 1974).

Quotes from B. F. Skinner works, selected by renowned scientists, appear daily Monday-Friday in order, starting with Chapter 1 of each book […]

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By |January 4th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on Skinner’s Quote of the Day Project starts 2017 with quotes from About Behaviorism|