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Beyond Freedom and Dignity Available in paperback


Science and Human Behavior Available in paperback


Principles of Psychology Available in paperback

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 5: Operant Behavior, Quote 6

“A single reinforcement may have a considerable effect. Under good conditions the frequency of a response shifts from a prevailing low value to a stable high value in a single abrupt step.” (p. 67)

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New Board of Directors Member

David C. Palmer has replaced Brenda Terzich-Garland as a member of the Board of Directors of the B. F. Skinner Foundation. We thank Brenda for her service and look forward to working with Dave over the next few years. Dave has participated in the Foundation’s activities before, and contributed the new Foreword for the […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 5: Operant Behavior, Quote 5

“While we are awake, we act upon the environment constantly, and many of the consequences of our actions are reinforcing. Through operant conditioning the environment builds the basic repertoire with which we keep our balance, walk, play games, handle instruments and tools, talk, write, sail a boat, drive a car, or fly a plane.” […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 5: Operant Behavior, Quote 4

“In operant conditioning we “strengthen” an operant in the sense of making a response more probable or, in actual fact, more frequent. In Pavlovian or “respondent” conditioning we simply increase the magnitude of the response elicited by the conditioned stimulus and shorten the time which elapses between stimulus and response.” (p. 65)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 5: Operant Behavior, Quote 3

“A response which has already occurred cannot, of course, be predicted or controlled. We can only predict that similar responses will occur in the future. The unit of a predictive science is, therefore, not a response but a class of responses. The word “operant” will be used to describe this class. The term emphasizes […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 5: Operant Behavior, Quote 2

“It is customary to refer to any movement of the organism as a “response.” The word is borrowed from the field of reflex action and implies an act which, so to speak, answers a prior event—the stimulus. But we may make an event contingent upon behavior without identifying, or being able to identify, a […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 5: Operant Behavior, Quote 1

“Learning curves do not, however, describe the basic process of stamping in. Thorndike’s measure—the time taken to escape— involved the elimination of other behavior, and his curve depended upon the number of different things a cat might do in a particular box. It also depended upon the behavior which the experimenter or the apparatus […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 4: Reflexes and Conditioned Reflexes, Quote 5

“[Respondent] conditioning adds new controlling stimuli, but not new responses. In using the principle, therefore, we are not subscribing to a “conditioned reflex theory” of all behavior. (p. 56)

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New edition of Operants delivered to subscribers

As promised, Operants magazine has transitioned from a quarterly publication to six editions per year. The January-February, 2016 issue has been delivered to subscribers and it features a wealth of material on the history of behavioral science. Enjoy a trip back in time to B. F. Skinner’s early years at Harvard and learn who […]

Behavior of Organisms available in e-book formats

B. F. Skinner’s first book, The Behavior of Organisms is now available in electronic formats. Exclusive to the B. F. Skinner Foundation’s bookstore (http://www.bfskinner.org/shop-2/) is the PDF, priced at $0.99. Skinner’s Verbal Behavior and other PDFs are $0.99 as well, and Science and Human Behavior is free. These PDFs are Name-Your-Price products. That means […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 4: Reflexes and Conditioned Reflexes, Quote 4

“Pavlov’s achievement was the discovery, not of neural processes, but of important quantitative relations which permit us, regardless of neurological hypotheses, to give a direct account of behavior in the field of the conditioned reflex.” (p. 54)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 4: Reflexes and Conditioned Reflexes, Quote 3

“Only a quantitative description will make sure that there is no additional mental process in which the dog “associates the sound of the tone with the idea of food” or in which it salivates because it “expects” food to appear. Pavlov could dispense with concepts of this sort only when he could give a […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 4: Reflexes and Conditioned Reflexes, Quote 2

“By its very nature, spontaneity must yield ground as a scientific analysis is able to advance.” (p. 48)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 4: Reflexes and Conditioned Reflexes, Quote 1

“By eliminating some conditions, holding others constant, and varying others in an orderly manner, basic lawful relations could be established without dissection and could be expressed without neurological theories.” (p. 48)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 3: Why Organisms Behave, Quote 13

“. . . the time has come when we must admit that we cannot solve the important problems in human affairs with a general “philosophy of human behavior.” The present analysis requires considerable attention to detail.” (p. 42)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 3: Why Organisms Behave, Quote 12

“The commonest objection to a thoroughgoing functional analysis is simply that it cannot be carried out, but the only evidence for this is that it has not yet been carried out.” (p. 41)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 3: Why Organisms Behave, Quote 11

“By confining ourselves to these observable events, we gain a considerable advantage, not only in theory, but in practice.” (p. 36)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 3: Why Organisms Behave, Quote 10

“It is no help to be told that to get an organism to drink we are simply to “make it thirsty” unless we are also told how this is to be done. When we have obtained the necessary prescription for thirst, the whole proposal is more complex than it need be. . . . […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 3: Why Organisms Behave, Quote 9

“The practice of looking inside the organism for an explanation of behavior has tended to obscure the variables which are immediately available for a scientific analysis. These variables lie outside the organism, in its immediate environment and in its environmental history.” (p. 31)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 3: Why Organisms Behave, Quote 8

“. . . such terms as “hunger,” “habit,” and “intelligence” convert what are essentially the properties of a process or relation into what appear to be things. Thus we are unprepared for the properties eventually to be discovered in the behavior itself and continue to look for something which may not exist.” (p. 31)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 3: Why Organisms Behave, Quote 7

“But on analysis these phrases prove to be merely redundant descriptions. A single set of facts is described by the two statements: “He eats” and “He is hungry.” A single set of facts is described by the two statements: “He smokes a great deal” and “He has the smoking habit.” A single set of […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 3: Why Organisms Behave, Quote 6

“Since mental or psychic events are asserted to lack the dimensions of physical science, we have an additional reason for rejecting them.” (p. 30-31)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 3: Why Organisms Behave, Quote 5

“The fictional nature of this form of inner cause is shown by the ease with which the mental process is discovered to have just the properties needed to account for the behavior.” (p. 30)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 3: Why Organisms Behave, Quote 4

“Eventually a science of the nervous system based upon direct observation rather than inference will describe the neural states and events which immediately precede instances of behavior. We shall know the precise neurological conditions which immediately precede, say, the response, “No, thank you.” These events in turn will be found to be preceded by […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 3: Why Organisms Behave, Quote 3

“There is nothing wrong with an inner explanation as such, but events which are located inside a system are likely to be difficult to observe. For this reason we are encouraged to assign properties to them without justification. Worse still, we can invent causes of this sort without fear of contradiction.” (p. 27)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 3: Why Organisms Behave, Quote 2

“The most that can be said is that the knowledge of the genetic factor may enable us to make better use of other causes. If we know that an individual has certain inherent limitations, we may use our techniques of control more intelligently, but we cannot alter the genetic factor.” (p. 26)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 3: Why Organisms Behave, Quote 1

“We want to know why men behave as they do. Any condition or event which can be shown to have an effect upon behavior must be taken into account. By discovering and analyzing these causes we can predict behavior; to the extent that we can manipulate them, we can control behavior.” (p. 23)

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 2 A Science of Behavior?, Quote 11

“A science of behavior which concerns only the behavior of groups is not likely to be of help in our understanding of the particular case. But a science may also deal with the behavior of the individual, and its success in doing so must be evaluated in terms of its achievements rather than any […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 2 A Science of Behavior?, Quote 10

“A final answer to the problem of lawfulness is to be sought, not in the limits of any hypothetical mechanism within the organism, but in our ability to demonstrate lawfulness in the behavior of the organism as a whole. (p. 17)
 

 

 

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 2 A Science of Behavior?, Quote 9

“It has sometimes been pointed out, for example, that physical science has been unable to maintain its philosophy of determinism, particularly at the subatomic level. The Principle of Indeterminacy states that there are circumstances under which the physicist cannot put himself in possession of all relevant information: if he chooses to observe one event, […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 2 A Science of Behavior?, Quote 8

“When a science of behavior reaches the point of dealing with lawful relationships, it meets the resistance of those who give their allegiance to prescientific or extrascientific conceptions. The resistance does not always take the form of an overt rejection of science. It may be transmuted into claims of limitations, often expressed in highly […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 2 A Science of Behavior?, Quote 7

“We all know thousands of facts about behavior. Actually there is no subject matter with which we could be better acquainted, for we are always in the presence of at least one behaving organism. But this familiarity is something of a disadvantage, for we have probably jumped to conclusions which will not be supported […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 2 A Science of Behavior?, Quote 6

“In a later stage science advances from the collection of rules or laws to larger systematic arrangements. Not only does it make statements about the world, it makes statements about statements. It sets up a “model” of its subject matter, which helps to generate new rules very much as the rules themselves generate new […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 2 A Science of Behavior?, Quote 5

“Science is, of course, more than a set of attitudes. It is a search for order, for uniformities, for lawful relations among the events in nature.” (p. 13)
 

 

 

 

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 2 A Science of Behavior?, Quote 4

“Scientists have also discovered the value of remaining without an answer until a satisfactory one can be found. This is a difficult lesson.” (p. 13)
 

 

 

 

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 2 A Science of Behavior?, Quote 3

“Experiments do not always come out as one expects, but the facts must stand and the expectations fall. The subject matter, not the scientist, knows best.” (p. 13)
 

 

 

 

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 2 A Science of Behavior?, Quote 2

“Science is a willingness to accept facts even when they are opposed to wishes.” (p. 12)
 

 

 

 

 

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter 2 A Science of Behavior?, Quote 1

Science is first of all a set of attitudes. It is a disposition to deal with the facts rather than with what someone has said about them. Rejection of authority was the theme of the revival of learning, when men dedicated themselves to the study of “nature, not books.” (p. 12)
 

 

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter I Can Science Help?, Quote 5

“The Copernican theory of the solar system displaced man from his pre-eminent position at the center of things. Today we accept this theory without emotion, but originally it met with enormous resistance. Darwin challenged a practice of segregation in which man set himself firmly apart from the animals, and the bitter struggle which arose […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter I Can Science Help?, Quote 4

“Science not only describes, it predicts. It deals not only with the past but with the future. Nor is prediction the last word: to the extent that relevant conditions can be altered, or otherwise controlled, the future can be controlled. If we are to use the methods of science in the field of human […]

New Project: Skinner’s Quote of the Day

On January 4, 2016, the B. F. Skinner Foundation launched a new project – Skinner’s Quote of the Day. Quotes from B. F. Skinner works, selected by renowned scientists,  appear daily Monday-Friday in order, starting with Chapter 1 of each book and running all the way through the last chapter. We started with the […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter I Can Science Help?, Quote 3

“Science is more than a description of events as they occur. It is an attempt to discover order, to show that certain events stand in lawful relations to other events. No practical technology can be based upon science until such relations have been discovered. But order is not only a possible end product; it […]

Quarter IV, 2015 Edition of Operants Magazine

Quarter IV edition of Operants magazine went out to subscribers on December 30, 2015. This edition is a special one: We remember B. F. Skinner 25 years after his death by reflecting on the state of behavioral science in Brazil, Europe, Israel, and North America. We also look at the young generation of behaviorologists […]

Science and Human Behavior, Chapter I Can Science Help?, Quote 2

“It is understood that there is no point in furthering a science of nature unless it includes a sizable science of human nature, because only in that case will the results be wisely used.” (p. 5)
 

 

 

 

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Science and Human Behavior, Chapter I Can Science Help?, Quote 1

“The methods of science have been enormously successful wherever they have been tried. Let us then apply them to human affairs.” (p. 5)

 

 

 

 

 

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Karen Pryor visits the Foundation’s office

Karen Pryor, a best-selling author, stopped by the B. F. Skinner Foundation’s offices. She was interviewed for the upcoming edition of Operants by Sheila Habarad, Editor-In-Chief (left). Karen is a behavioral biologist with an international reputation in two fields, marine mammal biology and behavioral psychology. She is a founder and leading proponent of “clicker […]

By |October 7th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Karen Pryor visits the Foundation’s office|

Quarter III, 2015 Edition of Operants Magazine

Quarter III, 2015 edition of Operants magazine went out to subscribers on September 26. In this issue we feature contributions from, and profiles of scientists and practitioners from Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, and the USA. There is a discussion on Ivan Pavlov and his influence on young Skinner. Also, our […]

By |October 7th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Quarter III, 2015 Edition of Operants Magazine|

Walden Two read by B. F. Skinner available for download

For as little as $1.99 you can download Walden Two read by B. F. Skinner. It is available both in MP3 and iTunes audio book formats (combining all chapters into one file was impractical due to size, so you will have to download each chapter as a separate file).

This audio book is a Name-Your-Price […]

By |September 2nd, 2015|News|Comments Off on Walden Two read by B. F. Skinner available for download|

Congratulations to 2015 Winners of the B. F. Skinner Foundation Research Awards!

The B. F. Skinner Foundation sponsors research awards through Florida Association of Behavior Analysis (FABA) and Division 25 of the American Psychological Association. In 2015 award winners are, respectively:

 

 

 

 

Ashley Tudor, B.A., BCaBA. Read more here.

 

Dr. Bethany Raiff, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology
Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey. Read more here.

Congratulations!

By |August 18th, 2015|News|Comments Off on Congratulations to 2015 Winners of the B. F. Skinner Foundation Research Awards!|

New edition of Operants

Quarter II, 2015 edition of Operants went out to subscribers on July 8. This edition is dedicated to to education, with contributors from Brazil, Ireland, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States.  This issue discusses the scientific underpinnings needed for effective instruction. Several techniques illustrate the application of the science of behavior […]

By |July 8th, 2015|News|Comments Off on New edition of Operants|