Product Categories

These titles are offered through Amazon.com:

Beyond Freedom and Dignity Available in paperback


Science and Human Behavior Available in paperback


Principles of Psychology Available in paperback

We need your input!

BFSF has a PDF of Science and Human Behavior by Skinner as a free download in English. What other languages shall we translate it into and distribute for free?

How do you read your books?

How do you prefer to read your books?

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. You can leave your comments here (registered users only), or join the discussion on our open Facebook forum. RSS feed for Skinner’s Quote of the Day is available here.

About Behaviorism, Chapter 11: The Self and Others, Quote 9

“It is difficult to maintain an identity when conditions change, but a person may conceal from himself conflicting selves, possibly by ignoring or disguising one or more of them, or by branding one a stranger, as in explaining uncharacteristic behavior by saying, “I was not myself.” (p. 187)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 11: The Self and Others, Quote 8

“Self-knowledge is of social origin, and it is useful first to the community which asks the questions. Later, it becomes important to the person himself—for example, in managing or controlling himself . . .” (p. 186)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 11: The Self and Others, Quote 7

“All species except man behave without knowing that they do so, and presumably this was true of man until a verbal community arose to ask about behavior and thus to generate self-descriptive behavior.” (p. 186)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 11: The Self and Others, Quote 6

“A distinction between two selves in the same skin is made when we say that a tennis player “gets mad at himself” because he misses an easy shot . . . A similar distinction is made in self-knowledge.” (p. 186)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 11: The Self and Others, Quote 5

“A person is not an originating agent; he is a locus, a point at which many genetic and environmental conditions come together in a joint effect. As such, he remains unquestionably unique.” (p. 185)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 11: The Self and Others, Quote 4

“The person who asserts his freedom by saying, “I determine what I shall do next,” is speaking of freedom in or from a current situation: the I who thus seems to have an option is the product of a history from which it is not free and which in fact determines what it will […]

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 11: The Self and Others, Quote 3

“Complex contingencies create complex repertoires, and . . . different contingencies create different persons in the same skin, of which so-called multiple personalities are only an extreme manifestation.” (pp. 184-185)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 11: The Self and Others, Quote 2

“In a behavioral analysis a person is an organism, a member of the human species, which has acquired a repertoire of behavior. It remains an organism to the anatomist and physiologist, but it is a person to those to whom its behavior is important.” (p. 184)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 11: The Self and Others, Quote 1

“It is often said that a science of behavior studies the human organism but neglects the person or self. What it neglect is a vestige of animism, a doctrine which in its crudest form held that the body as moved by one or more indwelling spirits.” (p. 184)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 10: The Inner World of Motivation and Emotion, Quote 13

“The argonauts of the psyche have for centuries sailed the stormy seas of the mind, never in sight of their goal, revising their charts from time to time in the light of what seemed like new information, less and less sure of their way home, hopelessly lost. They have failed to find the Golden […]

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 10: The Inner World of Motivation and Emotion, Quote 12

“We need to know a great deal more about complex contingencies of reinforcement, and it will always be hard to deal with that particular set to which any one person is exposed during his life, but at least we know how to go about finding out what we need to know.” (p. 182)
 

Subscribe to […]

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 10: The Inner World of Motivation and Emotion, Quote 11

“The psyche, like the mind, is a metaphor which is made plausible by the seeming relevance of what a person feels or introspectively observes but which is destined to remain forever in the depths. By contrast, the environment is usually accessible.” (p. 182)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 10: The Inner World of Motivation and Emotion, Quote 10

“The objection to the inner workings of the mind is not that they are not open to inspection but that they have stood in the way of the inspection of more important things.” (p. 182)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 10: The Inner World of Motivation and Emotion, Quote 9

“The extraordinary appeal of inner causes and the accompanying neglect of environmental histories and current setting must be due to more than a linguistic practice. I suggest that it has the appeal of the arcane, the occult, the hermetic, the magical—those mysteries which have held so important a position in the history of human […]

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 10: The Inner World of Motivation and Emotion, Quote 8

“Some people may have been born cautious in the sense that they learn very quickly to move cautiously or become excessively cautious even when not excessively punished, but the behavior at issue can usually be traced to a history of punishing consequences.” (p.178)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 10: The Inner World of Motivation and Emotion, Quote 7

“We tend to make nouns of adjectives and verbs and must then find a place for the things the nouns are said to represent.” (p. 177)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 10: The Inner World of Motivation and Emotion, Quote 6

“By turning to the facts on which these expressions [about “intrapsychic life”] are based, it is usually possible to identify the contingencies of reinforcement which account for the intrapsychic activities.” (p. 170)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 10: The Inner World of Motivation and Emotion, Quote 5

“What behaviorism rejects is the unconscious as an agent, and of course it rejects the conscious mind as an agent, too.” (p. 169)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 10: The Inner World of Motivation and Emotion, Quote 4

“To increase a person’s consciousness of the external world is simply to bring him under more sensitive control of that world as a source of stimulation.” (p. 169)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 10: The Inner World of Motivation and Emotion, Quote 3

“It is often said, particularly by psychoanalysts, that behaviorism cannot deal with the unconscious. The fact is that, to begin with, it deals with nothing else. The controlling relations between behavior and genetic and environmental variables are all unconscious as long as they are not observed, and it was Freud who emphasized that they […]

Share

About Behaviorism, Chapter 10: The Inner World of Motivation and Emotion, Quote 2

“Freud’s analysis has seemed convincing because of its universality, but it is the environmental contingencies rather than the psyche which are invariant.” (p. 167)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |June 22nd, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 10: The Inner World of Motivation and Emotion, Quote 2|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 10: The Inner World of Motivation and Emotion, Quote 1

“A self or personality is at best a repertoire of behavior imparted by an organized set of contingencies.” (p.164)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |June 21st, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 10: The Inner World of Motivation and Emotion, Quote 1|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 10

“How much more we should know if the prevailing contingencies had been described rather than the feelings and isms generated by them.” (p. 162)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |June 20th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 10|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 9

“The facts and laws of science are descriptions of the world—that is, of prevailing contingencies of reinforcement. They make it possible for a person to act more successfully than he could learn to do in one short lifetime or ever through direct exposure to many kinds of contingencies.” (pp. 158-159)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |June 19th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 9|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 8

“It is often said that reinforcement conveys information, but this is simply to say that it makes a response not only more probable but more probable on a specific occasion.” (p. 158)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |June 16th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 8|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 7

“In a simple sense of the word, I have understood what a person says if I can repeat it correctly. In a somewhat more complex sense, I understand it if I respond appropriately.” (p. 156)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |June 15th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 7|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 6

“Perceptual responses which clarify stimuli and resolve puzzlement may automatically reinforcing. “Getting the meaning” of a difficult passage is similar.” (p. 155)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |June 14th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 6|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 5

“The West is said to have made a fetish out of the control of nature. It is certainly not difficult to point to the unhappy consequences of many advances in science, but it is not clear how they can be corrected except through a further exercise of scientific power.” (p. 154)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed […]

Share
By |June 13th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 5|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 4

“Knowledge which permits a person to describe contingencies is quite different from the knowledge identified with the behavior shaped by the contingencies. Neither form implies the other.” (p. 153)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |June 12th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 4|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 3

“It is often useful to speak of a repertoire of behavior which, like the repertoire of a musician or a company of players, is what a person or company is capable of doing, given the right circumstances.” (p. 152)    
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |June 9th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 3|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 2

“Behavior exists only when it is being executed.” (p.151)        
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |June 8th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 2|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 1

“We say that a newborn baby knows how to cry, suckle, and sneeze. We say that a child knows how to walk and how to ride a tricycle. The evidence is simply that the baby and child exhibit the behavior specified. Moving from verb to noun, we say that they possess knowledge, and the […]

Share
By |June 7th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 9: Knowing, Quote 1|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 8: Causes and Reasons, Quote 4

“There is no way in which a verbal description of a setting can be absolutely true . . . Absolute truth can be found, if at all, only in rules derived from rules, and here it is mere tautology.” (p. 150)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |June 6th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 8: Causes and Reasons, Quote 4|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 8: Causes and Reasons, Quote 3

“Certainly for thousands of years people spoke grammatically without knowing that there were rules of grammar.” (p. 141)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |June 5th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 8: Causes and Reasons, Quote 3|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 8: Causes and Reasons, Quote 2

“We do not need to describe contingencies of reinforcement in order to be affected by them. Lower organisms presumably do not do so, nor did the human species before it acquired verbal behavior.” (p. 141)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |June 2nd, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 8: Causes and Reasons, Quote 2|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 8: Causes and Reasons, Quote 1

“A person who is following directions, taking advice, heeding warnings, or obeying rules or laws does not behave precisely as one who has been directly exposed to the contingencies, because description of the contingencies is never complete or exact . . .” (p. 139)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |June 1st, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 8: Causes and Reasons, Quote 1|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 16

“By attempting to move human behavior into a world of nonphysical dimensions, mentalistic or cognitive psychologists have cast the basic issues in insoluble forms.” (p. 131)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |May 31st, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 16|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 15

“Both the mind and the brain are not far from the ancient notion of a homunculus—an inner person who behaves in precisely the ways necessary to explain the behavior of the outer person in whom he dwells.” (p. 130)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |May 30th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 15|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 14

“It may be true that there is no structure without construction, but we must look to the constructing environment, not to a constructing mind.” (p. 129)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |May 30th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 14|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 13

“Explicit ways of making it more likely that original behavior will occur by introducing “mutations” are familiar to writers, artists, composers, mathematicians, scientists, and inventors. Either the setting or the topography of behavior may be deliberately varied.” (p. 127)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |May 29th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 13|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 12

“. . . at first glance, there seems to be no room for chance in any completely determined system . . . Yet the biographies of writers, composers, artists, scientists, mathematicians, and inventors all reveal the importance of happy accidents in the production of original behavior.” (pp. 126-127).
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |May 26th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 12|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 11

“As accidental traits, arising from mutations, are selected by their contribution to survival, so accidental variations in behavior are selected by their reinforcing consequences.” (p.126)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |May 25th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 11|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 10

“It is said that a person has made a choice when he has taken one of two or more seemingly possible courses of action.” (p. 124)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |May 24th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 10|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 9

“The covert case [of problem solving], to which the term “thinking” is most likely to be applied, enjoys no special advantage beyond that of speed or confidentiality.” (p. 124)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |May 23rd, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 9|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 8

“Techniques of recall are not concerned with searching a storehouse of memory but with increasing the probability of responses.” (p. 121)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |May 22nd, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 8|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 7

“Abstracting and forming concepts are likely to be called cognitive, but they also involve contingencies of reinforcement. We do not need to suppose that an abstract entity or concept is held in the mind; a subtle and complex history of reinforcement has generated a special kind of stimulus control.” (p. 117)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed […]

Share
By |May 19th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 7|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 6

“What is involved in attention is not a change of stimulus or of receptors but the contingencies underlying the process of discrimination . . . Discrimination is a behavioral process: the contingencies, not the mind, make discriminations. (p. 117)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |May 18th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 6|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 5

“Covert behavior is also easily observed and by no means unimportant, and it was a mistake for methodological behaviorism and certain versions of logical positivism and structuralism to neglect it simply because it was not “objective.” It would also be a mistake not to recognize its limitations.” (p. 115)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |May 17th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 5|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 4

“Covert behavior is almost always acquired in overt form, and no one has ever shown that the covert form achieves anything which is out of reach of the overt.” (p. 115)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |May 16th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 4|

About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 3

“Covert behavior has the advantage that we can act without committing ourselves; we can revoke the behavior and try again if private consequences are not reinforcing.” (p. 114)
 

Subscribe to RSS feed here

Share
By |May 15th, 2017|Skinner's Quote of the Day|Comments Off on About Behaviorism, Chapter 7: Thinking, Quote 3|