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Skinner, Burrhus Frederick

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Definition: Skinner ( noun) B(urrhus) F(rederic) (1904 - 1990) from

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U.S. behavioural psychologist. His “laws of learning”, derived from experiments with animals, have been widely applied to education and behaviour therapy.

Summary Article: B. F. SKINNER from Key Thinkers in Linguistics and the Philosophy of Language
Skinner, B. F. (Burrhus Frederic) (b. 1904, d. 1990; American), professor, Harvard University (1948–90). Psychologist, who argued that verbal behaviour could be accounted for in terms of stimulus–response–reinforcement conditioning. (See also Chomsky, Noam; Hockett, Charles; Pike, Kenneth; Quine, W. V. O.) The son of a lawyer, B. F. Skinner was born in the small town of Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, in March 1904. Much of his boyhood was spent building various machines and devices, including a failed attempt to build a perpetual motion machine. However, upon leaving university his early career aspirations were literary, leading him to move to Greenwich Village in New York City in the late 1920s. He soon returned to education, studying psychology at Harv...    Continue Reading

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