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January 31, 2013
Skinner's contributions to psychology are vast, Skinner‘s theories explored ways that we
learn and process stimuli in the environment. Through his research, Skinner discovered operant
conditioning, which indicated that behavior, could be controlled by influence such as,
punishments and rewards in the environment. His entire system revolved around operant
conditioning, which has been defined as the modification of behavior by making the presence or
absence of rewards or punishment contingent on behavior, also known as instrumental learning.
“Operant conditioning has been widely applied in clinical settings (i.e., behavior modification) as
well as teaching (i.e., classroom management) and instructional development (e.g., programmed
instruction)” (Phsychology.Org, n.d). By emphasizing the importance of making psychology a
science, B.F. Skinner was able to measure particular behaviors that influenced cognitive
psychology. The psychological theories developed by B.F. Skinner include superstitious
behavior, operant conditioning, punishment, and reinforcement. With these theories in mind,
Skinner developed the Skinner Box. This contraption is a metal cage with a pedal on one of the
walls, that when pressed releases a food pellet into the cage. When the rodent presses the pedal
and the food pellet is released, the rodent realizes the accomplishment and continuously presses
the pedal and begins hoarding the food pellets. The operant behavior occurs before the rodent
presses the pedal. The reinforcement is the pellet falling into the cage. If the rodent is punished
for continuously pressing pedal, the rodent will stop. Punishment and reinforcement are applied
to get the rodent to repeat or stop its operant behavior. Punishment is another part of Skinners
experiments; punishment suppresses behavior. It does not teach more...