B.F. Skinner gave us concepts like "conditioned behavior," "positive reinforcement," and even "time-outs" for children. But he was also a radical among psychologists who cast aside notions of dignity and free will. Here's why Skinner continues to be relevant — and even a bit dangerous.
When I was a little kid, I had a weird babysitter. She was very pale and thin, with dark hair and a tentative smile. She wore blouses with big trumpet sleeves, out of which poked her bony white wrists and elbows. She seldom made physical contact. She lived just up the street from us, and I heard people say she'd been…
World War II was a wonderful mix of high tech, low tech, and just plain crazy. One idea, which in many ways exemplified the era, was the concept of the pigeon-guided missile, thought up by none other than B.F. Skinner.
B.F. Skinner is a psychologist best known for the Skinner Box, a kind of sensory-deprivation device which limits the creature inside it to only one form of stimulus at a time. Using one such box, he discovered 'superstition' in pigeons.