20 B.F. Skinner Quotes On Behaviorism

Read some of the best and famous B. F. Skinner quotes on behaviourism that will teach you how behaviourism matters in learning and education.

b.f. skinner on behaviorism

Considered the father of Behaviorism, American psychologist B.F. Skinner is best known for his influence on behaviourism. He referred to his own philosophy as 'radical behaviorism' and suggested that the concept of free will was simply a psychological construct. 

Burrhus Frederic Skinner's research & writing rapidly made him the leader in Behaviorism. His work helped experimental psychology become what it is today, and he'll always be remembered for that.

Let's now look at some of his quotes on behaviourism and learn something new about psychology.

B.F. Skinner Quotes On Behaviorism

1. “A person who has been punished is not thereby simply less inclined to behave in a given way; at best, he learns how to avoid punishment.” - B.F. Skinner

skinner quotes behaviorism


2. “It is a surprising fact that those who object most violently to the manipulation of behaviour nevertheless make the most vigorous effort to manipulate minds.” - B.F. Skinner

3. “Behavior is determined by its consequences.” - B.F. Skinner

4. “The major difference between rats and people is that rats learn from experience.” - B.F. Skinner

5. “It is a surprising fact that those who are most adamantly opposed to the manipulation of behavior, however, make the most strenuous effort to manipulate minds.” - B.F. Skinner

6. “It is said that the life of the mind requires and consumes psychic energy. This is, simply, another way to represent the probability of the behavior derived from supervisory or reinforcement contingencies.” - B.F. Skinner

7. “The main problem facing the world today can only be solved if we improve our understanding of human behavior.” - B.F. Skinner

8. “The simplest and most satisfactory view is that thought is simply behavior - verbal or nonverbal, covert or overt. It is not some mysterious process responsible for behavior but the very behavior itself in all the complexity of its controlling relations.” - B.F. Skinner

9. “An important fact about verbal behavior is that speaker and listener may reside within the same skin.” - B.F. Skinner

10. “An important fact about verbal behavior is that speaker and listener may reside within the same skin.” - B.F. Skinner

11. “The real question is not whether machines think but whether men do. The mystery which surrounds a thinking machine already surrounds a thinking man.” - B.F. Skinner

12. “At this very moment enormous numbers of intelligent men and women of goodwill are trying to build a better world. But problems are born faster than they can be solved.” - B.F. Skinner

skinner quotes behaviorism


13. “The only geniuses produced by the chaos of society are those who do something about it. Chaos breeds geniuses. It offers a man something to be a genius about.” - B.F. Skinner

14. “I believe that I have been basically anarchistic, anti-religion and anti-industry and business. In other words, anti-bureaucracy. I would like to see people behave well without having to have priests stand by, politicians stand by, or people collecting bills.” - B.F. Skinner

15. “The simplest and most satisfactory view is that thought is simply behavior - verbal or nonverbal, covert or overt. It is not some mysterious process responsible for behavior but the very behavior itself in all the complexity of its controlling relations.” - B.F. Skinner

16. “The strengthening of behavior which results from reinforcement is appropriately called 'conditioning'. In operant conditioning we 'strengthen' an operant in the sense of making a response more probable or, in actual fact, more frequent.” - B.F. Skinner

b.f. skinner quotes on behaviorism

17. “A fourth-grade reader may be a sixth-grade mathematician. The grade is an administrative device which does violence to the nature of the developmental process.” - B.F. Skinner

18. “That's all teaching is; arranging contingencies which bring changes in behavior.” - B.F. Skinner

19. “To say that ... behaviors have different 'meanings' is only another way of saying that they are controlled by different variables.” - B.F. Skinner

20. “The ideal of behaviorism is to eliminate coercion: to apply controls by changing the environment in such a way as to reinforce the kind of behavior that benefits everyone.” - B.F. Skinner

BF Skinner Theory of Behaviorism

Behaviourism is a term that draws from the concepts of learning theory. It was coined by B.F. Skinner, he believed that all behaviours are learned as a result of interaction with your environment. Behaviourists argue that for any particular behaviour to be exhibited, it needs to have been reinforced in the past through positive or negative reinforcement from the environment.

Behaviourism encourages people to engage in a specific behaviour by rewarding them following success. An example of this would be, a student getting a reward for getting 100% on the spelling test. In the future, it is possible that students will study and work hard in order to get their treat.

This simple theory helps many teachers to understand how their students react and what's the reason behind it. This theory also helps in building good behaviours and habits in an individual.

Winding Up

I hope you find these BF Skinner quotes insightful and learned something new by reading his views on the psychology of behaviour. Thanks for reading and do not forget to share it with your friends.

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