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Fig 4.13 – Skinner Box

Text: Page 194

The famous Skinner box became not only a symbol of neobehaviorism but, next to the Freudian couch, an often-recognized iconic cultural symbol for psychology. The Skinner box allowed a rat to respond freely to a lever that produced food and the ability of the psychologist to note the effect of reinforcement on the rate of response.

An example of operant behavior occurred when Skinner paired a light with a reinforcing event. Responding to the light allowed the rat to discriminate a reinforcing from a non-reinforcing event.For Pavlov, understanding the stimulus was important because it caused an immediate reflexive response. For Skinner, the response was important because the rat could manipulate the environment until it achieved its goal. This proved to Skinner the environment reinforces and controls behavior, not what happens within an individual organism.

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