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Fig 4.14 – Aircrib Box

Text: Pages 198 and 199

After raising his first child, Skinner felt he could simplify parenting by developing an Aircrib, a climate-controlled environment for infants. Skinner believed that an Aircrib, also called an “Heir Conditioner,” could contribute positively to raising children in an air-controlled environment, especially in the harsh, cold weather in his Minnesota home.

It would be his infamous Aircrib box that would haunt not only B. F. Skinner but become a shadow symbol of neobehaviorism. His Aircrib led to untrue rumors that one of his daughters had been raised in a Skinner box and had later in life shot herself to death in a suicide attempt. Skinner himself created the confusion when in an October 1945 Ladies Home Journal article, Skinner featured his daughter, Deborah, in an Aircrib with her hands pressed against the glass with the byline, Baby in a Box: The Mechanical Baby Tender. Although many had not read the complete article, outraged letters to the Ladies Home Journal protested babies being treated like animals by being raised “in a box” as a part of a psychological experiment.

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