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Skinners Operant Behaviour

“Reproduction was itself afirst consequence, and it led, through natural selection, to the evolution of cells, organs, and organisms which reproduced themselves under increasingly diverse conditions.What we call behavior evolved as a set of functions furthering the interchange between organism and environment.”
-B.F. Skinner, Selection by Consequences-
Known to some as the most influential American psychologist, B.F. Skinner was born in 1904 in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania.Attempting to further psychology’s quest for an accurate and comprehensive science of the mind, he produced some very rational and innovative writings; tackling problems that have stumped mankind since the beginning.We will examine his philosophies on the evolution of behaviour through selection by consequences.
Around 1920, behaviourists seemed to have established what they thought made sense of human behaviour by composing them into two laws.Thefirst explains the unconditioned reflexes that produce involuntary reactions by our bodies.Direct actions that bypass consideration, also known as biological wiring.The second law explained the phenomena of conditioned reflexes that, although aren’t part of our original reflexes, can be learned and stored into memory.Similar to thefirst law but it included new reflexes such as Pavlov’s dog salivating when the associated bell was rung.
Although these laws made perfect sense, they were found to be lacking.They didn’t, and couldn’t, explain manifestations of new responses to old stimuli.How did they plan on explaining new inspiration or goal-oriented action of any kind if all we do is react in the same way to stimuli every time?How did a soccer playerfirst conceive of trying to put a corner kick directly into the net if it had never been done before?How did Beethoven write music if he had no stimuli to respond to?Why did Ghandi go on a hunger strike if his natural response was to eat wh…

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