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SKINNER AS MISSIONARY AND PROPHET: A REVIEW OF BURRHUS F. SKINNER: SHAPER OF BEHAVIOUR

By Henry D Schlinger

Abstract

Do we need another book about B. F. Skinner? According to Frederick Toates, the answer is “yes” because “there is still much to be said” (p. vii) about Skinner. In his recent biography, Burrhus F. Skinner: Shaper of Behaviour (2009), Toates attempts to integrate Skinner into the mainstream of psychology by showing areas of commonality between Skinner's radical behaviorism and subdisciplines within psychology such as cognitive, social, and biological psychology. Admirably, although in some instances understandably naively, Toates attempts to demonstrate the power of positive reinforcement to explain myriad complex behaviors, including a fairly lengthy interpretation of religious behavior. In addition, Toates credits Skinner for being ahead of his time on both social and environmental issues. Toates falters, however, in his insistence that behavior analysis still needs and can benefit from cognitive concepts. He nevertheless provides an otherwise objective and sympathetic view of Skinner the person and the behavioral science he helped to create in a book that should be informative for both behavior analysts and those outside the field

Topics: Book Review
Publisher: The Society for the Experimental Analysis of Behavior
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:3050457
Provided by: PubMed Central
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