9780802097743

Beyond the Box: B. F. Skinner's Technology of Behavior from Laboratory to Life, 1950s-1970s

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780802097743

  • ISBN10:

    080209774X

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-05-30
  • Publisher: Univ of Toronto Pr
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Summary

B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) is one of the most famous and influential figures in twentieth century psychology. A best-selling author, inventor, and social commentator, Skinner was both a renowned scientist and a public intellectual known for his controversial theories of human behavior. Beyond the Box is the first full-length study of the ways in which Skinner's ideas left the laboratory to become part of the post-war public's everyday lives, and chronicles both the enthusiasm and caution with which this process was received.Using selected case studies, Alexandra Rutherford provides a fascinating account of Skinner and his acolytes' attempts to weave their technology of human behavior into the politically turbulent fabric of 1950s-70s American life. To detail their innovative methods, Rutherford uses extensive archival materials and interviews to study the Skinnerians' creation of human behavior laboratories, management programs for juvenile delinquents, psychiatric wards, and prisons, as well as their influence on the self-help industry with popular books on how to quit smoking, lose weight, and be more assertive.A remarkable look at a post-war scientific and technological revolution, Beyond the Box is a rewarding study of how behavioral theories met real-life problems, and the ways in which Skinner and his followers continue to influence the present.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introduction: Beyond the Boxp. 3
A Visible Scientist: B.F. Skinner as Public Intellectualp. 19
From Pigeons to People: Constructing the Human Skinner Boxp. 41
Conditioning a Cure: Behavior Modification in the Mental Institutionp. 63
Crime and Punishment: Contingency Management in the Prison Systemp. 79
How to Really Win Friends and Influence People: Skinnerian Principles in Self-Helpp. 102
Living the Dream: Walden Two and the Laboratory of Lifep. 118
Conclusion: From Laboratory to Lifep. 148
Notesp. 159
Referencesp. 177
Indexp. 197
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