Skinners Inventions



Operant conditioning chamber (Skinner box)

Created during Skinners time at Harvard University. The Skinner box was used to analyse the behaviour of animals usually rats, its main purpose was to measure the response of animals and there reactions to certain stimuli in their environment.


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Go to "The Operant Conditioning Chamber" for more Information

Pigeon-guided missile
At the time of Skinner proposing the pigeon-guided missile to the US navy, guidance systems where very ineffective because of there size and lack of accuracy against German battleships that the US sought so hard to destroy. Skinner proposed that pigeons could be used to guide the missile by placing three pigeons into the nose cone of the missile and projecting a screen in front of them of the where the missile was heading, the pigeons that could then literally peck at the direction or the object they wanted to go to and thus guide the missile to the target. Although a demonstration of this missile showed it was effective and was very well received by senior members of the US navy, the idea was abandoned when more conventional and “safer” guidance systems were created.

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The nose cone of Skinners proposed pigeon-guided missile


System80
The system80 followed Skinners teaching method of 5 steps towards educational progression. It basically consisted of a machine that projected 5 images onto a screen. A pre-recorded question that corresponded to the images being projected would then be played to the user who would then have to choose one of the images as an answer to the question asked. If the correct image was chosen then the user would be asked another question and so on. If the incorrect image was chosen then the question would be repeated until the right image was chosen.

Teaching machine
The teaching machine was a very simple mechanical device that asked the user questions, if the user answered the question correctly they would receive some kind of reward. It worked on Skinners theory of verbal behavior and he named this type of technology Programmed Instruction.
Air crib
The air crib was one of B.F Skinners first inventions and he deigned it to assist his wife in the day-to-day upbringing of their young baby. It was an easily cleanable, temperature-controlled crib that Skinner also believed that the crib would make babies more confident and cries less but it only somewhat achieved these goals. Modern versions of air-cribs are sold these says by many leading crib manufacturers.
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The original B.F Skinner "air-crib"




Cumulative recorder
An instrument used to record behavior graphically. By finding the slope of the graph at a given point (created by a moving inked needle on paper) a rate of response could then be calculated and thus whether it was a regular rate of response or an accelerated or decelerated rate of response. This was a very useful tool for studying schedules of reinforcement.