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Science And Human Behavior

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Science And Human Behavior [Paperback]

B.F Skinner
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 1, 1965 0029290406 978-0029290408 New impression
The psychology classic—a detailed study of scientific theories of human nature and the possible ways in which human behavior can be predicted and controlled—from one of the most influential behaviorists of the twentieth century and the author of Walden Two.

“This is an important book, exceptionally well written, and logically consistent with the basic premise of the unitary nature of science. Many students of society and culture would take violent issue with most of the things that Skinner has to say, but even those who disagree most will find this a stimulating book.” —Samuel M. Strong, The American Journal of Sociology

“This is a remarkable book—remarkable in that it presents a strong, consistent, and all but exhaustive case for a natural science of human behavior…It ought to be…valuable for those whose preferences lie with, as well as those whose preferences stand against, a behavioristic approach to human activity.” —Harry Prosch, Ethics

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 461 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; New impression edition (March 1, 1965)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0029290406
  • ISBN-13: 978-0029290408
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #91,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth shall set you beyond free April 10, 2004
By calmly
1/3 of this book covers basic conditioning as seen in all animals, including humans. Much of this was established experimentally with rats and pigeons but the discussion here is in terms of humans. There are no diagrams or pictures in this section, which can get rather dry.
The remaining 2/3 of the book covers topics associated more with humans such as thinking, private events, the self, institutions and culture. Skinner refers to institutions such as the government, religions, psychotherapy, economic groups and education as "controlling agencies". His scientific approach of these agencies overlaps the artistic rendering of addictive systems by the very different William Burroughs in "Naked Lunch", but between the two of them one can get a good sense of how one's actions are conditioned.
For millenia, for lack of scientific application, speculative systems have been dominate. The Greeks were masters of such systemization, which culminated in "The Enneads" by Plotinus, an amazingly unified and satisfying work consisting almost exclusively of explanatory fictions. Such comfort systems seem to have a strong hold on people. Much of modern psychology is not an advance on "The Enneads". Look at how much of cognitive psychology is speculative, lacking in any experimental confirmation.
There is a great opportunity here for you. At this time, half a century after this book's publication, behaviorism is not well supported. To be sure, there are practicing behaviorists and some excellent progress in the application of behavioral analysis. But behaviorism seems to be heavily resisted, as Skinner himself recognized. This book has excited me. Read it and if it indeed excites you, even as a layperson, see what you can do to apply it and to educate others about it. The opportunity is that there is still a lot to learn about how to apply it in our everyday life. This stuff is too important not to embrace...well, see what you think.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic. Not for everyone April 25, 2000
By A Customer
This is agreat book for anyone who has a good understanding of behavioral psychology. If you do, this book will help explain the concepts employed by psychologists today. It also gives the reader a good feel for the attitudes that prevailed in psychology in the 1950's. If you do not have a strong background in this area, I would suggest reading one of Skinner's later books first.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Critics ignorant of pragmatic value June 3, 2003
Format:Unknown Binding
Harsh criticism of Skinner has typically come from arm chair philosophers more concerned with sounding progressive than with helping or understanding people. Science and Human Behavior has contributed and continues to contribute to valuable application and research in Psychology. A standing challenge to any critic would be to find a book that can match Science and Human Behavior's contributions to the application of science for the welfare of humanity.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) so I am probably biased. Now that that is spelled out, I will write this message: "Science and Human Behavior" is an awesome and enlightening read!

Behaviorism (Behavior Analysis) is a growing field. As more people get comfortable with the idea of a true science of human behavior, we will make strides in predicting and controlling human behavior. In the future, the controllers or nurturers (parents, teachers, coaches, military leaders, politicians, bosses, etc.) will have an evidenced-based science of human behavior to change people in positive ways. Effective checks can also be developed to control the new science of human behavior as B.F. Skinner recommends. This science and knowledge sure beats the haphazard techniques politicians, bosses, etc. use to influence people to do the right behaviors in order to achieve a common goal.

Perhaps some day the nurtured (controlled) and nurturers (controllers) will work together to make the world a better place. People surrender themselves to the controllers with employment, military service, sports team participation and so forth. Why not study those controls scientifically?

(Note: For a historical perspective on Skinner (and Behavior Analysis), I would recommend "Beyond the Box: B.F. Skinner's Technology of Behavior from Laboratory to Life, 1950s-1970s".)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where it all began (ABA) January 3, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
One cannot be in this field without this book. A great read. I purchased the hard copy and the ebook for my kindle app. Behaviorism.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF SKINNER'S MOST SIGNIFICANT EXPOSITIONS August 25, 2010
Burrhus Frederic Skinner (1904-1990) was an American psychologist, social philosopher,and author. He was a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University from 1958 until his retirement in 1974, and perhaps the most influential behaviorist of the 20th century. His most famous books are Verbal Behavior, Beyond Freedom & Dignity and Walden Two.

Here are some representative quotations from the book:

"To what extent is it helpful to be told, 'He drinks because he is thirsty'? If to be thirsty means nothing more than to have a tendency to drink, this is mere redundancy. If it means that he drinks because of a state of thirst, an inner causal event is invoked. If this state is purely inferential ... it cannot serve as an explanation." (Pg. 33)
"Trait-names begin as adjectives--'intelligent,' 'aggressive,' 'disorganized,'... and so on... But at no point in such a series do we make contact with any event outside the behavior itself which justifies the claim of a causal connection." (Pg. 202)
"We cannot account for suicide as a simple response... No one jumps into a brook to bring his life to an end because the same behavior had a similar consequence in the past... Fortunately we need not decide this issue to make the present point." (Pg. 223)
(Assumption of mind and consciousness) "obviously stands in the way of a unified account of nature. The contribution which a science of behavior can make in suggesting an alternative point of view is perhaps one of its most important achievements." (Pg.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
"Damn the free thinker" says he. "Amen", said John Dewey. Let the dismantling begin.
Published 20 hours ago by bluemule
5.0 out of 5 stars Reinforcement...
Anyone who becomes the top scientist in the US regardless of the year, must be seminal individual in their field like which Skinner achieved in 1975. Read more
Published 1 month ago by NYFB
5.0 out of 5 stars However the condition was good and I was able to use it for class ...
The book was just an addition to another book that was required it was older than I thought. However the condition was good and I was able to use it for class work.
Published 2 months ago by Debra
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a must
Published 9 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing thank you very helpful
Amazing thank you very helpful! Highly recommended!

Renee (Rivki) Silverberg
Author of Understanding Children and Families with Autism Spectrum Disorders... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Renee
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Everything was in order as I needed
Published 14 months ago by james
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
If you need to learn about where behaviorism came from, then this is the book for you. It also has everything you want to know about the subject. i really love this book.
Published 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff
An amazing book that can be used to understand that science is not just a group of facts or a field of study but rather a way of thinking. Read more
Published 17 months ago by gabriel zaldivar
5.0 out of 5 stars Logical and persuasive
Skinner is descriptive and articulate in explaining behavior. He is calmly persuasive and elegant in his thinking. Poetry for the rationale mind.
Published 21 months ago by Pat
3.0 out of 5 stars Tough read
Although it contains important aspects how we see behavior and was seminal when first published, its not a page turner.It comes across stiff and academic. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
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Science And Human Behavior
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