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Opening Skinner's Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century Paperback – February 17, 2005
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From The New England Journal of Medicine
Copyright © 2004 Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved. The New England Journal of Medicine is a registered trademark of the MMS. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Anyone going through a psychology program has been taught about the history of psychology, which includes an evaluation of different approches, such as behaviorism, and also includes the ethical issues of earlier experiments like Milgram's. We also know that prominent psychologists are very "human" and often very flawed individuals. However, Slater's portrayals of the people she interviewed for this book are unsympathetic to the point of being cruel.
For example, Skinner's aging and mourning daughter is "a little too passionate about dear old dad."
The use of an electric defibrilator to attempt to revive Stanley Milgram during a heart attack was compared to his "shock" experiments, while his body is described as "flailing like a fish's."
Harry Harlow's wife died of breast cancer, and is described as "turning a saffron yellow, her mouth pulled back in a masked grimace, her teeth peculiarly sharp looking, monkey teeth, mad." This was evidently, to bring in a "monkey" image to his wife's illness and premature death.
Sometimes, Slater is merely annoying, as when she says she "hoped" that Harry Harlow held his wife's hand in the doctor's office, or says she "imagines" that Rosenhan was "smug" while trying to get himself committed to a mental hospital.Read more ›
And it was intriguing. Slater debunks the myth that B.F. Skinner raised his first child in a "box" in order to conduct an elaborate behavior experiment on her. The box turns out to have been a high-tech playpen designed and built by the doting father that Skinner apparently was. Another famous experiment which revealed that most people would torture another if encouraged by a benign authority figure was especially chilling in light of the Abu Ghraib torture by American guards.
However, I came away with the distinct impression that Slater is a nut. Slater seemed especially enthusiastic about recreating an experiment in which normal people pretended to be demented enough to enter a mental hospital, then reverted to normal behavior and waited to see how long it would be before they would be discharged. Slater checked into some eight different hospitals. She also took some of the anti-psychotic meds she was prescribed rather than tossing them.
She reveals that she was unable to recreate the experiment strictly, because under the original conditions, the pseudo-patients would be truthful after being admitted, but Slater actually had a mental hospital stay in her past, so she lied. And I simply didn't believe that bit about biting the ten-year-old chocolate bar in the Skinner House at first.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is about weird and cruel experiments and the odd way the author relives some of them. Cruel experiments and rape are described in grisly detail. Read more
Skinner fails to include the corroboration in the George Franklin case. San Mateo County detectives compared Eileen’s report to the media reports of the 1969 discovery of Susan’s... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Lynn Crook
Barf. Inflated academia and vain perspective written hyper descriptively might as well be fiction. "how difficult to box even a box" etc. Don't just don't.Published 6 months ago by Heath janssen
Should be required reading for all SW, psych, nursing or med students- as well as anyone whose doctor has recommended psychotropic medication; a cautionary tale.Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer