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Everyone who is serious about understanding animals and modifying behavior knows the research of B.F. Skinner well. But only a few have met him personally. In her new book The Science of Consequences: How They Affect Genes, Change the Brain, and Impact Our World, author Dr. Susan Schneider reveals some of the lessons she learned during her 15 year friendship with the Father of Operant Conditioning. She shares some of her stories in an interview with me.
Have you ever wondered why your dog, cat, bird, or 3 year old child are so adept at whining, screeching or complaining until you finally give in? Or why you always fall into that cycle of resisting at first but later bend to their wishes? Now, biopsychologist and behavior analyst, Dr. Susan Schneider, has written a fascinating book titled, “The Science of Consequences: How They Affect Genes, Change the Brain, and Impact Our World,” that reveals it all.
B.F. Skinner studied many aspects of learning, including: which types of reinforcement rates lead to the fastest learning and the strongest behavior, how learning extinguishes when reinforcers are discontinued, and the effects of intermittent reinforcers on extinction. From this data, he formulated a number of principles that shed light on the behavior of rats, pigeons and ultimately, humans. This was the birth of operant conditioning.