Beyond the box: B.F. Skinnner's technology of behavior from laboratory to life, 1950s-1970s

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University of Toronto Press, May 9, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 210 pages
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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.

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Contents

B F Skinner as Public Intellectual
19
Constructing the Human Skinner Box
41
Behavior Modification in the Mental
63
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Alexandra Rutherford is an associate professor of psychology in the History and Theory of Psychology Graduate Program at York University in Toronto. Her research interests include the history and contemporary status of feminist psychology and the relationships between psychology and American society from the mid-twentieth century to today. She is a fellow of four divisions of the American Psychological Association and is author of "Beyond the Box: B. F. Skinner's Technology of Behavior from Laboratory to Life, 1950s 1970s" (University of Toronto Press). She divides her time between Toronto and New York City.

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