Burrhus Frederic (B. F.) Skinner (March 20, 1904 – August 18, 1990) was an American psychologist, behaviorist, author, inventor, and social philosopher.
Skinner invented the operant conditioning chamber, also known as the Skinner Box. He was a firm believer of the idea that human free will was actually an illusion and any human action was the result of the consequences of that same action. If the consequences were bad, there was a high chance that the action would not be repeated; however if the consequences were good, the actions that led to it would be reinforced.He called this the principle of reinforcement.
He innovated his own philosophy of science called radical behaviorism, and founded his own school of experimental research psychology—the experimental analysis of behavior. His analysis of human behavior culminated in his work Verbal Behavior, as well as his philosophical manifesto Walden Two, both of which have recently seen enormous increase in interest experimentally and in applied settings. Contemporary academia considers Skinner a pioneer of modern behaviorism along with John B. Watson and Ivan Pavlov.
Skinner discovered and advanced the rate of response as a dependent variable in psychological research. He invented the cumulative recorder to measure rate of responding as part of his highly influential work on schedules of reinforcement. In a June 2002 survey, Skinner was listed as the most influential psychologist of the 20th century. He was a prolific author who published 21 books and 180 articles.