B. F. Skinner

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B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) was an American psychologist best known for his theory of behaviorism. He began his work through animal studies and found reinforcement to be a necessary component when learning new behaviors. He eventually applied his findings to children and became an important researcher and author in the field of behavioral psychology. Skinner believed “positive reinforcement was a great tool for shaping behavior, an idea still valued in schools today” (Biography.com, 2016).


To learn more about Skinner and his theory of Operant Conditioning, visit The B.F. Skinner Foundation (which includes a thorough definition of behavioral science and a complete bibliography of Skinner’s works)

For criticisms of Skinner’s work, see:

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Josie is an early childhood educator turned children's librarian from Kansas City, MO. When she's not promoting play and early literacy, she loves to spend time with her family and travel. During her rare moments of free time, you can find Josie curled up with a cat and a good book. Feel free to reach out to her with early literacy questions or ask for book recommendations.


  1.  Biography.com. (2016). B.F. Skinner. Retrieved from

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