Skinner Criticizes Government, Tells Stories About His Career

World-famous behavior expert B. F. Skinner last night criticized the federal government for "undercutting the support of the social sciences."

Speaking to 12 students in the Quincy junior common room. Skinner said. "No one is looking ahead any longer--it's a terrible mistake."

"We can't foresee what is going to be important, so we have to take some risks." he added later.

Skinner, who retired as Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology in 1974, is currently writing his autobiography, which he hopes will provide an "environmental history" of his career.

He also hopes that the autobiography will dispel the following myths:


I that he is a stimulus-response psychologist:

I that he believes that no behavior is inherited:

I that he advocates punitive control of behavior: and

I that he ruined his daughter's life by raising her in a box.

The Good Life

Skinner said that he raised his daughter in an "air-crib" and that she leads a perfectly healthy and happy life.

In response to students' questions, Skinner told anecdotes about his college years and his early experiments. He described an experiment conducted in the early 1940s in which he tried to train pigeons to guide missiles but was unable to convince government officials that his scheme would work.

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