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The Behavior Analyst 2005, 28, 99-131 No.

2 (Fall)

B. F. Skinner's Contributions to
Applied Behavior Analysis
Edward K. Morris and Nathaniel G. Smith
University of Kansas
Deborah E. Altus
Washburn University
Our paper reviews and analyzes B. F Skinner's contributions to applied behavior analysis in order
to assess his role as the field's originator and founder. We found, first, that his contributions fall
into five categorizes: the style and content of his science, his interpretations of typical and atypical
human behavior, the implications he drew from his science for application, his descriptions of
possible applications, and his own applications to nonhuman and human behavior. Second, we found
that he explicitly or implicitly addressed all seven dimensions of applied behavior analysis. These
contributions and the dimensions notwithstanding, he neither incorporated the field's scientific (e.g.,
analytic) and social dimensions (e.g., applied) into any program of published research such that he
was its originator, nor did he systematically integrate, advance, and promote the dimensions so to
have been its founder. As the founder of behavior analysis, however, he was the father of applied
behavior analysis.
Key words: B. F Skinner, behavior analysis, applied behavior analysis, history

Having made contributions that fected both people's view of life and also their
were both profound and practical, B. F beer, wine, and medical treatment. Skinner's dis-
coveries in the field of the transaction of a high-
Skinner (1904-1990) was arguably the er organism with its environment will have a
most eminent psychologist of the 20th greater and more enduring effect on man's view
century (Haggbloom et al., 2002). In of himself than the views of Freud. Meanwhile,
1970, the behavioral pharmacologist slowly but increasingly, education is being influ-
Peter Dews described Skinner's contri- enced by Skinner's findings, and perhaps some
day they may influence broadly how men dis-
butions this way: pense justice and punishment, raise children,
Massive advances in science can affect society handle neuroses, organize an economic system
either by changing man's views of himself or by and conduct international relations. (Dews,
leading to substantive changes in his environ- 1970, pp. ix-x)
ment. The contributions of Copernicus and Dar-
win profoundly affected society through their Dews was prescient. In his research,
philosophical implications, though they have Skinner established a science of behav-
made little difference to the contents of one's ior-the experimental analysis of be-
house or how one does things. Dalton's Atomic havior (Skinner, 1938, 1956a, 1966c).
Theory and Faraday's Electromagnetism had lit-
tle influence on the nineteenth century Estab- In applying his empiricist tenets and
lishment, although they led, through chemistry selectionist principles to this science,
and electricity, to profound changes in man's he formulated its philosophy-radical
surroundings. The work of a few people has af- behaviorism (Skinner, 1945b, 1950,
fected society both ways; Pasteur's germs af- 1957c). Skinner was the originator of
both (Schneider & Morris, 1987; Var-
Earlier versions of this article were presented gas, 2001, 2004). By integrating, ad-
at the 2004 meetings of the Association for Be- vancing, and promoting them (Skinner,
havior Analysis and the Mid-American Associ-
ation for Behavior Analysis and the 2005 meet- 1938, 1953a, 1974), he also founded a
ing of the California Association for Behavior new system of psychology, if not a
Analysis. We thank Todd R. Risley for his com- new discipline-behavior analysis (see
ments and suggestions. Michael, 1985). Whether he was also
Correspondence may be sent to the first au- the originator and founder of applied
thor, Department of Applied Behavioral Science,
University of Kansas, 1000 Sunnyside Avenue, behavior analysis is, as yet, undeter-
Lawrence, Kansas 66045 (e-mail: mined. Our purpose is to reach some
100 EDWARD K. MORRIS et al.
conclusions about these matters (on the useful in further analyzing his contri-
originator-founder distinction, see butions, but they are not our present
Schultz & Schultz, 1987, p. 55). concern.
What we find in the literature, to
date, is varied. Some texts mention APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
none of Skinner's applied contributions
(e.g., Chance, 1998; Kazdin, 2001), Before beginning, we need a defini-
whereas others offer assessments that tion of applied behavior analysis at the
range from the circumspect to the cer- time the field was founded so that
tain. Here are some examples: (a) His Skinner's contributions can be fairly
writings "contain insightful examples assessed against those standards, not
from everyday life, and they interested later ones. For this, we find the follow-
many people from many disciplines in ing on the inside front cover of JABA's
applying behavior principles to a broad first issue: "[JABA] is primarily for the
range of topics" (Baldwin & Baldwin, original publication of reports of ex-
2001, p. vii); (b) "Skinner's writings perimental work involving applications
have been most influential ... in ex- of the analysis of behavior to problems
tending the application of his princi- of social importance." Later in that is-
ples of behavior to new areas" (Coo- sue, Baer, Wolf, and Risley (1968) ex-
per, Heron, & Heward, 1987, p. 10); panded on this in their article, "Some
(c) "His many books and papers on ap- Current Dimensions of Applied Behav-
plied technology led to the field of ap- ior Analysis." Applied behavior anal-
plied behavior analysis" (Pierce & ysis, they wrote, "must be applied, be-
Cheney, 2004, p. 10); (d) "B. F Skin- havioral, and analytic; in addition, it
ner (1904-1990) was a pioneer and should be technological, conceptually
founder of behavior modification" systematic, and effective, and it should
(Sarafino, 2001, p. 2); and (e) "Skin- display some generality" (p. 92). This
ner's work is the foundation of behav- definition excludes later refinements
ior modification" (Miltenberger, 1997, and advances regarding, for instance,
p. 10; see also Krasner, 2001, p. 213). social validity (e.g., Wolf, 1978), pro-
Although applied behavior analysis gram integrity and treatment fidelity
and behavior modification should not (e.g., L. Peterson, Homer, & Wonder-
be conflated (see J. M. Johnston, 1996; lich, 1982), and the concept of context
J. Moore & Cooper, 2003; Vollmer, (e.g., Baer, Wolf, & Risley, 1987). We
2001), we doubt that the authors of are not dismissing their importance in
these comments meant to distinguish the evolution of applied behavior anal-
between them in this context. They ysis, just restricting our review of
were, presumably, writing in general Skinner's contributions to the field to
about Skinner's contributions. What- the time it was founded.
ever their assessments, they seemingly We also restrict our review to
did not base them on systematic re- JABA's main focus at the time it was
views of his work. In deciding on the founded-operant behavioral process-
nature of Skinner's contributions, we es analyzed within individuals (Agras,
offer one such review and organize it Kazdin, & Wilson, 1979; Martin &
chronologically, starting with among Pear, 1996, p. 390; Willis & Giles,
his first publications in 1930 and end- 1976, pp. 15-19). At the time, the jour-
ing in 1968, when the Journal of Ap- nal did not often address respondent
plied Behavior Analysis (JABA) began behavioral relations (e.g., desensitiza-
publication. After that, no one can be tion; Wolpe, 1958; but see Leitenberg,
said to have founded the field; it was Agras, Thompson, & Wright, 1968) or
founded. Our exercise is inductive. We applied psychology based on between-
neither propose nor test any theories subject analyses (e.g., cognitive defi-
about Skinner's contributions. Theories cits; Fisher & Lerner, 1994; but see
may follow from our review and be Guess, Sailor, Rutherford, & Baer,

1968) or public health research that 1950, 1956a, 1966c). First, knowledge
employed population-based measures was defined as effective action, not
and methods (e.g., underage tobacco contemplation. Effective action includ-
use; Biglan et al., 1995; but see Bush- ed reliable description, accurate predic-
ell, Wrobel, & Michaelis, 1968). Thus, tion, and experimental control, with an
we mainly restrict Skinner's contribu- emphasis on the last two-prediction
tions to JABA's main focus. In doing and control. Second, prediction and
so, though, we do not mean to diminish control were not based on correlations
the importance of other processes and between independent and dependent
problems, and methods and levels of variables but on the discovery and
analysis. To the contrary, we encour- demonstration of functional relations
age them. They were just not that between them-functional analysis.
much present at JABA's founding. Third, the discovery and demonstration
To forecast our findings somewhat, of these relations were, respectively,
Skinner's applied contributions fall the process and product, not of statis-
into five categories: (a) the style and tical analyses of between-group com-
content of his science, (b) his interpre- parisons but of direct experimental
tations of typical and atypical behavior, control of the subject matter-within-
(c) implications he drew from his sci- individual research designs. Fourth,
ence for application, (d) his descrip- functional relations that had broad gen-
tions of possible applications, and (e) erality described basic principles
his own applications to human and principles of behavior. And fifth, when
nonhuman behavior. In making these those principles were integrated with
contributions, he also addressed the one another, they constituted a theo-
seven dimensions of applied behavior ry-a theory or system of behavior.
analysis. As for whether he was the These characteristics were not, in-
field's founder or played another role- dividually, unique to Skinner. He ac-
for instance, that of its father-the an- quired them from a number of sources:
swer depends on how and where he in- the empiricist philosopher Francis Ba-
corporated the dimensions into his con (1620/1960; Smith, 1996); Claude
work, as we shall see. Bernard, the father of experimental
medicine (1865/1949; see Thompson,
THE BEHAVIOR OF ORGANISMS 1984); the Nobel laureate physiologist
(1938) Ivan P. Pavlov (1927; see Catania &
Skinner's most fundamental contri- Laties, 1999); the philosophical prag-
bution to applied behavior analysis was matist C. S. Peirce (1878; see Moxley,
the style and content of his science. By 2002); Ernst Mach, the physicist-phi-
his style, we mean his methodology, losopher of science (1883/1942; see
which ranges from his empirical epis- Marr, 1985); the experimental biologist
temology to his experimental practices. Jacques Loeb (1916; see Hackenberg,
By the content of his science, we mean 1995); and the general physiologist and
what he discovered with this method- Skinner's mentor W. J. Crozier (1928;
ology-the basic principles of operant see Kazdin, 1978, pp. 91-93). In the
behavior. Both the style and content of aggregate, however, these characteris-
his science were nascent in his first tics were an original synthesis of mod-
publications (e.g., 1930a), afterwards ern advances in science and philosophy
maturing into the behavioral system he that Skinner uniquely extended to be-
described in his first book, The Behav- havior as a subject matter in its own
ior of Organisms (1938). right (J. M. Johnston & Pennypacker,
1993; Sidman, 1960; see Lattal &
Scientific Style: Behavioral, Chase, 2003; Smith, 1986, pp. 257-
Analytic, and Technological 297).
Skinner's style had five characteris- Skinner's style of science allowed
tics (see Sidman, 1960; Skinner, 1947a, him to describe and even make appli-
102 EDWARD K. MORRIS et al.

cations that were unlikely to have aris- tions of its procedures are not only pre-
en in the research programs of his neo- cisely technological, but also strive for
behaviorist colleagues (e.g., Hull, relevance to principle" (p. 96). The ex-
1943; Tolman, 1932). In fact, his style amples they provided were operant: re-
made applied behavior analysis almost inforcement, fading, and errorless dis-
inevitable. It only need be extended to crimination. Baer et al. continued: Re-
behavior of relatively immediate social lating technological descriptions to a
importance, as sometimes seen in the conceptual system shows how "pro-
early volumes of the Journal of the Ex- cedures may be derived from basic
perimental Analysis of Behavior principles. This can have the effect of
(JEAB, established in 1958; e.g., Ayl- making a body of technology into a
lon & Michael, 1959). His style was, discipline rather than a collection of
moreover, foundational to the three di- tricks" (p. 96). This point is conveyed
mensions of applied behavior analysis by the Chinese proverb, "Give a man
a fish and you feed him for a day.
that made the field scientific. It was be-
havioral, employing precise, quantifi- Teach a man to fish and you feed him
able, and accurate measurements (Baer for a lifetime." Recast in our context,
et al., 1968, p. 93). It was analytic, we have, "Give students a behavioral
demonstrating direct and reliable ex- technology, and they can solve today's
perimental control (pp. 93-95). And, it problems. Teach them behavioral prin-
was technological, thoroughly describ- ciples, and they can solve tomor-
ing its experimental preparations, pro- row's."
cedures, and materials (pp. 95-96; see In any event, by 1938, Skinner had
Iversen & Lattal, 1991; Lattal & Per- established a science of behavior
one, 1998; Skinner, 1966c). whose style and content were founda-
tional to four of the seven dimensions
Scientific Content: Conceptually of applied behavior analysis. Its style
Systematic was behavioral, analytic, and techno-
logical. Its content was conceptually
As already noted, the content of systematic.
Skinner's science was the principles of
behavior. In The Behavior of Organ- BEFORE THE BEHAVIOR OF
isms (1938), he addressed these in ORGANISMS: 1930-1938
chapters on what we know of today as
operant reinforcement and extinction, Toward the end of The Behavior of
response differentiation, schedules of Organisms, Skinner (1938) forecasted
reinforcement, stimulus control, and the emergence of applied behavior
establishing operations. In these and analysis in the following statement:
other chapters, he addressed respon- The reader will have noticed that almost no ex-
dent conditioning and extinction, aver- tension to human behavior is made or suggested.
sive control, conditioned reinforce- This does not mean that he is expected to be
ment, chaining, stimulus generaliza- interested in the behavior of the rat for its own
tion, and response induction. Although sake. The importance of a science of behavior
the content of Skinner's science natu- derives largely from the possibility of an even-
tual extension to human affairs. (p. 441)
rally evolved after 1938 (see Mazur,
2002; Pear, 2001), the principles he de- Although he warned that applications
scribed in his book are found in every should not be overly emphasized in the
modern textbook on applied behavior early stage of this science, he contin-
analysis (e.g., Miltenberger, 1997). ued,
These principles were also the basis
of the field's conceptually systematic It would, of course ...... have been possible to
in a limited way at each
suggest applications
dimension. As Baer et al. (1968) re- step. This would probably have made for easier
marked, "The field ... will probably reading, but it would have unreasonably length-
advance best if the published descrip- ened the book. Besides, the careful reader should
be as able to make applications as the writer.... in card-guessing tasks. Turning to per-
Let him extrapolate who will. (pp. 441-442) ception, he described how, under low
Skinner himself "was soon extrapolat- illumination, white circles appeared to
ing" (Skinner, 1989a, p. 131). What he be tinted when set against a black
meant by extrapolation, extension, and background (Skinner, 1932). In ex-
application, however, was broader than plaining this, he offered a physiologi-
what applied meant when applied be- cal "functional-element theory of color
havior analysis was founded. They en- vision" that, he urged, needed testing.
compassed the remaining four catego- Skinner's other applications at this time
ries of his contributions: his interpre- fell into three areas to which he would
tations of typical and atypical behavior, contribute more substantively through-
implications he drew from his science out his career: verbal behavior, behav-
for application, his descriptions of pos- ioral pharmacology, and behavioral en-
sible applications, and his own appli- gineering.
Verbal Behavior
Earliest Applications In 1934, Skinner began working on
At first, at Harvard University Verbal Behavior (1957c). In the first of
(1928-1936), Skinner's applications his related publications-"Has Ger-
were not as closely aligned with the trude Stein a Secret?" (Skinner,
eventual style and content of his sci- 1934)-he pointed out that Stein's
ence as we might expect, but this is not prose style was the result of "automat-
unusual in a young science. Research ic writing." This is writing in which
methods are often, at first, exploratory, reading and writing occur simulta-
and the subject matter is not always neously yet independently of one an-
well defined. A distinctive program of other, with the content of the writing
research may take a while to evolve. being often unconscious. This was
As a result, early applications may be Skinner's first publication in the pop-
little more than exercises in critical ular press (the Atlantic Monthly). Af-
thinking, not extensions of established terward, most of his popular press pub-
methods and content. This was true for lications addressed applications, and
Skinner as well (see Coleman, 1984). many of his applied publications ap-
For example, one of his earliest con- peared in the popular press (see Ruth-
tributions-"On the Inheritance of erford, 2004).
Maze Behavior" (Skinner, 1930b)- Skinner's (1936) next relevant pub-
was a critique. He criticized (a) the lication was "The Verbal Summator
methods used in a study of the relation and a Method for the Study of Latent
between genetic strains of mice and re- Speech." Through accident and inge-
action times and learning, and (b) the nuity, he invented a recording of vowel
conclusions drawn from the resulting sounds (e.g., "uh-oh-ah-uh") that, with
data (see Vicari, 1929). Skinner's cri- instructions to listeners to report what
tique was socially important and thus they heard, often yielded responses that
"applied" in that, at the time, genetics were "significant," for instance, about
had dark implications for cultural prac- a listener's work and worries. The sum-
tices, among them, eugenics (Garth, mator was soon adopted and adapted
1930; see Gould, 1981; Leahey, 2004, in clinical psychology as a projective
pp. 460-468). Skinner was also critical technique, an auditory version of the
of research on extrasensory perception. Rorschach test (Shakow & Rosen-
For instance, in a review of J. B. zweig, 1940), but it eventually fell out
Rhine's (1937) New Frontiers of the of favor for practical and methodolog-
Mind (Skinner, 1937b), he pointed out ical reasons (e.g., efficiency; see Ruth-
methodological flaws and biases in the erford, 2003a). Finally, in "The Distri-
studies of clairvoyance and telepathy bution of Associated Words," Skinner
104 EDWARD K. MORRIS et al.

(1937a) described a logarithmic distri- AFTER THE BEHAVIOR

bution for the rank order of verbal re- OF ORGANISMS: 1939-1945
sponses associated with verbal stimuli.
He referred to the associations as After publishing The Behavior of
"simple units in the dynamics of ver- Organisms (1938), Skinner continued
bal behavior" (p. 72). to address the foregoing topics and
others, but they remained varied. Only
Skinner's basic research was system-
Behavioral Pharmacology atic. Nonetheless, some of his appli-
After Skinner moved to the Univer- came cations were significant and others be-
sity of Minnesota (1936-1945), he and famous.
W. T Heron (1937) published what has
been regarded as the first paper in be- Inheritance
havioral pharmacology-"Effects of A decade after Skinner had critiqued
Caffeine and Benzedrine upon Condi- research that reportedly demonstrated
tioning and Extinction" (Laties, 2003; the inheritance of maze behavior, he
Poling, 2000, pp. 16-20). They applied himself studied inheritance. Heron and
the style and content of Skinner's sci- Skinner (1940) studied the extinction of
ence to analyze the effects of drugs on bar pressing in strains of maze-bright or
behavior and vice versa. Although the maze-dull rats. Although the strains dif-
study had no discernible influence on fered in their response rates, Heron and
pharmacology at the time (Dews, Skinner attributed this to differences in
1987), Skinner was afterward a strong "drive"-a heightened effect of food
advocate of such applications (Morse, deprivation that was correlated with
2005). maze brightness-rather than to inher-
ited differences in learning per se (see
Behavioral Engineering J. L. Fuller & Thompson, 1978, pp.
132-151). In light of this research and
Also in 1937, Skinner made his first the misconception that Skinner was a
public demonstration of behavioral en- radical environmentalist (e.g., de Waal,
gineering, that is, of the power of his 2001, p. 57; Pinker, 2002, p. 20; contra.
science to achieve certain ends, usually Morris, Lazo, & Smith, 2004), Heron's
practical ones. He systematically rep- (1935) research on selective breeding
licated a study in which chimpanzees is, ironically, now cited as having been
learned to exchange poker chips for "holding a place for behavioral genetics
food (Cowles, 1937) by training a rat during the period of an ascendant en-
named Pliny the Elder to pull a string vironmentalism in psychology" (Mc-
to obtain a marble that Pliny lifted up Clearn & Foch, 1988, p. 686).
and dropped down a tube, which pro-
duced food. Although not an applica- Verbal Behavior
tion of Skinner's science to human be- Skinner was also studying verbal be-
havior, it was a demonstration of the havior. He and Stuart Cook systemati-
effectiveness of positive reinforcement, cally replicated his earlier study on the
a test of the validity of his science, and distribution of associated words, this
a microcosm of the token economy time discovering factors that correlated
(see Ayllon & Azrin, 1968; Kazdin, with the distributions, for instance, the
1977). Although the demonstration frequency of the words in everyday
drew national attention through an ar- speech (Cook & Skinner, 1939). In ad-
ticle in Life magazine ("Working Rat," dition, he analyzed alliteration in
1937), Skinner's only report of it at the Shakespeare's sonnets, seeking evi-
time was a brief mention in The Be- dence that words beginning with con-
havior of Organisms (1938, pp. 339- sonants strengthened the probability
340). that the same first consonants would

appear in words that followed. He giving its content the appearance of

found no such effects beyond those ex- motion; (c) the role of "learned reac-
pected by chance, and concluded that, tions" in art appreciation; and (d) the
for Shakespeare, alliteration was not effect of visual patterns in eliciting un-
the product of a poetic process (Skin- conscious and conscious "emotional
ner, 1939). In later extending these reactions."
methods to Swinburne's poetry,
though, he did find evidence for formal Anxiety
strengthening in assonance (1941b).
In addition, Skinner (1942) analyzed In a paper with William Estes,
data from a national study on guessing; "Some Quantitative Properties of Anx-
guessing was for him "a special kind iety" (Estes & Skinner, 1941), Skinner
of (usually verbal) behavior" (p. 495). for the first time experimentally ana-
After challenging a Gestalt interpreta- lyzed, not just interpreted, an ordinary-
tion of the patterns of sequential guess- language category of action: emotion.
es, he offered a contingency-based ac- Today, we would call this an animal
count: Preceding guesses affected the model of human behavior (Overmier,
probability of subsequent guesses. He 1992). Estes and Skinner began by de-
elaborated, scribing the received view on anxiety.
Studies of formal patterning in speech have fre- It was thought to have two character-
quently indicated a substantial tendency to re- istics: "(1) It is an emotional state ...
peat a response already made (see, for example, and (2) the disturbing stimulus which
[Skinner, 1941b]), and various lines of evidence is principally responsible for it does
suggest that this is a primary characteristic of
verbal behavior. Nevertheless, a tendency is set not precede or accompany the state but
up in the growing child, through readily observ- is 'anticipated' in the future" (p. 390).
able processes of conditioning, which opposes They then recast these characteristics,
repetition. (pp. 499-500) arguing, first, that because a future
In a footnote on this point, he wrote, stimulus cannot control present behav-
Reinforcements applied to speech to oppose pri- ior, the emotional state must be due to
or tendencies are fairly common and, indeed, a current stimulus, one that had in the
give rise to some of the most important prop- past been followed by the "disturbing"
erties of verbal behavior. There is a special prob- stimulus. Second, they expanded the
lem involved in separating opposed effects for concept of emotional "state" to in-
measurement, but it is not insolvable. (p. 500)
clude not just elicited reactions to cur-
Skinner's (1943) response to criticisms rent stimuli but also the effect of those
of this paper was among his final pub- stimuli on ongoing operant behavior.
lications on verbal behavior before his Estes and Skinner then experimentally
book was published (see also Skinner, analyzed (a) the suppressive effect of
1948a). conditioned preaversive stimuli on
schedule-maintained behavior as a
Perception function of (b) different levels of drive,
In a chapter titled "The Psychology response maintenance and extinction
of Design," Skinner (1941a) again conditions, and the presence and ab-
evinced interest in perception. He ar- sence of the unconditioned aversive
gued that, although drawings and stimulus. In the 1950s and 1960s, this
paintings could be analyzed formally, study became foundational for alter-
art and its appreciation were neither natives to structural, physiological, and
physics nor mathematics. They were purely Pavlovian models of emotion
biology and behavior. They concerned, (see Fantino, 1973, pp. 299-302; Mil-
for example, (a) the effects of visual lenson, 1967, pp. 441-455; Skinner,
patterns on "looking"; (b) how the phi 1959c), as well as for research that as-
phenomenon was manifested by eye sessed the effects of pharmacological
movements between spots on a canvas, agents in relieving emotional distress
106 EDWARD K. MORRIS et al.

(see Millenson & Leslie, 1979, pp. Only in a lighter moment in Project
413-433). Pigeon did Skinner discover shaping as
we know it today. He and his col-
Project Pigeon: 1940-1944 leagues sought to train a pigeon to
bowl by having it swipe its beak at a
During World War II, Skinner un- ball. Although they set up the requisite
dertook a program of applied research physical environment, the pigeon did
in which he trained pigeons to guide not swipe at the ball before they grew
simulated bombs to precise destina- tired of waiting. Skinner thus rein-
tions. Funded by the General Mills forced the pigeon's first approximation
Company and the United States Office of a swipe and then others that succes-
of Scientific Research and Develop- sively approached its final form. The
ment (OSRD) and called "Project Pi- results "amazed" him (Skinner, 1958a,
geon" (Skinner, 1960b), this was Skin- p. 94). He had never previously ob-
ner's first sustained program of behav- served such rapid, effective, and di-
ioral engineering. Although he could rected change in behavior. On the basis
not overcome differences between his of this discovery, he reformulated his
style of science and his disciplinary account of verbal behavior to empha-
outlook and those of the OSRD engi- size the role of reciprocal social con-
neers (Capshew, 1996), Skinner and tingencies and began more resolutely
his colleagues (Estes, Norm Guttman, to extend his science to human behav-
and Keller and Marian Breland) con- ior (G. B. Peterson, 2004). Although
ducted significant use-inspired basic he did not use the term shaping until
research over the course of the project 1951 (Skinner, 1951b), it has become
on schedules of reinforcement, stimu-
lus control, and establishing operations a technical term for an indispensable
(e.g., food deprivation, oxygen pres- procedure for establishing new behav-
sure, and temperature). ior (Kazdin, 2001, pp. 43-46, 274-
In the course of the project, Skinner, 276; Martin & Pear, 1996, pp. 64-76),
Guttman, and Keller Breland discov- and applications in behaviorally based
ered shaping (Skinner, 1958a, 1972d; robotics (Savage, 2001).
see G. B. Peterson, 2004). Although Project Pigeon was Skinner's first
Skinner had used lever pressing in rats application of his science beyond his
as a dependent variable since 1930, ap- own teaching and research. As he later
parently he had never directly shaped related, "The research that I described
it. He simply placed his rats in their in The Behavior of Organisms ap-
chambers and waited for lever pressing peared in a new light. It was no longer
to occur, sometimes putting food on merely an experimental analysis. It had
the lever to induce it. He also did not given rise to a technology" (Skinner,
directly shape the feats of Pliny the El- 1979, p. 274). In later turning to edu-
der. Instead, he modified Pliny's phys- cation, he noted the "direct genetic
ical environment (e.g., drop-off edges), connection between teaching machines
waited for an appropriate response to and Project Pigeon" (Skinner, 1960b,
occur, reinforced it to strength, and pp. 36-37), that is, the engineering of
then modified the physical environ- behavior. A more extended application
ment again. Similarly, in the research of Skinner's science was the Brelands'
reported in The Behavior of Organisms (1951) founding of Animal Behavior
(1938) on the differentiation of re- Enterprises in 1947 to train animals for
sponse intensity and duration, he en- entertainment and commercial purpos-
gineered the physics of the response re- es (e.g., circuses, advertising). Perhaps
quirements (e.g., the force required to the ultimate test, though, was the Na-
press the lever), waited for a response tional Aeronautics and Space Admin-
that met those requirements, and rein- istration's use of Skinner's science to
forced it. train chimpanzees for its Project Mer-
cury flights in the late 1950s and early Montana. Deborah Skinner Buzan af-
1960s (see Rohles, 1966, 1992). terward cogently refuted this story in a
letter to the editor of The Guardian
Baby in a Box (Buzan, 2004).
Skinner's next application-referred WALDEN TWO
to as the "air crib," "baby tender,"
and "heir conditioner"-was actually We now come to Skinner's (1948d)
not much of a behavioral application. novel, Walden Two, written in 1945
As described in his 1945 article, and published in 1948. The book was
"Baby in a Box" (Skinner, 1945a), the patterned, in part, after Bacon's (1624/
air crib was a self-contained, sound-at- 1942) utopian work, New Atlantis, in
tenuating living space with a full front which the physical and biological sci-
window, air filters, controls for heat ences were used to improve the human
and humidity, and a continuous roll of condition. In Walden Two, behavioral
sheeting for changing the bed. Skinner science was applied to the same end.
constructed it in 1944 for his wife, The impetus for Skinner's book was, in
Eve, and their second daughter, Debo- part, both social and personal. First, in
rah, to enhance Deborah's comfort, the course of a dinner conversation
health, and development, and make in- with a friend whose son-in-law was
fant and child care more enjoyable stationed in the South Pacific, Skinner
(e.g., increasing the opportunities for mused about what young people would
joint play by reducing the time spent do when World War II ended. "What
washing clothes; see Benjamin & Niel- a shame," he said, "that they would
sen-Gammon, 1999; Jordan, 1996). abandon their crusading spirit" (Skin-
Although a contribution to domestic ner, 1979, p. 292). When asked what
engineering, as well as another of they should do, he responded, "They
Skinner's inventions, the air crib should experiment: They should ex-
served biological functions as much as plore new ways of living, as people
behavioral ones, and was equally a test had done in the communities of the
of materials science in the mid-1940s nineteenth century." Although many
as a test of behavioral science. In fact, of those communities had failed, Skin-
Skinner conducted no experiments ner was optimistic: "Young people to-
with Deborah beyond adjusting the day might have better luck. They could
crib's heat and humidity so that she build a culture that would come closer
would play and sleep comfortably. to satisfying human needs than the
"Baby in a Box" was, at best, a case American way of life" (1979, p. 292).
study of the air crib's contributions to The personal impetus for writing the
Deborah's and Eve's health and hap- book lay in dissatisfactions with Skin-
piness. Today, the application that most ner's own life:
closely resembles the air crib is medi- I had seen my wife and her friends struggling to
cal-isolettes used in neonatal infant save themselves from domesticity, wincing as
care units. they printed "housewife" in those blanks asking
The air crib, of course, is the subject for occupation. Our older daughter had just fin-
of urban legends, a recent one appear- ished first grade, and there is nothing like a first
ing in Slater's (2004) Opening Skin- child's first year in school to turn one's thoughts
to education. (Skinner, 1976, p. v)
ner's Box: Great Psychological Exper-
iments of the Twentieth Century. Here, Applications: Cultural Practices
Skinner had allegedly confined Debo-
rah to the air crib for 2 years and meted Given Skinner's interest in extend-
out rewards and "mean punishments," ing his science to human behavior, his
making her psychotic, which led her to optimism about cultural design, and his
commit suicide by gunshot at the age dissatisfaction with the status quo, we
of 31 in a bowling alley in Billings, would expect him to have described
108 EDWARD K. MORRIS et al.

the process of establishing community much misrepresented the whole system

practices (i.e., the style of Skinner's if you suppose that any of the practices
science), not so much the community's I've described are fixed. We try out
already established practices. His many different techniques. Gradually
book, however, mainly described the we work toward the best possible set"
latter. Among these were practices in (p. 106). In speaking to this theme lat-
childrearing (e.g., group care), educa- er, Skinner commented,
tion (e.g., learning by discovery), work
(e.g., labor credits), and environmental I had no idea how the principles could be ap-
stewardship (e.g., sustainable agricul- plied to real live people in a fairly complex or-
ganism, but we've found out since then.... To-
ture). Given that the book described es- day we have much more relevant information in
tablished practices, it likely had little setting up communities like Walden Two and,
direct influence on the process of de- by experimenting, I am sure we could arrive at
riving, implementing, and validating a viable pattern. If it turns out to be the pattern
specific behavioral technologies. In of Walden Two, I'll have made one of the most
remarkable guesses in history. (Hall, 1972, p.
fact, terms such as the "principles" of 71)
behavioral engineering were used spar-
ingly throughout the book, the "sci- Skinner's vision, then, was not about
ence of behavior" only twice, and "re- particular community practices but
inforcement theory" seemingly just about an empirical approach to deriv-
once. ing, implementing, and validating
practices that worked.
Skinner's Utopian Vision: Like the practices in Walden Two
Processes or Practices (1948d), the practices now so often
identified with applied behavior anal-
Perhaps because Walden Two's ysis-for instance, discrete-trial behav-
(1948d) practices were established and ioral interventions for children with
the process mainly implied, the prac- autism (e.g., Lovaas, 1981, 1987) and
tices have been taken to be Skinner's "behavior modification" in general
utopian vision and thus a blueprint for (Kazdin, 2001; Sarafino, 2001)-are
intentional communities (Altus & Mor- also not essentialist, but contingent.
ris, 2004). Skinner, however, had no They have been selected for by their
blueprint, which is a common misun- effectiveness in biological, individual,
derstanding (e.g., Kuhlman, 2005), and social, and cultural contexts. The only
his utopian vision was different. His constant is the process of deriving, im-
vision was that intentional communi- plementing, and validating those prac-
ties take an empirical approach to dis- tices through the experimental analysis
covering and demonstrating cultural of behavior (Baer, 2001). On this view,
practices that worked. On this view, there are no "ABA" interventions, only
Walden Two's practices were contin- interventions that have been discov-
gent, not essentialist. They were con- ered and demonstrated to be effective
tingent on what worked in the com- through empirical research. Even
munity's historical and then-current though these applied practices (behav-
American context. Experimentation ior modification) and experimental
was the only constant. Skinner made analyses of them (applied behavior
this point several times through the analysis) may share a common concep-
character of T E. Frazier. For example, tual system, they are different activities
"The actual achievement is beside the (Deitz, 1978, 1983). If the distinction
point. The main thing is, we encourage is not respected, then their unique con-
our people to view every habit and tributions to improving the human con-
custom with an eye to possible im- dition may be misunderstood in the be-
provement. A constantly experimental havioral, social, and cognitive scienc-
attitude toward everything-that's all es, and by funding agencies, to the det-
we need" (p. 25). And, "I've very riment of the discipline and the culture
at large (J. M. Johnston, 1996; J. Moore Stimulus-Response Analysis of Anxi-
& Cooper, 2003; Vollmer, 2001). ety and Its Role as a Reinforcing
Agent," offered an interpretation of
Applications: Scientific Processes psychoanalysis based on Pavlov's
(1927) research on conditioned reflexes
Although Walden Two's (1948d) and Hull's (1943) drive-reduction the-
practices were mainly established, ory of instrumental conditioning (see
Skinner did occasionally describe the Dollard & Miller, 1950; Miller & Dol-
process of how his science could be lard, 1943). These theories and this re-
applied to solving problems. The more search contributed in important ways
conspicuous of these practices, though, to the emergence of behavior therapy
were aversive. Although not now nor- in the late 1950s (e.g., Eysenck, 1960;
mative in applied behavior analysis, Franks, 1964; Wolpe, 1958; see
aversive practices were evident in O'Donohue, Henderson, Hayes, Fisher,
JABA's first issue (e.g., Powell & & Hayes, 2001), but played less of a
Azrin, 1968; Risley, 1968). One such role in applied behavior analysis. The
practice in Walden Two was the use of scientific style and content of behavior
an electric fence to control the grazing therapy in the 1960s-for instance, sta-
patterns of sheep (pp. 14-15). Of this tistical rather than experimental con-
use of punishment, Frazier commented trol, and respondent behavioral pro-
dismissively, "It's a primitive principle cesses-were not the focus of applied
of control" (p. 251). As for punish- behavior analysis.
ment with humans, he noted, "we Notwithstanding Kazdin's (1977)
don't punish. We never deliver an un- comment that Skinner's "most ambi-
pleasantness in the hope of repressing tious extension of operant principles
or eliminating undesirable behavior" was in ... Walden Two" (p. 22) or
(p. 104). Some of Walden Two's appli- Krasner's (2001, p. 217) more recent
cations, though, did use negative rein- remark that "behavior therapy was
forcement, for instance, to teach self- given [its] classic expression" in the
control and to reduce destructive emo- book, the book described little about
tions through systematic desensitiza- therapy per se. Its main contribution
tion, but this was far from the norm for was the very idea of application-a be-
Skinner. Although he did not deny the havioral zeitgeist for those who would
usefulness of aversive control in ex- later apply Skinner's science.
treme cases (e.g., to suppress life-
threatening self-injurious behavior; Applied and Effective
Skinner, 1988b), he was deeply critical
of punishment as a personal, social, or Skinner did describe one practice in
cultural practice (Skinner, 1971b, pp. Walden Two (1948d) that became
62-100; 1973a). foundational to applied behavior anal-
Aversive conditioning and desensi- ysis, specifically to its applied and ef-
tization were not new in 1945, of fective dimensions. By applied, Baer et
course. In the 1920s, John B. Watson al. (1968) meant that "the behavior,
and Rosalie Rayner (1920) had condi- stimuli, and/or organism under study
tioned a child's fear of a rat (see B. are chosen because of their importance
Harris, 1979) and, under Watson's to man and society, rather than their
oversight, Mary Cover Jones (1924b) importance to theory" (p. 92). By ef-
eliminated a child's fear of a rabbit (see fective, they meant that an application's
also Jones, 1924a; Ollendick & King, "practical importance, specifically its
1998). In 1935, Hobart and Molly power in altering behavior enough to
Mowrer (1938) developed the bell-and- be socially important, is the essential
pad method for treating nocturnal en- criterion" (p. 96). As for the instanti-
uresis (see Houts, 2003). A few years ation of these dimensions in Walden
later, Mowrer's (1939) article, "A Two, its members were surveyed about
110 EDWARD K. MORRIS et al.

their "satisfaction" with community Paranormal Phenomena

practices, that is, with the importance Skinner (1947c) was also again crit-
and effectiveness of those practices. In ical of research on paranormal phe-
this, Skinner anticipated the role of nomena, this time on psychokinesis,
consumer satisfaction more than two that is, the purported ability of the
decades before Baer et al. (1968) ad- mind to control matter, for instance, to
dressed the ethical basis of social in- bend spoons. In addition to raising his
terventions and three decades before earlier objections about the lack of ex-
Wolf (1978) made a case for what we perimental control, he noted that, by
know today as social validity. their very definition, paranormal phe-
nomena were "out of reach of scien-
AFTER WALDEN TWO: tific inquiry" (p. 34). They were part
1945-1953 of a literally dualistic worldview (see
also Skinner, 1947a). He voiced these
Between writing Walden Two in criticisms again a year later in a letter
1945 and publishing Science and Hu- to the American Scientist, objecting to
man Behavior in 1953, Skinner re- its having published a colunm on "pre-
turned to topics he had addressed ear- cognitive telepathy" (Skinner, 1948a).
lier (e.g., Skinner, 1951a) and took up
new ones. After moving to Indiana Applied Psychology
University (1945-1947), he criticized
analyses of human nature based in folk In 1947, Skinner (1947b) published
psychology rather than in natural sci- a remarkable chapter titled "Experi-
ence (Skinner, 1946); social sciences mental Psychology," in which he de-
that gathered facts but did not establish fined the field as the functional analysis
functional relations among them (Skin- of behavior. Its goal was to understand
ner, 1948b); and "thinking machines" behavior through prediction and con-
that modeled human action on cyber- a means forprediction
trol, where and control were
understanding, not ends in
netics rather than on the principles of themselves. He then criticized applied
behavior (Skinner, 1951c). psychology for not being experimental,
that is, for using correlational meth-
Superstition ods-prediction without control. Yet,
he was optimistic: Applied
Perhaps because of its simplicity and would become experimentalpsychology when its
inherent interest, Skinner's most wide- practitioners started working with be-
ly cited research at this or perhaps any havior directly. This was not a "matter
time was another animal model, this of bringing the world into the labora-
one of superstition (Skinner, 1948c; see tory, but of extending the practices of
Todd & Morris, 1983). He found that an experimental science to the world at
fixed-time, response-independent de- large. We can do this as soon as we
liveries of reinforcers produced idio- wish" (p. 24). Until this happens,
syncratic, yet often stable, patterns of though, he wrote, "Our definition of
behavior in pigeons, for example, "a the experimental field is ... not yet
pendulum motion of the head and complete, since [experimental psychol-
body" (p. 168). He likened these ac- ogy] does not exclude the applied in-
tions to human "rituals for changing terest in functional control" (p. 26).
one's luck at cards" and a bowler's In Skinner's view, applied psychol-
"twisting and turning his arm and ogy should be experimental psycholo-
shoulder" after releasing the ball (p. gy, a psychology that enhances our un-
171). For a modern review of this and derstanding of behavior through dis-
related research, see Vyse's (1997) Be- coveries and demonstrations of how it
lieving in Magic: The Psychology of is controlled and how it can be con-
Superstition. trolled in everyday life. In this, he was

proposing that applied psychology be ethical implications of the social and

behavioral, analytic, and technologi- behavioral sciences. In the resulting ar-
cal-the three dimensions needed for it ticle, "The Application of Scientific
to become a science. Soon afterward, Method to the Study of Human Behav-
Paul Fuller (1949), a graduate student ior" (Brinton, Krutch, Kroeber, Skin-
at Indiana, conducted a pioneering ner, & Haydn, 1952), he argued that a
study on the application of operant re- science of behavior could help "make
inforcement. He selectively increased decisions on some very important
arm movements in an institutionalized problems" (p. 209) that had not been
18-year-old "vegetative human organ- solved by the social sciences or hu-
ism" who was thought incapable of manities. Although these disciplines
any learning at all. The application of might bring actuarial data and case
Skinner's science was in the air. studies to bear on societal problems,
they offered no principles of individual
Application behavior.
Only after returning to Harvard in He also pointed out that a science of
1947 did Skinner (195 lb) publish his human behavior can help address the
first paper describing actual applica- "naturalistic fallacy" (G. E. Moore,
tions-"How to Teach Animals." In it, 1903/1966). This is the fallacy that we
he related how "some simple tech- can derive ethics and values about how
niques of the psychological laboratory the world "ought" to be (e.g., that we
can also be used in the home" (p. 26) ought to do something about global
(a) to train dogs, with a clicker, to lift warming) from statements about how
their heads and turn around; (b) to the world "is" (e.g., the global tem-
teach pigeons to "read" words and perature is rising). Only ethics is
play a toy piano; and (c) to instruct thought capable of addressing the for-
parents on how to extinguish their chil- mer, and only science the latter. In
dren's "annoying behavior" through Skinner's view, though, a science of
the differential reinforcement of other human behavior could address both.
behavior. "Ought" statements are verbal behav-
The article prompted a writer from ior about values; values concern short-
Look magazine to have Skinner dem- and long-term positive and negative re-
onstrate these "simple techniques," inforcers; and reinforcers are the con-
leading Skinner to undertake another sequences of actions. Skinner's science
demonstration of behavioral engineer- was a science of action, reinforcers,
ing. He taught a dog to leap to a pre- and verbal behavior. It offered an em-
scribed height and to press a pedal to pirical basis for informing us about
lift the lid of a trash can ("Harvard what practices might-but not must-
Trained Dog," 1952; see G. B. Peter- produce valued consequences for the
son, 2001). Pryor (1994, 1999) has individual, social group, or ultimately
since developed and disseminated be- the culture (Skinner, 1971b). For a re-
havioral technologies for zoos and view of naturalized ethics, see Vogel-
theme parks, the everyday pet owner, tanz and Plaud (1992).
and therapy animals for people with
disabilities (see the Special Interest SCIENCE AND HUMAN
Group for Applied Animal Behavior in BEHAVIOR (1953a)
the Association for Behavior Analysis; We turn now to Science and Human Behavior (1953a) Skinner's first exten-
Ethics and Values sion of his science and philosophy to
psychology as a whole. In it, he de-
Just before publishing Science and voted entire chapters to application: in-
Human Behavior (1953a), Skinner par- dividual practices, such as self-control
ticipated in a forum that explored the and thinking; social practices, includ-
112 EDWARD K. MORRIS et al.

ing personal and group control; and in a more easily understood form in Keller and
cultural practices, among them psycho- Schoenfeld [1950], the development of the be-
havior modification movement needed Skinner's
therapy and education. Other chapters own bold extrapolation to all aspects of human
contained sections explicitly titled "the behavior. Most experimental psychologists are
practical use of . .. ," for instance, of inherently conservative in describing the rele-
drives, emotion, aversive stimuli, and vance of their work to practical situations, but
multiple causation. not Skinner. In Science and Human Behavior,
using only the basic concepts of behavior anal-
Given Skinner's treatment of these ysis that appeared in The Behavior of Organ-
topics, his book has been viewed as isms, some results of his subsequent work with
foundational to applied behavior anal- pigeons, and the material which ultimately went
ysis. Twenty-five years ago, for in- into Verbal Behavior, he managed to deal with
stance, Wilson and O'Leary (1980) de- a wide variety of human situations from a com-
pletely behavioral point of view, and very con-
scribed it as "particularly significant vincingly at that. It was this extension to all as-
[in] the extension of operant principles pects of human activity that, I think, provided
to human problems," especially in its behaviorists with the encouragement necessary
critique of psychoanalysis and the for them to begin contributing to the areas of
''conceptualization of psychotherapy mental illness, mental retardation, and other ap-
in behavioral terms" (p. 11). More re- plied fields. (pp. 3-4; see also Michael, 1984, p.
cent assessments also support this view
(Pilgrim, 2003): (a) "Skinner's (1953) As an aside, Baer et al. (1968) included
book ... was the first to provide ex- just three references in their paper on
tensive examples of behavior princi- the dimensions of applied behavior
ples in everyday life" (Baldwin & analysis: Sidman's (1960) Tactics of
Baldwin, 2001, p. 10); (b) its "inter- Scientific Research, JEAB, and Science
pretations influenced others to begin and Human Behavior. Sidman's book
examining the effects of reinforcement described the style of Skinner's sci-
variables on human behavior in a num- ence, JEAB its content, and Science
ber of experimental and applied set- and Human Behavior his system. Baer
tings" (Martin & Pear, 1996, p. 383); et al. thus apparently viewed the book
(c) it "contains early expressions of as one of the field's three most impor-
much that was to come: ... the entire tant foundations.
field of applied behavior analysis" Although the foregoing quotations
(Marr, 2003, p. 311); and (d) "as we speak strongly to the book's influence
survey the contemporary scene, we can on applied behavior analysis, beyond
point to many applications traceable in these testimonials the evidence could
one way or another to Science and Hu- be stronger. Historiography needs to be
man Behavior" (Catania, 2003, p. 319;
see also Cooper et al., 1987, p. 11; prospective from the past about the
Miltenberger, 1997, p. 10). past, not retrospective from the present
Michael (1980) has been especially (Stocking, 1965). The validity of the
outspoken in this regard. As for the ef- foregoing quotations about the book's
fect of the book on him personally, he influence, for instance, might be as-
has noted, "I came at the applied area sessed by analyzing references to it in
primarily from extensive study of ... the first volume of JABA, as well as in
Science and Human Behavior; not the important pre-1968 applied publi-
from the rat lab" (Michael & Malott, cations (e.g., Ayllon & Michael, 1959;
2003, p. 1 15). As for the book's broad- Wolf, Risley, & Mees, 1964). Another
er influence, he has observed, approach would be to analyze citations
to the book in today's applied text-
Skinner's Science and Human Behavior ap- books and those that address the field's
peared in 1953 and was, it seems to me, the history. For example, although Kazdin
main factor responsible for the development of (1978) commented on the book a num-
the area called behavior modification. Though
all the basic principles had been available in The ber of times in History of Behavior
Behavior of Organisms, and were later available Modification (e.g., pp. 146, 175, 180,

202), his only observation about its in- Significance

fluence was not telling:
Foundational or not on this point,
Skinner's [1953] extension of operant principles Science and Human Behavior remains
to human behavior, particularly to clinically rel- one of Skinner's most significant
evant behaviors, suggested the utility of a be- books. First, as Michael (1980) noted,
havioral approach as an alternative to the psy-
chiatric model. The application of operant meth- it offered compelling and wide-ranging
ods to achieve clinical changes followed several interpretations of socially important
years after his pronouncements. (p. 146) behavior and descriptions of possible
In O'Donohue et al.'s (2001) recent p. applications. Although Skinner (1938,
A History of the Behavioral Therapies: reader 442) had written that "the careful
Founders' Personal Histories, most plications should be as able to make ap-
chapters neither cite nor refer to Skin- one did this as the writer," apparently no
ner's book (e.g., Julie Vargas on Skin- 1953, except as well as Skinner before
ner, the autobiographies by Lindsley Schoenfeld (1950). perhaps Keller and
and Baer). The chapters that do are was reviewed not only Second, the book
Poppen's biography of Wolpe and the gists but also by anthropologists, by psycholo-
autobiographies by Bijou, Krasner, ogists, ethicists, philosophers, andbiol- so-
Mischel, Risley, and Wolf. ciologists (e.g., Birdwhistell, 1954;
The autobiographies, though, are not 1955; Fleming, 1953; Prosch,
compelling about the book's impact. Eng,
Bijou (2001), for instance, commented ing itsStrong,
1953; 1954), thereby broaden-
influence (see Pilgrim, 2003).
only that he had audited the course Third, it was, in its day, an introduc-
Skinner taught at Harvard based on tory psychology textbook
Science and Human Behavior, and 1983b, p. 45; see Bjork, 1993,(Skinner, 153),
Wolf (2001) only that he had read the and thus was read by several p.genera-
book at Michael's "suggestion." Kras- tions of students, some of whom
ner (2001) offered a general assess-
ment, observing that Skinner's publi- earned gy and
advanced degrees in psycholo-
related fields (e.g., education).
cations, Science and Human Behavior Fourth, Michael read the book (Mi-
among them, were "overwhelmingly chael, 2003)-Michael who was to
influential" in the field of instrumental Skinner what T. H.
conditioning, which was "the most in- Charles Darwin (1859). Huxley,was Huxley to
fluential stream in the development of an im-
behavior therapy" (p. 208). Only Ris- portant 19th century naturalist, was
ley (2001) described how the book af- known as Darwin's "bulldog" for his
fected him directly: avid defense of and popularization of
evolutionary biology (Huxley, 1863/
I was most influenced by Skinner's urgings for 1954; see Leahey, 2004, pp. 200, 204-
the development of behavioral and social tech- 205). After Michael read Science and
nology to overcome our genetic predilections Human Behavior, this was his role vis-
and our cultural superstitions. The first three
chapters of Science and Human Behavior a-vis Skinner and behavior analysis. In
(1953[a]), Skinner had outlined an agenda for addition, Michael was the teacher, ad-
an inductive, empirical approach to a science of viser, mentor, and colleague of many of
human behavior. (Which was followed by 26 the first generation of applied behavior
chapters of a deductive, logical explanation of analysts (see Goodall, 1972; Kazdin,
uninvestigated human behavior.) (p. 271)
1978, pp. 233-274; Michael, 2003).
This is a sample of today's referencing Fifth, Science and Human Behavior
practices and comments regarding Sci- (1953a) has been considered essential
ence and Human Behavior. They do for establishing a "minimal doctoral
not address the question of how the repertoire in behavior analysis" (Mi-
book directly influenced applied be- chael, 1980, p. 17) and is today highly
havior analysis. More research re- rated and ranked by editorial board
mains. members of JEAB and JABA. In a re-
114 EDWARD K. MORRIS et al.

cent survey, three quarters of the re- Nonetheless, he at first urged caution
spondents listed the book as one of the about pharmacological applications. In
"'essential readings for students who "Animal Research in the Pharmaco-
are being trained in the experimental therapy of Mental Disease," he argued
analysis of behavior, applied behavior that, although drugs might be "impor-
analysis, and related disciplines" (Sa- tant in the management and treatment
ville, Beal, & Buskist, 2002, p. 30). of mental disease" (Skinner, 1959a, p.
The JEAB board members ranked it 224), pharmacology first has to be
first, and the JABA board members grounded on principles derived from
ranked it second only to Baer et al. the experimental analysis of human be-
(1968). It is also steadily and highly cit- havior. These principles assured that
ed in citation indexes (Pilgrim, 2003). explanations of a drug's "mode of ac-
The book's importance is obvious, even tion" were based not just on the drug
if its direct influence on applied behav- itself, but also on behavior, that is, on
ior analysis requires further support. behavioral history and prevailing con-
tingencies (e.g., appetitive vs. aversive
APPLICATIONS AND APPLIED control). The principles also provide
RESEARCH: 1953-1959 explanations of behavior based not on
Applications mental processes and personality traits
but on naturalistic accounts of human
After publishing Science and Hu- behavior, that is, on biology, environ-
man Behavior, Skinner turned even ment, and history. Grounding applied
more toward application. He extended behavior analysis on Skinner's science
his animal model of superstition to a had similar effects. It provided an ac-
second type (Morse & Skinner, count of atypical behavior based on
1957)-responding under adventitious historical and current contingencies in
stimulus control. In writing about the biological and environmental context,
experimental analysis of behavior, he not on mind, personality, or pure phys-
addressed such topics as attention, mo- iology.
tivation, gambling, social relations, Verbal behavior. In psychology,
psychotic behavior, psychotherapy, Skinner's most famous extension of his
school discipline, education, and in- science to human behavior was Verbal
dustry (e.g., Skinner, 1953b, 1956a, Behavior (1957c), which he believed
1957a, 1958b, 1959d). However, he fo- was his "most important work" (1977,
cused most directly on (a) behavioral p. 379). The book was also more ap-
pharmacology; (b) verbal behavior; (c) plied than is typically appreciated. As
psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and Skinner put it, "The formulation is in-
mental disease; and (d) ethics in the herently practical and suggests imme-
control of human behavior. diate technological applications at al-
Behavioral pharmacology. Through- most every step" (1957c, p. 12). Tech-
out the 1950s, Skinner actively pro- nological applications were, in turn, an
moted the use of operant methods in arbiter of how well the book explained
pharmacology, drawing on examples verbal behavior:
from J. V. Brady (1956) and Dews
(1956; Dews & Skinner, 1956) and his The extent to which we understand verbal be-
own work with Ferster (e.g., Ferster & havior in a "causal" analysis is to be assessed
from the extent to which we can predict the oc-
Skinner, 1957, pp. 83-85, 385-390, currence of specific instances and, eventually,
413-414, 596-597, 627-629, 695, from the extent to which we can produce or con-
716-718; Skinner, 1957a; see Berg- trol such behavior by altering the conditions un-
man, Katz, & Miczek, 2002; Laties, der which it occurs. In representing such a goal
2003; Skinner, 1983b, pp. 99-101). it is helpful to keep certain engineering tasks in
mind. How can the teacher establish the specific
Over time, his style of science-in par- verbal repertoires which are the principal end-
ticular, his steady-state methods-be- products of education? How can the therapist
came fundamental to the field. uncover latent verbal behavior in a therapeutic
interview? How can the writer evoke his own Shortly afterward, he published three
verbal behavior in the act of composition? How papers more directly relevant to the
can the scientist, mathematician, or logician ma-
nipulate his verbal behavior in productive think- process of therapy. In the first, "Cri-
ing? Practical problems of this sort are, of tique of Psychoanalytic Concepts and
course, endless. To solve them is not the im- Theories" (1954a), he pointed out that
mediate goal of a scientific analysis, but they Freud's independent variables were hy-
underline the kinds of processes and relation- pothetical representations of the prod-
ships which such an analysis must consider. (p.
3) ucts of behavioral ontogeny (e.g., the
superego), and that Freud's proximal
And consider them, Skinner did. dependent variables were hypothetical
Verbal Behavior (1957c) is replete processes (e.g., repression), neither of
with interpretations, implications, and which was measurable or manipulable.
descriptions of applications. These in- On these accounts, behavior was a
clude (a) material on the reinforcement symptom of the representations and
and punishment of the basic verbal op- processes, not a subject matter unto it-
erants (e.g., mands, tacts, intraverbals), self. For Skinner, in contrast, the rep-
their stimulus controls (e.g., audience resentations and processes were but
effects), and their motivation (e.g., shorthand descriptions of the history
deprivation); (b) references to relevant and dynamics of public and private be-
research (e.g., the verbal summator); havior. Skinner's second publication-
and (c) material that addressed the "What Is Psychotic Behavior?"
"practical control" of speaker behav- (1956b)-extended this critique. He
ior through prompts and probes (pp. likened psychoanalytic explanations to
254-268), instructions (pp. 362-367), psychology's generally mentalistic and
self-strengthening (pp. 403-417), and reductionistic explanations. Psycholo-
its construction (pp. 422-431). He also gy had failed, he thought, to apply sci-
cited Greenspoon's (1955) research on ence to human behavior, which was for
the conditioning of adult verbal behav- him its "primary object" (p. 79).
ior with generalized social reinforce- In his third publication, "The Psy-
ment, which presaged the implications chological Point of View" (1957b),
of conditioning for conversations (see Skinner was more constructive. He ar-
Verplanck, 1955) and psychotherapy gued that the experimental analysis of
(Greenspoon, 1962; Truax, 1966; see behavior could be integrated with ge-
Glenn, 1983). netic and organic approaches to under-
According to Michael (1984), how- standing psychiatric illness. In partic-
ever, Verbal Behavior (1957c) was so ular, it could offer precise laboratory-
speculative that it was often an embar- based measures of, for instance,
rassment to "operant researchers" (p. sensory control, motor behavior, emo-
369) and of little value to those who tional behavior, motivation, and learn-
undertook the first empirically based ing. It could provide "a base-line upon
applications of Skinner's science. which the effect of genetic, organic,
Thus, the book probably had little in- and other variables may be observed"
fluence on the founding of applied be- (p. 132). And, it could "change the be-
havior analysis. Today, however, it havior of the mentally diseased" (p.
plays an increasing role in the treat- 132) through respondent and operant
ment of communication disorders in conditioning. Skinner concluded this
children with developmental disabili- way:
ties (Sundberg & Michael, 2001; Sund-
berg & Partington, 1998). That there are etiological facts lying beyond [ex-
Psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and perimental psychology] is doubtless true.... A
mental disease. Although Skinner had certain practical hierarchy of causes may, how-
ever, be pointed out. Although genetic and or-
addressed psychotherapy in Science ganic factors can be efficiently evaluated only
and Human Behavior (1953a), he ad- by holding environmental factors constant, and
dressed it mainly as a cultural practice. although environmental factors can be correctly
116 EDWARD K. MORRIS et al.
evaluated only against a stable genetic and or- mote to the observable and manipulable.
ganic condition, it is probably a useful practice Though it is a painful step, it has far-reaching
to explore environmental factors first to see consequences, for it not only sets higher stan-
whether any behavioral manifestations remain to dards of human welfare but shows us how to
be attributed to genetic and organic causes. (p. meet them.... Possibly the noblest achievement
133) to which man can aspire ... is to accept himself
for what he is. (pp. 64-65)
This optimism about behavior's envi-
ronmental determinants was evident in Third, Skinner described how the
the founding of applied behavior anal- outworn conceptions of human behav-
ysis and remains so today. ior were harmful to personal relations,
Ethics in the control of human be- education, and government: because
havior. During this period, Skinner re- their modes of control were aversive
turned to ethical issues in three impor- (Rogers & Skinner, 1956). A scientifi-
tant articles: "The Control of Human cally based conception showed how
Behavior" (1955), "Freedom and the aversive control could and should be
Control of Men" (1955-1956), and his replaced with positive reinforcement.
symposium with Carl Rogers, "Some In response to Rogers' argument that
Issues Concerning the Control of Hu- values and free choice determined hu-
man Behavior" (Rogers & Skinner, man behavior, Skinner pointed out that
1956). He had touched on these themes values specify reinforcing events, con-
earlier, but as the applied implications ditions, and activities; that choice was
of his science became more apparent, not free, but also determined; and that
as the Cold War heightened, and as his we must overcome our fear of the con-
critics grew more vocal (e.g., Krutch, trol implicit in science. In overcoming
1954), he addressed these themes more it, he wrote, perhaps tongue-in-cheek,
frequently. "we shall become more mature and
First, Skinner (1955) noted that, better organized and shall, thus, more
whether we admit it or not, behavior is fully actualize ourselves as human be-
controlled on a daily basis through pro- ings" (p. 1065). Topics such as these
cesses and practices involving positive gained Skinner's further attention in
reinforcement, motivational control, the 1960s and 1970s, when he ad-
emotional conditioning, and "knowl- dressed freedom and dignity (Skinner,
edge of the individual" (e.g., govern- 1971b), humanism (e.g., Skinner,
ment databases). He was concerned 1972c), and the design of cultures
that the culture's "outworn conception (Skinner, 1973b).
of human nature" discouraged the
analysis of these factors, thus obscur- Applied Research
ing the need for their countercontrol. The same year Science and Human
Second, he defended the science of Behavior (1953a) was published, Skin-
behavior, its implications, and its ap- ner began his two most "noteworthy"
plication (Skinner, 1955-1956). In par- and "influential" extensions and appli-
ticular, he addressed pertinent issues in cations of his science to human behav-
the philosophy of science (e.g., deter- ior (Kazdin, 1978, pp. 177, 242). One
minism) and fears about the use of the was an experimental analysis of the be-
science in cultural design (e.g., despo- havior of patients in a psychiatric in-
tism). However, he concluded optimis- stitution; the other was a technology of
tically, teaching.
Far from being a threat to the tradition of West- The behavior ofpsychiatric patients.
em democracy, the growth of a science of man Skinner's extension of his science to
is a consistent and probably inevitable part of it. psychiatric patients was his 1953-1965
In tuming to the extemal conditions which shape collaboration with Ogden Lindsley
and maintain the behavior of men, while ques-
tioning the reality of the inner qualities and fac- (Lindsley & Skinner, 1954; see Linds-
ulties to which human achievements were once ley, 2001; Rutherford, 2003b). Al-
attributed, we turn from the ill-defined and re- though meant to be a systematic rep-

lication of the style and content of vention-the teaching machine-as

Skinner's science (e.g., within-subject well as pioneering research on pro-
analyses, schedules of reinforcement), grammed instruction (Benjamin,
the project had obvious applied impli- 1988). Its impetus was Skinner's No-
cations. It was called, at first, "Studies vember 11, 1953, visit to Deborah's
in Behavior Therapy"; the research fourth grade arithmetic class, from
participants presented problems of which he came away distraught: "The
clear social importance; Lindsley teacher was violating two fundamental
(1960, 1963) wrote about the clinical principles: the students were not being
relevance of the research; and Skin- told at once whether their work was
ner's only article from the project was right or wrong ... and they were all
published in a clinical journal (the moving at the same pace regardless of
Journal of Nervous and Mental Dis- preparation or ability" (Skinner,
eases; Skinner, Solomon, & Lindsley, 1983b, p. 64).
1954). Thus, even though the project's In a matter of days, he constructed
intent was to extend Skinner's science, prototypes of teaching machines and
it was viewed as an advance in the in- their programs. Within a few months,
evitable progress from basic to applied he demonstrated their effectiveness in
research. As applied research, though, teaching arithmetic and spelling. With-
Skinner's article did not describe the in a year, he published his first article
advance in such a manner that the di- on education, "The Science of Learn-
mensions of applied behavior analysis ing and the Art of Teaching" (1954b).
could be discerned. He there described recent develop-
Lindsley's research was not the only ments in basic research, critiqued cur-
programmatic extension of Skinner's rent educational practices, described
science at the time. Others included Bi- how to improve them through his sci-
jou's human operant research with ence, and defended those applications.
atypically developing children (Bijou Over the course of the next four years,
& Orlando, 1961; Orlando & Bijou, he undertook research on programmed
1960) and Ferster's work with children instruction with Homme, Meyer, and
with autism (Ferster, 1961; Ferster & Holland; secured research space at
DeMeyer, 1961, 1962). The latter more Harvard and funding from the Ford
clearly presaged application: Ferster Foundation; and used programmed ma-
used a token reinforcement system to terials in his courses to good effect. Of
establish operant repertoires that were his subsequent papers on education,
incompatible with behavioral excesses though, only two appeared (1958b,
(DeMeyer & Ferster, 1962). Other no- 1959e) before research emerged that
table laboratory-based extensions were was the beginning of applied behavior
Baer's (1962) on thumb sucking; Bar- analysis. But, as with Skinner's paper
rett and Lindsley's (1962) on children on psychotic patients, his articles on
and adults with mental retardation, J. P education did not describe his research
Brady, Nurnberger, and Tausig's (1961) in a way that the dimensions of applied
on schizophrenic patients; Goldia- behavior analysis could be discerned.
mond's (1962) on stuttering; and
Staats's on reading established and THE EMERGENCE OF
maintained though token reinforcement APPLIED BEHAVIOR
(e.g., Staats, Staats, Schultz, & Wolf, ANALYSIS:
1962; see Kazdin, 1978, pp. 246-256). 1959-1967
Teaching machines and pro-
grammed instruction. As for Skinner's By 1959, Skinner had amassed more
application of his science to education, than 30 publications in which he had
this preoccupied him for the next two extended or applied his science. He of-
decades (Morris, 2003). Its focus was fered interpretations of typical and
on the development of yet another in- atypical behavior, drew implications
118 EDWARD K. MORRIS et al.

from his science for application, de- able degree, most of the seven dimen-
scribed possible applications, and re- sions of applied behavior analysis.
ported successful applications in ani-
mal behavior and education. Some of Saskatchewan Hospital:
this work was a precursor to applied Ayllon et al. (1958-1961)
behavior analysis; other of it contrib- Between 1958 and 1961, Ayllon un-
uted to a zeitgeist that made applica- dertook one of the "most influential
tion almost inevitable. In the same de- extensions" of Skinner's science to
cade that Skinner extended his science clinical populations (Kazdin, 1978, p.
to psychotic patients and applied it to 256). These extensions yielded eight
education, two independent programs publications, the first of which has
of research were begun that yielded, been referred to as "the formal begin-
arguably, the first systematic applica- nings of applied behavior analysis"
tions of his science. One was Ayllon's (Cooper et al., 1987, p. 13; see also
work at Saskatchewan Hospital in Birnbrauer, 1979, p. 15). This was Ayl-
Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Canada; the lon's dissertation for the Department of
other was Wolf's at the University of Psychology at the University of Hous-
Washington in Seattle, Washington. ton, with Michael as his adviser. The
These were not the first applications, publication was titled "The Psychiatric
of course. We have already noted P. R. Nurse as a Behavioral Engineer" (Ayl-
Fuller's (1949) early demonstration of lon & Michael, 1959). In it, Ayllon and
operant conditioning in a "vegetative Michael described applications of the
human organism." Other applications style and content of Skinner's science
were being made concurrently to elim- by psychiatric nurses and attendants to
inate a child's tantrums (Williams, improve the behavior of their patients,
1959), reinstate verbal behavior in for example, to increase self-feeding
mute psychotics (Isaacs, Thomas, & and reduce psychotic talk. In Ayllon's
Goldiamond, 1960), and establish pro- other studies, he increased meal atten-
ductive classroom behavior (Zimmer- dance and eating (Ayllon, 1965; Ayl-
man & Zimmerman, 1962). In addi- lon & Haughton, 1962), decreased
tion, at Arizona State University food stealing and towel hoarding (Ayl-
(ASU), Staats (1957) was extending lon, 1963), decreased nonorganic phys-
ical complaints (Ayllon & Haughton,
his research to applied issues in read- 1964), and addressed other clinically
ing (e.g., Staats & Butterfield, 1965; relevant behavior (e.g., anorexia; see;
Staats, Minke, Goodwin, & Landeen, Ayllon, Haughton, & Hughes, 1965;
1967; see Staats, 1965, 1996). Wolf's Ayllon, Haughton, & Osmond, 1964;
work with Staats, when Michael was Haughton & Ayllon, 1965). This was
also at ASU, when ASU was known as "groundbreaking real-world field re-
"Fort Skinner in the Desert" (Goodall, search" (Risley, 2005, p. 279). When
1972), also likely influenced Wolf's Ayllon moved to Anna State Hospital
applications at Washington. Staats's in Illinois in 1961, he collaborated with
overall contribution to founding ap- Azrin in related research (e.g., Ayllon
plied behavior analysis is, however, & Azrin, 1964, 1965), the best known
difficult to gauge. Much of his research of which was on the token economy
was published after Ayllon's and (Ayllon & Azrin, 1968), now consid-
Wolf's, and was more analytic than in- ered "a landmark in the development
terventionist. As for whether Ayllon or of applied behavior analysis" (Kazdin,
Wolf may be said to have founded ap- 1978, p. 260; see Kazdin, 1977).
plied behavior analysis, the answer lies
beyond the scope of our paper. Their University of Washington:
contributions, though, serve as a base- Wolf et al. (1963-1967)
line against which to judge Skinner's Wolf's initial applications were
because they addressed, to a consider- made between 1962 and 1964 (see Bi-

jou, 2001; Risley, 2005). As noted, Bi- BETWEEN APPLIED BEHAVIOR

jou had already extended Skinner's sci- ANALYSIS AND JABA:
ence to atypically developing children, 1959-1968
but after spending a 1961-1962 sab- In 1959, Skinner (1959b) published
batical year with Skinner, he estab- his first collection of works-Cumula-
lished a broader research and training tive Record-nearly two thirds of
program in early childhood. In this which we have cited as extensions and
context, Wolf undertook two lines of applications of his science. This collec-
research. The first was a series of stud- tion and its enlarged 1961 edition
ies on the effects of adult attention on (Skinner, 1961a) kept these publica-
child behavior in which Wolf and his tions in print as Ayllon and Wolf were
colleagues increased social play (Al- undertaking their pioneering research
len, Hart, Buell, Harris, & Wolf, 1964), and as the journals Behaviour Re-
gross motor play (M. K. Johnston, Kel- search and Therapy (established in
ley, Harris, & Wolf, 1966), and walk- 1964) and JABA (established in 1968)
ing (E R. Harris, Johnston, Kelley, & were founded (on the history of JABA,
Wolf, 1964), and decreased operant see Laties, 1987).
crying (Hart, Allen, Buell, & Wolf, In addition, Skinner continued to
1964). This work has been referred to publish papers with applied implica-
as the "most influential application of tions, some of which again concerned
operant techniques with children" the philosophical implications of his
(Kazdin, 1978, p. 264), and its evolv- science for human behavior (e.g., de-
ing applied research methods have terminism, individuality). For instance,
been described as "groundbreaking" in his article, "Man" (1964a), he
(Risley, 2005, p. 280). wrote,
Wolf's second line of research is to-
day better known. He and his col- We have reached the stage, far from a dead end,
leagues applied Skinner's science to in which man can determine his future with an
the behavior of a young boy with au- entirely new order of effectiveness. ... Men
tism. They reduced his tantrums, control themselves by controlling the world in
which they live. They do this as much as when
throwing his eyeglasses, and mealtime they exercise self-control, as when they make
and bedtime problems; they increased changes in their culture which alter the conduct
his wearing his glasses; and they over- of others. (p. 485)
came his severe language deficits At the same time, Skinner was also ad-
(Wolf et al., 1964; see also Risley & dressing utopian themes, among them,
Wolf, 1964, 1967; Wolf, Risley, John- utopian visions (Skinner, 1967b,
ston, Harris, & Allen, 1967). Of these 1967c) and the design of experimental
publications, Wolf et al.'s (1964) "Ap- communities (Skinner, 1968a) and cul-
plication of Operant Conditioning Pro- tures (Skinner, 1961b, 1966b). Other
cedures to the Behavior Problems of an work concerned animal models, behav-
Autistic Child" has been cited as "the ioral interpretations, and further appli-
premier study of behavior modifica- cations to education, as follows.
tion" (Risley, 2001, p. 269; 2005, p.
281) and as the first application of be- Models and Interpretations
havior analysis to autism (Wolf, 2001;
see also Kazdin, 1978, p. 268). Be- In 1960, Skinner (1960a) published
tween 1959 and 1967, applications of his account of Project Pigeon, giving
the style and content of Skinner's sci- life to the early advances in behavioral
ence burgeoned in both the number of engineering, both in shaping new be-
research studies and research programs havior and bringing it under precise
(see Kazdin, 1978). This work, how- stimulus control. He also conducted
ever, was not called "applied behavior more animal-model research, now on
analysis." The field awaited its formal social relations and emotion. For in-
founding. stance, he described a classroom dem-
120 EDWARD K. MORRIS et al.

onstration in which he simulated (a) Skinner on Applied Behavior Analysis

cooperation in pigeons by reinforcing Skinner's interest in applying his sci-
their behavior only when it occurred at ence notwithstanding, he never system-
the same time and (b) competition be- atically integrated, advanced, or pro-
tween them in a version of ping-pong moted "applied behavior analysis" per
(Skinner, 1962). In research with se. In fact, he seems to have only both
George Reynolds and Charlie Catania, cited and referenced it once in all of
he studied unconditioned and condi- his published works. This was in "Re-
tioned aggression in pigeons, and stim- view Lecture: The Technology of
ulus control of the latter (Reynolds, Teaching" (1965a), in which he de-
Catania, & Skinner, 1963; see also scribed recent advances in the appli-
Reynolds & Skinner, 1962). During cation of his science, using as exam-
this period, he further addressed verbal ples Ayllon and Azrin's (1965) re-
behavior (Richards & Skinner, 1962) search on the token economy and Wolf
and offered interpretations of cognition et al.'s (1964) research in autism.
(Skinner, 1966a) and consciousness Where he elsewhere cited and support-
(Blanshard & Skinner, 1967), the latter ed early applied researchers (e.g., Ayl-
of which forecasted later empirical re- lon, Azrin, Bijou) and interventions
search (e.g., Epstein, Lanza, & Skinner, (e.g., National Training School for
1980, 1981). Boys; Skinner, 1971c), he did not pro-
vide references (see, e.g., Skinner
Education 1967a, 1968/2004, 1972c, 1980).
Throughout this period, Skinner was When he provided references, they
most active in education, publishing were in footnotes rather than in the
over 15 additional works, including main text. These were to Ulrich, Stach-
The Technology of Teaching (Skinner, nik, and Mabry (1966, 1970) in The
1968c; see also Skinner, 1960c, 1961c, Technology of Teaching (1968c, p. 4)
1963, 1964b, 1965a, 1965b, 1968b; cf. and Beyond Freedom and Dignity
Barrett, 2002). With Holland, he also (1971b, p. 19). Skinner's failure to ref-
published a programmed textbook erence this literature more fully would
(Holland & Skinner, 1961) that con- seemingly have hindered the field's ad-
tained many examples of application, vancement, but perhaps not. Perhaps
for instance, "Mr. X succeeds in co- he was working strategically. He may
ercing people into reinforcing him in have wanted to promote applied behav-
many different ways. Signs of submis- ior analysis as a process, and not have
siveness in others then become - it identified with specific practices (but
which increase the frequency of new see Walden Two, 1948d). He may also
forms of coercion, independent of the have wanted it to succeed as a function
particular deprivation" (p. 69). The an- of its own effectiveness, not through
swer: generalized reinforcers. One part his rule-governed advocacy of it.
of the text covered the "scientific anal-
ysis and the interpretation of complex AFTER JABA:
cases," one case being "a problem 1968-1990
in behavioral engineering"-animal In the founding of JABA, Skinner re-
training. Other parts covered self-con- portedly took a direct lead. As noted
trol, personality, and psychotherapy. by Laties (1987), the minutes of the
Here is a sample frame: "In addition April 6, 1967, meeting of the Society
to providing a nonpunishing audience, for the Experimental Analysis of Be-
the therapist may recommend changing havior, JEAB's publisher, contained the
jobs, getting a divorce, etc. He is at- following: "A discussion of a need for
tempting to - environmental contin- a journal with high scientific standards
gencies" (p. 329). The answer: change for publication of applications to be-
(manipulate, control, alter). havior modification was initiated by B.
F Skinner" (p. 505). When JABA was mensions. And, although he did not ex-
founded, Skinner was on its editorial plicitly address generality, it was a rea-
board and active in the review process. son for developing a technology of
After JABA's founding, Skinner teaching in the first place. Generality
amassed over 100 additional publica- was embedded in the very meaning
tions, most of them on applied topics. that education and teaching had for
He addressed (a) education, for in- him (see Skinner, 1968c).
stance, contingency management in the Skinner's contributions notwith-
classroom (Skinner, 1969, 1973c, standing, we do not conclude that he
1989b); (b) cognition, creativity, and was either the originator or founder of
language (Skinner, 1970, 1972c; for re- applied behavior analysis. First, when
lated research, see, e.g., Epstein et al., his published research analyzed behav-
1980, 1981); and (c) behavior therapy ior in the style of his science (e.g.,
and behavior modification (Skinner, schedules of reinforcement), the be-
1972d, 1988a). He devised self-man- havior he studied was not socially im-
agement systems (e.g., Skinner, 1981, portant or changes in it socially signif-
1983a; Skinner & Vaughan, 1983), one icant (e.g., rates of bar pressing). That
of them described in his only JABA ar- is, when his publications were behav-
ticle-"A Thinking Aid" (1987). And, ioral, analytic, technological, and con-
he advanced the role of behavior anal- ceptually systematic, they were not
ysis in the design of cultural practices also applied and effective. Second,
(e.g., 1973b, 1973d, 1976, 1985a), when his applications concerned so-
among them world peace (e.g., 1971 a, cially important behavior and its sig-
1985b), freedom and dignity (1971a, nificant change (e.g., education), the
1971b, 1972b), and ethics in develop- style of his science was not readily ap-
mental disabilities (1972a, 1973a, parent in his publications. That is, un-
1975, 1988b). like Ayllon and Wolf, when his re-
search was applied and effective, it
was not obviously also behavioral, an-
CONCLUSION alytic, or technological. In other words,
Skinner was not only the most emi- although Skinner addressed all seven
nent psychologist of the 20th century dimensions of applied behavior analy-
but also the most eminent behavior an- sis over the course of his career, he did
alyst of any century. He established a not address both the scientific and the
science of behavior, formulated its phi- social dimensions in any one published
losophy, and founded behavior analy- program of research such that he could
sis. In the process, he also contributed be called the field's originator. Nor, as
we have seen, did he systematically in-
fundamentally to advancing their ap- tegrate, advance, or promote these di-
plication. Evidence for the latter lies in mensions in the context of application
the five categories of his contributions, so as to be called the field's founder.
the breadth and depth of his extrapo- This conclusion is not, of course, de-
lations, extensions, and applications, finitive. By focusing on Skinner's pub-
and his inclusion of the seven dimen- lications, we have left gaps in the his-
sions of applied behavior analysis. As torical record. These need to be filled
for the last, his science was the basis through archival research, for instance,
for the field's behavioral, analytic, on his correspondence with and about
technological, and conceptually sys- the first applied behavior analysts (see
tematic dimensions. The first two were Elliott, 1996). The gaps might also be
among the field's "must be" dimen- filled through oral histories about Skin-
sions; the first three made it an empir- ner's influence on the first applied be-
ical science; all four made it system- havior analysts, which might have oc-
atic. In Walden Two (1948d), he curred through his encouragement of
brought two more dimensions into his their work during his service on asso-
work-the applied and effective di- ciation boards and committees or at re-
122 EDWARD K. MORRIS et al.

search meetings and professional con- havior analysis, applied behavior anal-
ferences (e.g., Laties, 2003; Mischel, ysis would not have emerged when it
2001). These influences notwithstand- did, in the form that it did, or perhaps
ing, Skinner's publications remain a be known by that name. What Skinner
standard basis for assessing his contri- provided was a style and content of a
butions and thus defensible as a basis science of behavior and its philosophy,
for our conclusion. some urging that they be applied, and
If Skinner did not originate or found likely the first applications. Through
applied behavior analysis, then we these contributions, his work was sem-
need to characterize his role different- inal to the field's founding.2
ly. For this, we draw on the distinction
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(pp. 73-77). New York: Holt, Rinehart &
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application in general, he did not ad- Ayllon, T., & Azrin, N. H. (1964). Reinforce-
vance or promote applied behavior ment and instructions with mental patients.
analysis as it emerged in the early Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Be-
work of Ayllon or Wolf or in JABA. havior, 7, 327-331.
Ayllon, T., & Azrin, N. H. (1965). The mea-
Second, he was not among those surement and reinforcement of behavior of
known as the first applied behavior an- psychotics. Journal of the Experimental Anal-
alysts, such that he could be senior ysis of Behavior, 8, 357-383.
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Ayllon, T., & Haughton, E. (1962). Control of
'Although the "founder-father" distinction the behavior of schizophrenic patients by
has sexist implications, we have used it for two food. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of
reasons. The first is simply that the distinction Behavior, 5, 343-352.
has precedence in the historiography of psy- Ayllon, T., & Haughton, E. (1964). Modifica-
chology for an era in which the field's founders tion of symptomatic verbal behaviour of men-
and parents were men (e.g., Fechner, Mueller,
Wundt; see Boring, 1927, 1929, 1951). Women
were generally excluded (Bryan & Boring, 2 If Skinner was the father of
applied behavior
1947; Scarborough & Furumoto, 1987). The analysis, we might ask who was its mother. She
second reason is that, in the 1950s and 1960s, was, we think, his partner in science: the behav-
the likely founders and parents of applied be- ior of organisms. Their union begot a style and
havior analysis-if there were any-were also content of science, technological inventions, be-
men (Laties, 1987; see Goodall, 1972; Kazdin, havioral interpretations of atypical behavior, im-
1978). An analysis of the role women played in plications for application, descriptions of appli-
the founding of applied behavior analysis, or be- cations, and actual applications that became ba-
havior analysis in general, awaits to be written. sis of applied behavior analysis.
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