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Science and Human Behavior

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,453 ratings  ·  27 reviews
The psychology classic—a detailed study of scientific theories of human nature and the possible ways in which human behavior can be predicted and controlled—from one of the most influential behaviorists of the twentieth century and the author of Walden Two.“This is an important book, exceptionally well written, and logically consistent with the basic premise of the unitary nature of science. Manycontrolled—from ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published March 1st 1965 by Free Press (first published December 1953)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  1,453 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Morgan Blackledge
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing

So I finally finished this thing.

It’s an amazingly brilliant book by an absolute genius visionary hero of science.


It was a GHASTLY experience of a read.

Not all together unpleasant.

But a real feat of endurance to complete.

Behaviorism has various levels of language (Bx-Speak).

Upper level Bx-Speak is the way behaviorism is communicated to laypeople. It’s easy to understand, but not very precise.

Mid level Bx-Spe
Sep 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book for school, but it's a topic that would interest me anyway. Some of Skinner's assertions are hard to swallow (goodbye free-will!), but examining and explaining behavior from a strictly scientific perspective makes so much sense.
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Dry and unceasingly mundane to the modern reader. Skinner attempts to use Pavlovian conditioning as a rationale to rid humanity of his pesky soul. We are but animals, gentle reader, no more in control of our actions than a pigeon pushing a button for a pellet of food. We are purely a byproduct of our environment and our perceived individuality is but a trick of the eye, dear friend. Free-will, punishment, law, and even reward would of course need to get chucked out too, but we'll surely not miss ...more
Dec 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
In order to get Walden Two published, B.F. Skinner had to agree to write an introductory text as part of the deal, and the result was Science and Human Behavior. Since he wrote the text, an empirical science of human behavior has developed, supplementing Skinner's conceptual analysis in this book. Skinner's later chapters, in which he analyzes economic, social, religious, and governmental agencies remain illustrative of how his concepts can be applied to understand complex human behavior, leading to insight ...more
Bess Tamton
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of my "work" favorites.
Meghan Fidler
Oct 20, 2011 rated it liked it
Reinforcements do shape behavior... But not enough to explain away human thought, music, and art. Ignore the dogmatic extensions of the theory and one will find a wealth of potential.
Robert Crow
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fundamentally important book for learning about the science of behavior and its general applications, for example, to Law, Government, Education and Culture. The early portion of the book describes the principles of behavior science as they were known in the 1940-50s, so somewhat dated. The latter chapters offer eye-opening ideas about how centrally important institutions can be understood and improved by constructively using principles o behavior science.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it did not like it
Along with Pavlov and Maslow, Skinner sought to quantify human behavior in order to implement behavior modification in our education system and society. We are all just programmable animals who can be trained. Truly horrifying misapplication of the scientific method that has permeated every level of our education system.
Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Review in progress:
! Only listened to half of the book !

It is a very comprehensive book. It is not for leasurley reading.
If you are determined to read the book, may it be a part of your studying process or a 100% dedication to it when you read it.

Very cut and dry with scientific jargon, but it does explain what it sets out to.
Ernest L. HIckman, Jr.
He repeats himself after awhile but still a great contribution to psychology

You can read parts 1 & 2 input after that he tends to repeat himself, but that does not mean he did not contribute. Behaviorism is one of the stepping stones to understanding human psychology
Hossein Jamshidifarsani
Excruciatingly boring.
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Scritto meno bene di quanto sperassi.
Eduardo Banharoto
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Outro livro que mudou a minha vida. Sério, esse provavelmente é um dos livros mais importantes para mim. Mudou a forma como eu vejo a ciência, as pessoas e até a eu mesmo.

Apesar de ser um livro extremamente difícil de ler, ele apresenta uma base muito sólida para o entendimento do comportamento humano.

Demorei uns 2 ou 3 anos para entender tudo o que tem nesse livro, então sugiro paciência e persistência. Mas, talvez isso tenha acontecido porque comecei a ler ele com 15 anos de idade
Sehar  Moughal
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wish-list
I love Skinner's writing however this book is not for the faint hearted - you need to know the basics of behaviourism before embarking on this adventure. The text is scientific, the thoughts in their crudest form. Skinner (very successfully) applied the science of behaviourism in his own life until the end of days...and that's what makes this book even more worthy of a read!
Brad Kotz
Dec 06, 2011 rated it liked it
A classic erudition by the master of this school of psychological theory. While behaviorism is a valuable lens by which we can understand human nature, one still feels that the downright complexity of what it means to be human is likely best described by the universal wisdom gained from all of the psychological schools of thought.
Apr 20, 2015 marked it as to-keep-reference
Shelves: psique
Citado en el artículo de M. Vansteenkiste, R. M. Ryan, y E. L. Deci de Capabilities and Happiness.
Idris Slimani
Jul 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Didn't read that much about this subject and I think this book can give you a good coverage and a rich answer about the complexity of human behavior
Mar 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: politics, school
This book was actually pretty amusing, in a dated, 1950s, behaviourlism kind of a way.
Shenandoah Smith
Jan 21, 2014 rated it liked it
bla the book was okay I give it a 3 out of five.. The book had a good flow but was not that interesting I was referred to this book by a friend.
Nov 16, 2009 rated it liked it
A little dry but earthshaking in it's rejection of little animiculi running
about in our minds. Why does everyone do everything they do.
Feb 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of my two favorites of Skinner's work...the other being Technology of Teaching. This is a great book.
Jul 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Review saved for later date. But this is a 5 star. In and out. Read it & form your own opinion, I mean will it be your opinion or will it be reinforced by my 5 star? ;) Go ahead and find out.
Nathan Dilgard
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very thorough and fascinating read.
May 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people
What's nice about this book is that it's like literary science. dense in parts but he lightens it up with a little Tolstoy or Miller or whatever from time to time cuz he's a novelist too.
Adam Wilmer
Sep 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Another good study on why human's are bass-akwards.
Val Saini
rated it it was amazing
Jul 22, 2019
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Burrhus Frederic Skinner was a highly influential American psychologist, author, inventor, advocate for social reform and poet. He was the Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University from 1958 until his retirement in 1974. He invented the operant conditioning chamber, innovated his own philosophy of science called Radical Behaviorism, and founded his own school of experimental resea ...more
“Severe punishment unquestionably has an immediate effect in reducing a tendency to act in a given way. This result is no doubt responsible for its widespread use. We 'instinctively' attack anyone whose behavior displeases us - perhaps not in physical assault, but with criticism, disapproval, blame, or ridicule. Whether or not there is an inherited tendency to do this, the immediate effect of the practice is reinforcing enough to explain its currency. In the long run, however, punishment does not actually eliminate behavior from a repertoire, and its temporary achievement is obtained at tremendous cost in reducing the over-all efficiency and happiness of the group. (p. 190)” 10 likes
“The most effective alternative process [to punishment] is probably extinction. This takes time but is much more rapid than allowing the response to be forgotten. The technique seems to be relatively free of objectionable by-products. We recommend it, for example when we suggest that a parent 'pay no attention' to objectionable behavior on the part of his child. If the child's behavior is strong only because it has been reinforced by 'getting a rise out of' the parent, it will disappear when this consequence is no longer forthcoming. (p. 192)” 7 likes
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