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Skinner, Burrhus Frederic

Burrhus Frederic (B. F.) Skinner discovered how the interplay between individual actions and their consequences affects future behavior. With precision unknown before, he documented the major factors responsible for changing and maintaining behavior, providing a science that underpins all of education. After 20 years of laboratory work, he entered the field of education directly, applying his analysis of verbal behavior to instruction. The impact of his work still reverberates throughout education. Behavioral objectives, mastery criteria, functional assessment, and the emphasis on reinforcement all have roots in his work in the 1950s and 1960s but have become so commonplace that their origins are no longer noted. In addition, Skinner's analysis of verbal behavior at the beginning of the 21st century has made dramatic improvements ...

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