Opening Skinner's Box: Great Psychology Experiments of the Twentieth Century

Opening Skinner's Box: Great Psychological Experiments of the Twentieth Century, is a book by Lauren Slater.

In this book Slater sets out in a time machine to travel back in time and investigate the twentieth century through a series of fascinating, witty and sometimes shocking accounts of its key psychological experiments. Beginning with the behaviourist B. F. Skinner, she describes his work with animals in the 1930s, in which he demonstrated the power of rewards and reinforcements to shape behaviour, and probes the truth behind the legend of the child raised in a box.

Experiments covered

  • The work and experiments of B F Skinner
  • Stanley Milgram's controversial 1950s experiment designed to explain obedience to authority to a post-Holocaust world.
  • David Rosenhan's disturbing 1970s experiment that questioned the validity of psychiatric diagnosis itself.
  • Darley and Latane's helping behavior studies
  • Leon Festinger's theory of Cognitive dissonance among cult members whose apocalypse fails to arrive
  • Rat Park, a study into drug addiction conducted in the late 1970s, by Canadian psychologist Bruce K. Alexander, that aimed to show that drugs do not cause addiction, and that the apparent addiction to opiate drugs commonly observed in laboratory rats exposed to it is attributable to their living conditions, and not to any addictive property of the drug itself.
  • The Misinformation effect discovered by Elizabeth Loftus which has given rise to the Lost in the mall technique.
  • Harry Harlow, an American psychologist best known for his maternal-separation and social isolation experiments on rhesus monkeys, which demonstrated the importance of care-giving and companionship in social and cognitive development.
  • António Egas Moniz and his development of lobotomy.
  • Eric Kandel who discovered that CREB was identified as being a protein involved in long-term memory storage. One result of CREB activation is an increase in the number of synaptic connections. Thus, short-term memory had been linked to functional changes in existing synapses, while long-term memory was associated with a change in the number of synaptic connections.

Controversy

B F Skinner's daughter Deborah criticised the book stating she was not a lab rat in an article for the Guardian [1]


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  • Lauren Slater — (born March 21, 1963) is an American psychologist and writer. She is the author of six books, including Welcome To My Country (1996), Prozac Diary (1998), and Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir (2000). Her 2004 Opening Skinner s Box: Great… …   Wikipedia

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