Dr. Jay Moore – Conceptual issues in a science of behavior from Watson to Skinner
1.0 Type 2 CE Credit: John B. Watson was born in rural South Carolina in 1878. He held faculty positions at the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins, delivered his behaviorist manifesto at Columbia University in 1913, carried out a controversial fear conditioning project with Little Albert B. in 1919-1920, but was obliged to resign from academia in 1920, owing to personal circumstances. He then became a successful executive in the advertising business. He was married twice, the first ending in divorce and the second with the death of his wife, Rosalie, in 1936. He died in 1958. B. F. Skinner never met Watson, although Skinner read many of Watsons books and Watson influenced the development of Skinners behaviorism in many ways. One important difference between the two is that Watson recognized only control by antecedents, whereas Skinner recognized selection by consequences. Two common statements about Watsons behaviorism are that it subscribed to methodological behaviorism and an extreme environmentalism. This presentation suggests that Watsons behaviorism is more accurately described as espousing an anti-mentalism and a social activism.
Keywords: J. B. Watson, B. F. Skinner, methodological behaviorism, extreme environmentalism
Author note: Correspondence concerning this presentation should be addressed to the author at the Dept of Psychology; UW-Milwaukee; Milwaukee, WI 53201; email: email@example.com.