Skinner, B. F.
- Laurence D. Smith
Skinner, B. F. (20 March 1904–18 August 1990), psychologist, was born Burrhus Frederic Skinner in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, the son of William Arthur Skinner, an attorney, and Grace Madge Burrhus. He developed an early interest in literature and displayed a knack for constructing mechanical toys and gadgets. As a teenager, he read extensively in the works of Francis Bacon and Charles Darwin, two figures who greatly influenced his later thought. Majoring in English language and literature at Hamilton College, in Clinton, New York (1922–1926), he wrote for the campus literary magazine, studied biology, and engaged in collegiate pranks. During his senior year, an encouraging letter from ...