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Palgrave Macmillan

Burrhus F. Skinner

The Shaping of Behaviour

ISBN 9780230218666
Publication Date October 2009
Formats Paperback Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Mind Shapers

As the world faces up to the challenges of climate change and the threat to security, Skinner's contributions on these issues continue to resonate today. In this stimulating introduction for students and general readers, Toates places Skinner's ideas within the context of mainstream psychological thought, presenting a balanced synthesis of the psychologist's work and his approach. The author reveals the links between Skinner's perspective and other branches of psychology, highlighting his solutions to problems at individual, society and global levels.

FREDERICK TOATES is Professor of Biological Psychology at the Open University. In addition to publishing widely in peer-reviewed journals, Fred has contributed materials to several Open University course texts and is also author of  Biological Psychology (Pearson Education).

Who was B.F. Skinner?
Biography, Background and Impact
Looking at the Evidence
Linking Skinner to Other Perspectives on Behaviour
The Relationship with Biology
Determinism, Freedom and Autonomy
Skinnerian Advice for Living Life
Social Policy
Development and Education
Helping to Ease Human Suffering
Ethics, Religion and the Skinnerian Good Life
The Environment and a Sustainable Future


'This is a remarkably thoughtful and illuminating account of this major figure in psychology. From the direct formation of radical behaviorism to the opposing emergence of cognitive psychology as a reaction, Skinner's views had enormous impact on psychology in the 20th century. In Toates' sympathetic hands this unique life and career comes alive, together with implications for larger themes that persist today.' - Kent Berridge, Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan, USA
'Fred Toates offers a well-written exposition of the various controversies and contributions of B.F. Skinner arguing that Skinner's influence is comparable to that of Copernicus and Darwin. Even after his death, Skinner's writings and ideas challenge the dominant paradigm, and continue to offer important insights into the psychological basis and potential solutions for environmental and societal ills.' - Susan M. Koger, Professor of Psychology, Willamette University, USA, and co-author of The Psychology of Environmental Problems
'I especially enjoyed Toates's discussion of aspects of Skinner that are usually ignored, such as religion and international relations. The book is an interesting and very readable mixture of theoretical discussions, biographical details, and examples of the application of Skinner's methods... I recommend this book to anyone who wants, in an accessible and sometimes entertaining way, to learn about some of the best ideas any psychologist has had about how we might move towards more sustainable and peaceful living. Philosophical and theoretical discussions of Skinner's legacy will continue, but the practical value of his work is undeniable and this book presents his views in a way that is open to everyone.' - John Scull, PhD
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