B. F. Skinner, an American behavioral psychologist, is known for his many contributions to learning theory. His Behavior of Organisms (1938) reports his experiments with the study of reflexes. Walden Two (1949), a utopian novel, describes a planned community in which positive rather than negative reinforcers serve to maintain appropriate behavior; the novel stimulated the founding of some experimental communities. In Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971), Skinner attempted to show that only what he called a technology of behavior could save democracy from the many individual and social problems that plague it. (An early example of this technology is the so-called Skinner box for conditioning a human child.) A teacher at Harvard University from 1948 until his retirement, Skinner was for some the model of the objective scientist, for others the epitome of the heartless behaviorist who would turn people into automatons.
The various influences on the individual are carefully examined, with theoretical approaches from different standpoints considered in relation to one another, from the development of the personality and behaviour patterns to the effect of family and social life, culminating in the picture of a ‘whole’, responsive person. Relationships are seen to be important, and this is reflected in the selection of material. Ford argues that it is the social worker’s role to offer guidance relating to the nature and quality of an individual’s interaction with society, and that this can be done more effectively if there is a practical understanding of how this interaction evolves. Examples of social work practice are given throughout to show how such understandings may be used.
The skills detailed in the book will help readers to observe people in their contexts and to analyze what they observe, in order to make better sense of why people do what they do, say what they say, and think what they think. These methods can also be applied to our own thoughts, talk and actions - not as something we control from ‘within’ but as events constantly being shaped by the idiosyncratic social, cultural, economic and other contexts in which our lives are immersed.
Whether teaching, studying, or reading for pleasure, this book will help readers learn:
How to think about people with ecological or contextual thinking
How your thinking is a conversation with other people
How to analyze talk and conversations as social strategies
How capitalist economies change how you act, talk and think in 25 ways
How living in modern society can be linked to generalized anxiety and depression
How to Rethink Human Behavioris important interdisciplinary reading for students and researchers in all fields of social science, and will especially appeal to those interested in mental health. It has also been written for the general reading public who enjoy exploring new ideas and skills in understanding themselves and other people.
What if there were a way to prevent criminal behavior, mental illness, drug abuse, poverty, and violence? Written by behavioral scientist Tony Biglan, and based on his ongoing research at the Oregon Research Institute, The Nurture Effect offers evidence-based interventions that can prevent many of the psychological and behavioral problems that plague our society.
For decades, behavioral scientists have investigated the role our environment plays in shaping who we are, and their research shows that we now have the power within our own hands to reduce violence, improve cognitive development in our children, increase levels of education and income, and even prevent future criminal behaviors. By cultivating a positive environment in all aspects of society—from the home, to the classroom, and beyond—we can ensure that young people arrive at adulthood with the skills, interests, assets, and habits needed to live healthy, happy, and productive lives.
The Nurture Effect details over forty years of research in the behavioral sciences, as well as the author’s own research. Biglan illustrates how his findings lay the framework for a model of societal change that has the potential to reverberate through all environments within society.