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Beyond the Box: B.F. Skinner's Technology of Behaviour from Laboratory to Life, 1950s-1970s [Paperback]

Alexandra Rutherford
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

May 9 2009

B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) is one of the most famous and influential figures in twentieth century psychology. A best-selling author, inventor, and social commentator, Skinner was both a renowned scientist and a public intellectual known for his controversial theories of human behavior. Beyond the Box is the first full-length study of the ways in which Skinner's ideas left the laboratory to become part of the post-war public's everyday lives, and chronicles both the enthusiasm and caution with which this process was received.

Using selected case studies, Alexandra Rutherford provides a fascinating account of Skinner and his acolytes' attempts to weave their technology of human behavior into the politically turbulent fabric of 1950s-70s American life. To detail their innovative methods, Rutherford uses extensive archival materials and interviews to study the Skinnerians' creation of human behavior laboratories, management programs for juvenile delinquents, psychiatric wards, and prisons, as well as their influence on the self-help industry with popular books on how to quit smoking, lose weight, and be more assertive.

A remarkable look at a post-war scientific and technological revolution, Beyond the Box is a rewarding study of how behavioral theories met real-life problems, and the ways in which Skinner and his followers continue to influence the present.


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Review

'No previous book on B.F. Skinner provides—or even attempts—such systematic coverage and in-depth historical research on Skinnerian technology as Beyond the Box. It will appeal to the educated public and historians of psychology, science, and American culture. I expect that it will be widely read and cited for years to come.' (Laurence D. Smith, Department of Psychology, University of Maine)

About the Author

Alexandra Rutherford is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at York University.


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating account Nov. 26 2010
Format:Paperback
This is a well-written book that fills an important gap in the literature. There have been several books written on Skinner and behaviourism but these tend to be weak on the Skinnerian legacy. Alexandra Rutherford explains carefully the (in my view irrational) opposition that Skinnerian methods encountered. If you ever wondered why something so obviously appropriate to the human condition and easing human suffering as behaviour modification has not received wider recognition and application, you could do no better than to read this book.
Frederick Toates
Professor of Psychology, The Open University, England.
Author of `Burrhus F. Skinner' (2009)
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very interesting account Nov. 26 2010
By Frederick M. Toates - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a well-written book that fills an important gap in the literature. There have been several books written on Skinner and behaviourism but these tend to be weak on the Skinnerian legacy. Alexandra Rutherford explains carefully the (in my view irrational) opposition that Skinnerian methods encountered. If you ever wondered why something so obviously appropriate to the human condition and easing human suffering as behaviour modification has not received wider recognition and application, you could do no better than to read this book.
Frederick Toates
Professor of Psychology, The Open University, England.
Author of `Burrhus F. Skinner' (2009)
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for a Reference Dec 24 2013
By SMFC - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I used this book in preparing a college paper and presentation on Skinner. This covers Skinner and how he developed as a person as well as a theorist.
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