B.F. Skinner是一位行为主义者，这意味着他认为心理学应该局限于对可观察行为的研究。虽然其他行为主义者，如John B. Watson，专注于经典条件反射，但Skinner对通过操作性条件反射而发生的学习更感兴趣。他观察到，在经典条件反应中，反应倾向于由自动发生的先天反应引发。他称这种行为是受访者。他将受访者的行为与操作行为区分开来。操作者行为是Skinner用来描述一种行为的术语，后者的后果会强化这种行为。这些后果在是否再次执行行为方面发挥着重要作用。斯金纳的观点基于爱德华桑代克的效力定律，该定律表明引发积极后果的行为可能会重复，而引发负面后果的行为可能不会重演。斯金纳将强化的概念引入桑代克的思想中，指出强化的行为可能会重复（或加强）。为了研究操作性条件反射，Skinner使用“Skinner Box”进行了实验，这是一个小盒子，一端有一个杠杆，可以在按下时提供食物或水。将一只像鸽子或老鼠一样的动物放在盒子里，它可以随意移动。最终动物会按下杠杆并获得奖励。斯金纳发现这个过程导致动物更频繁地按压杠杆。当这些反应得到加强时，Skinner会通过跟踪动物反应的速度来衡量学习。通过他的实验，斯金纳确定了鼓励或阻止行为的各种强化和惩罚。紧密遵循行为的强化将鼓励和加强这种行为。有两种类型的强化：当行为导致有利的结果时发生正强化，例如，一只狗在服从命令后接受治疗，或者一名学生在课堂上表现良好后接受老师的称赞。这些技术增加了个体重复所需行为以再次获得奖励的可能性。当行为导致消除不利体验时发生负面强化，例如，当猴子按下某个杠杆时，实验者不再给猴子电击。在这种情况下，杠杆按压行为得到加强，因为猴子将想要再次消除不利的电击。 此外，Skinner还发现了两种不同的强化物。初级增强物自然地增强了行为，因为它们是天生所希望的，例如，餐饮。条件强化物强化行为不是因为它们天生就是理想的，而是因为我们学会将它们与初级强化物联系起来。例如，纸币并不是天生所希望的，但它可以用来获取天生所需的商品，例如食物和住所。惩罚与强化相反。当惩罚遵循行为时，它会阻止和削弱这种行为。惩罚有两种。当行为之后出现不利后果时，就会发生积极的惩罚（或应用惩罚）。父母在孩子使用诅咒词后打屁股。 当一种行为导致有利的东西被移除时，就会发生消极惩罚（或通过移除来惩罚）。由于孩子行为不端，父母否认孩子每周津贴。虽然惩罚仍然被广泛使用，但Skinner和许多其他研究人员发现惩罚并不总是有效。惩罚可以抑制一段时间的行为，但从长远来看，不受欢迎的行为往往会回来。惩罚也可能产生不必要的副作用。例如，受到教师惩罚的孩子可能变得不确定和害怕，因为他们不知道该做些什么来避免将来的惩罚。斯金纳和其他人没有惩罚，而是建议强化理想的行为并忽视不受欢迎的行为。强化告诉个人需要什么样的行为，而惩罚只告诉个人不希望的行为。
B.F. Skinner is a behaviorist, which means he believes that psychology should be limited to the study of observable behavior. While other behaviorists, such as John B. Watson, focus on classical conditioning, Skinner is more interested in learning that occurs through operational conditioning. He observed that in classical conditional reactions, the reaction tends to be triggered by an innate response that occurs automatically. He called this behavior a respondent. He distinguishes the behavior of the respondent from the operational behavior. Operator behavior is a term that Skinner uses to describe a behavior, and the consequences of the latter reinforce it. These consequences play an important role in re-executing behavior. Skinner’s point of view is based on Edward Sandeck’s law of validity, which suggests that behaviors that trigger positive consequences may be repeated, and actions that cause negative consequences may not repeat itself. Skinner introduced the enhanced concept into Sandyk’s thinking, pointing out that the enhanced behavior may be repeated (or strengthened). To study operational conditioning, Skinner experimented with the Skinner Box, a small box with a lever on one end that provides food or water when pressed. Put an animal like a dove or a mouse in a box and move it freely. Eventually the animal will press the lever and get a reward. Skinner found that this process caused the animals to press the lever more frequently. When these reactions are strengthened, Skinner measures learning by tracking the speed of the animal’s response. Through his experiments, Skinner identified various enhancements and penalties that encourage or prevent behavior. Close adherence to behavioral reinforcement will encourage and strengthen this behavior. There are two types of enhancements: positive reinforcement occurs when behavior leads to favorable outcomes, for example, a dog is treated after obeying a command, or a student is praised by a teacher after performing well in class. These techniques increase the likelihood that an individual will repeat the desired behavior to regain the reward. Negative reinforcement occurs when behavior leads to the elimination of adverse experiences. For example, when a monkey presses a lever, the experimenter no longer shocks the monkey. In this case, the lever press behavior is enhanced because the monkey will want to eliminate the adverse electric shock again. In addition, Skinner also discovered two different reinforcements. Primary reinforcements naturally enhance behavior because they are inherently desirable, for example, dining. Conditional reinforcements strengthen behavior not because they are natural, but because we learn to relate them to primary reinforcements. For example, banknotes are not inherently desirable, but they can be used to obtain goods that are naturally needed, such as food and shelter. Punishment is the opposite of reinforcement. When punishment follows behavior, it prevents and weakens this behavior. There are two kinds of punishment. Positive punishment (or punishment) occurs when there are adverse consequences after the behavior. Parents spank after the child uses the curse. Negative punishment (or punishment by removal) occurs when an action causes a favorable thing to be removed. Parents denied the child’s weekly allowance because of misconduct. Although punishment is still widely used, Skinner and many other researchers have found that punishment is not always effective. Punishment can inhibit behavior for a period of time, but in the long run, unwelcome behavior tends to come back. Punishment can also have unwanted side effects. For example, children who are punished by teachers may become uncertain and scared because they don’t know what to do to avoid future punishment. Skinner and others did not punish, but suggested strengthening the ideal behavior and ignoring unwelcome behavior. Strengthening tells individuals what kind of behavior they need, and punishment only tells individuals what they don’t want.