He has one experiment that is more famous than the others, and that’s his examination of superstition in the pigeon. However, his early experiments led to his philosophy of behaviorism and the creation of the idea of operant conditioning, and both ideas are much more influential than any of his experiments.
Here’s a good summation of that pigeon experiment:
One of Skinner’s most famous and interesting experiments examined the formation of superstition in one of his favorite experimental animals, the pigeon. Skinner placed a series of hungry pigeons in a cage attached to an automatic mechanism that delivered food to the pigeon “at regular intervals with no reference whatsoever to the bird’s behavior”. He discovered that the pigeons associated the delivery of the food with whatever chance actions they had been performing as it was delivered, and that they continued to perform the same actions:
Skinner suggested that the pigeons believed that they were influencing the automatic mechanism with their “rituals” and that the experiment also shed light on human behavior:
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