B. F. Skinner is Professor of Psychology and Social Relations Emeritus at Harvard University, USA. He presented a version of this paper as the Distinguished Visitor's address to the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society, University of Swansea, March 1985.
Cognitive science and behaviourism
Article first published online: 13 APR 2011
1985 The British Psychological Society
British Journal of Psychology
Volume 76, Issue 3, pages 291–301, August 1985
How to Cite
Skinner, B. F. (1985), Cognitive science and behaviourism. British Journal of Psychology, 76: 291–301. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8295.1985.tb01953.x
- Issue published online: 13 APR 2011
- Article first published online: 13 APR 2011
- Cited By
In this paper it is argued that cognitive scientists, claiming the support of brain science and computer simulation, have revived a traditional view that behaviour is initiated by an internal, autonomous mind. In doing so, they have (1) misused the metaphor of storage and retrieval, (2) given neurology a misleading assignment, (3) frequently replaced controlled experimental conditions with mere descriptions of conditions and the assessment of behaviour with statements of expectations and intentions, (4) given feelings and states of mind the status of causes of behaviour rather than the products of the causes, and (5) failed to define many key terms in dimensions acceptable to science.