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B.F. Skinner Collection

The B.F. Skinner Collection was donated to the HFA in 2008 by the B.F. Skinner Foundation.  B.F. Skinner (1904-1990) was a revolutionary and highly influential behavioral psychologist who graduated from and later taught at Harvard University. His primary philosophical innovation was "radical behaviorism," the analysis of behavior—including thoughts and feelings—and the environmental factors influencing it as the key to a being's psychology. His experiments and innovations in the field of psychology are still studied and debated today. In popular culture, he may be most famous for his operant conditioning chamber or "Skinner Box" which he invented while a graduate student at Harvard to study animal behavior and conditioning under different circumstances.

During WWII, Skinner worked for the military on a covert project to use pigeons to guide missiles. Although his experiments were successful, another invention—radar—eventually put his work to rest. He made films of the pigeon experiments, and these Project Pigeon films are now part of the HFA collection.

This collection has been catalogued in HOLLIS.

More information on B.F. Skinner can be found on the Skinner Foundation website.

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