- Describe some of the experiments of the early behaviorists, such as Edward Thorndike, Edward Tolman, and Edwin Guthrie. What did their experiments have in common? [Refer to the video on Tolman and Thorndike’s “Puzzle Box.”]
- What is Thorndike’s “Law of Effect” and why is it at the heart of all behaviorist psychology?
- Try to find a copy of the intelligence test that Thorndike devised…the CAVD (Completion, Arithmetic, Vocabulary, and Directions test). Try taking the test yourself. What do you think of it? Do you think it can accurately measure intelligence? What criticism do you have of it?
- Describe B.F. Skinner’s “Skinner box” and tell what findings it revealed. [Refer to the video of B.F. Skinner.]
- How did B.F. Skinner’s research results lead him to make recommendations about teaching methods in schools? What sorts of teaching programs did this lead to? What was their relation to the later development of self-study computer programs?
- What was B.F. Skinner’s “Project Pigeon”? Do you think he was serious in developing this system or was he playing a joke on the military? What do you think about the ethics of using animals in the military, such as dolphins for mine detection work or rats to locate landmines in mine fields? [Refer to the videos about animals used for military purposes.] What principles of behaviorism do you think go into the training of these animals for their work.
It’s not necessary to watch these videos in their entirety, but I think you’ll find them highly interesting and some of them will help you answer the questions more fully.