skinner-box

Skinner box

noun Psychology.
a box used in experiments in animal learning, especially in operant conditioning, equipped with a mechanism that automatically gives the animal food or other reward or permits escape, as by opening a door.

Origin:
1940–45; named after B. F. Skinner

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World English Dictionary
Skinner box
 
n
a device for studying the learning behaviour of animals, esp rats and pigeons, consisting of a box in which the animal can move a lever to obtain a reward, such as a food pellet, or a punishment, such as an electric shock
 
[C20: named after B. F. Skinner]

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Word Origin & History

Skinner box
1940 (earlier Skinner apparatus, 1938), from U.S. psychologist B.F. Skinner (1904-1990).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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