B. F. Skinner

1904 - 1990

Photo of B. F. Skinner

Icon of person B. F. Skinner

Burrhus Frederic Skinner (March 20, 1904 – August 18, 1990) was an American psychologist, behaviorist, author, inventor, and social philosopher. He was a professor of psychology at Harvard University from 1958 until his retirement in 1974.Considering free will to be an illusion, Skinner saw human action as dependent on consequences of previous actions, a theory he would articulate as the principle of reinforcement: If the consequences to an action are bad, there is a high chance the action will not be repeated; if the consequences are good, the probability of the action being repeated becomes stronger.Skinner developed behavior analysis, especially the philosophy of radical behaviorism, and founded the experimental analysis of behavior, a school of experimental research psychology. He also used operant conditioning to strengthen behavior, considering the rate of response to be the most effective measure of response strength. Read more on Wikipedia

Since 2007, the English Wikipedia page of B. F. Skinner has received more than 4,203,572 page views. His biography is available in 59 different languages on Wikipedia (up from 57 in 2019). B. F. Skinner is the 21st most popular psychologist (down from 16th in 2019), the 203rd most popular biography from United States (down from 193rd in 2019) and the 7th most popular American Psychologist.

B. F. Skinner is most famous for his operant conditioning, which is a type of behaviorism. This theory is based on the idea that behavior is shaped by its consequences.

Memorability Metrics

  • 4.2M

    Page Views (PV)

  • 78.26

    Historical Popularity Index (HPI)

  • 59

    Languages Editions (L)

  • 8.20

    Effective Languages (L*)

  • 3.74

    Coefficient of Variation (CV)

Page views of B. F. Skinners by language


Among psychologists, B. F. Skinner ranks 21 out of 182Before him are Gustave Le Bon, Anna Freud, John B. Watson, Albert Bandura, Edward Thorndike, and Kurt Lewin. After him are Lawrence Kohlberg, Wilhelm Reich, Melanie Klein, Daniel Kahneman, Gustav Fechner, and Hermann Ebbinghaus.

Most Popular Psychologists in Wikipedia

Go to all Rankings


Among people born in 1904, B. F. Skinner ranks 7Before him are Salvador Dalí, Deng Xiaoping, Pablo Neruda, Reinhard Heydrich, Dr. Seuss, and Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia. After him are Umberto II of Italy, Cary Grant, Johnny Weissmuller, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Jean Gabin, and Graham Greene. Among people deceased in 1990, B. F. Skinner ranks 5Before him are Rajneesh, Greta Garbo, Lev Yashin, and Roald Dahl. After him are Louis Althusser, Ava Gardner, Leonard Bernstein, Alberto Moravia, Norbert Elias, Sarah Vaughan, and Friedrich Dürrenmatt.

Others Born in 1904

Go to all Rankings

Others Deceased in 1990

Go to all Rankings

In United States

Among people born in United States, B. F. Skinner ranks 203 out of 15,968Before him are Tom Cruise (1962), George Lucas (1944), Orson Welles (1915), Denzel Washington (1954), Samuel L. Jackson (1948), and Emily Dickinson (1830). After him are Thomas Hunt Morgan (1866), John Adams (1735), Louis Sullivan (1856), Frank Zappa (1940), George Marshall (1880), and Ronnie James Dio (1942).

Among PSYCHOLOGISTS In United States

Among psychologists born in United States, B. F. Skinner ranks 7Before him are Abraham Maslow (1908), John Dewey (1859), William James (1842), Carl Rogers (1902), John B. Watson (1878), and Edward Thorndike (1874). After him are Lawrence Kohlberg (1927), Irvin D. Yalom (1931), Paul Ekman (1934), Gordon Allport (1897), Jerome Bruner (1915), and Alfred Kinsey (1894).