Magazine – The Perfected Self – The Atlantic

This following incident from the article I found quite amusing! But it’s also remarkably interesting how a class at Harvard was quite convinced that B. F. Skinner had daughters who had been tormented to the point of institutionalization. Even though one of his daughters was in that very class.


“WHEN Julie Vargas was a student in a graduate psychology class, her professor introduced the topic of B. F. Skinner, the Harvard psychologist who, in the late 1930s, had developed a theory of “operant conditioning.” After the professor explained the evidently distasteful, outmoded process that became more popularly known as behavior modification, Vargas’s classmates began discussing the common knowledge that Skinner had used the harsh techniques on his daughter, leaving her mentally disturbed and institutionalized. Vargas raised her hand and stated that Skinner in fact had had two daughters, and that both were living perfectly normal lives. “I didn’t see any need to embarrass them by mentioning that I was one of those daughters,” she says.”


While there are some things things in this article I am not confident about, the claim of the effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous for instance, there’s much to ponder regarding the use of smart phones in helping change behavior. It’s a potentially life changing implementation of technology and that’s something that is inherently worth learning about!


via Magazine – The Perfected Self – The Atlantic.

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