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Siegel, P.F. (1996). The Meaning of Behaviorism for B. F. Skinner. Psychoanal. Psychol., 13(3):343-365.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 13(3):343-365

The Meaning of Behaviorism for B. F. Skinner

Paul F. Siegel

A psychobiography of B. F. Skinner's early life was derived from a close reading of the first volume of his 1976 autobiography, Particulars of My Life. The study resonates to the concerns raised by Atwood and Tomkins (1976) regarding the importance of subjectivity in the creation of personality theory, seeking the connection between Skinner's life and work. In making insights into how Skinner translated his experiences into the text, Tomkins's (1979, 1987) “script theory” was employed, which posits that individuals organize their experiences as abstract, if–then, ideo-affective directives. Skinner's narrative demonstrates that behaviorism was a defense system that allowed him to come to grips with repeated episodes of failure, particularly as a creative writer after college.

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