- 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 of Skinner box
First recorded in 1940–45; named after B. F. Skinner
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- 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
Word Origin and History for skinner box
1940 (earlier Skinner apparatus, 1938), from U.S. psychologist B.F. Skinner (1904-1990).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper