behavioranalysishistory / 1940s
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Areas of Research

The use of pigeons to guide missiles (Project Pigeon and ORCON)


Selected Historical Publications


Keller, F. S. (1986). A fire in Schermerhorn extension. The Behavior Analyst, 9, 139-146.  This journal article is a history of Fred Keller's introduction to behavior analysis, and the beginning of his lifelong friendship with B.F. Skinner, while Keller was a professor at Columbia University. The article actually covers the period from 1935 to 1965, and includes a fair amount of the early history of behavior analysis as a field, but much of the emphasis is on the developments in the late 1930's and throughout the 1940's. (available online here)


Skinner, B. F. (1972). Pigeons in a Pelican. In Cumulative record: A selection of papers (3rd edition). New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts. (Originally published in American Psychologist, 15(1), 28-37)


Sidman, M. (1989). Avoidance at Columbia. The Behavior Analyst, 12, 191-195


Sidman, M. (2002). Notes from the beginning of time. The Behavior Analyst, 25, 3-13



Walden Two (1948); a fictional tale about a world in which families live more care free and happy because the environments that the children grow up in are designed in accordance with behavioral principles.



B.F. Skinner

Charles Ferster

Fred Keller

James  A. Dinsmoor(Columbia University)

Joe Antonitis

Joe Brady

Nat Schoenfeld

Ralph Hefferline

W. Winnick

William Morse 


Additional Information

1940s - from Mechner and Sidman interviews