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Russia, 1961

  • B. F. Skinner


B.F. Skinner's original introductory note on page 1 of the document.

In May, 1961, a delegation of behavioral scientists visited Russia, Czechoslovakia, and Poland under sponsorship of the National Academy of Sciences and the State Department. The members were:Professor and Mrs. Donald G. Marquis, Professor Robert K. Merton, Professor and Mrs. James G. Miller, Professor and Mrs.George P.Murdock, Dr. and Mrs. Francis H. Palmer, Professor Anatol Rapoport, Dr. Henry W. Riecken, Professor and Mrs. B. F. Skinner, Dr. and Mrs. Ralph W. Tyler, Dr. Raymond W. Waggoner. The following comments were made whenever convenient on a portable dictating machine. My wife was often present as I dictated, and contributed details. A few changes have been made to put material in order, and in some cases forgetful repetitions have been deleted. Otherwise the record stands as made. It was prepared for purely personal reasons and contains trivialities, irrelevancies, first impressions subject to change, some pretty standard responses of new visitors to Russia, plus (it is hoped) a few fresh glimpses and reactions. It has been duplicated for limited circulation to members of the delegation and friends. Reproduction is not authorized.

Nota introductoria original de B.F. Skinner en la primera página del documento.

En mayo de 1961, una delegación de científicos de la conducta visitó Rusia, Checoslovaquia y Polonia bajo el patrocinio de la Academia Nacional de Ciencias y del Departamento del Estado. Los integrantes del grupo fueron los siguientes: Profesor Donald G. Marquis y su esposa, Profesor Robert K. Merton, Profesor James G. Miller y su esposa, Profesor George P. Murdock y su esposa, Dr. Francis H. Palmer y su esposa, Professor Anatol Rapoport, Dr. Henry W. Riecken, Professor B. F. Skinner y su esposa, Dr. Ralph W. Tyler y su esposa y Dr. Raymond W. Waggoner. Siempre que fuera oportuno, se grabaron los comentarios en una grabadora portátil. A menudo mi esposa estaba presente cuando yo dictaba y aportaba detalles. Se han realizado algunos cambios para ordenar el material y en algunos casos se han eliminado repeticiones debidas al despiste. En lo demás, queda el registro tal y como se hizo. Se preparó por razones totalmente personales y contiene trivialidades, irrelevancias, primeras impresiones sujetas a cambio, algunas respuestas bastante típicas de personas que visitan Rusia por primera vez, y además (así se espera) unos cuantos vistazos y reacciones frescos. Se ha duplicado para permitir su circulación limitada a los miembros de la delegación y amigos. No se autoriza su reproducción.



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page 115 note 1 Published by authorization of the B.F. Skinner Foundation. Notes by Javier Bandrés and Adriana Dergam.

page 116 note 1 Donald G. Marquis (1908–1973) received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Yale. President of the APA in 1948. He directed the Departments of Psychology at the Universities of Yale and Michigan, and was Professor at the Sloan School of Management of MIT. Among other posts, he was Chairman of the Division of Social Science of the Ford Foundation Study Committee (which financed the trip to Russia), Chairman of the Committee on Human Resources, Research and Development Board, National Military Establishment and member of the Bioscience Advisory Committee of NASA.

page 116 note 2 George P. Murdock (1897–1985) was considered the most influential anthropologist in the area of cross-cultural analysis. Specialized in compared ethnology, ethnography, and social theory. He developed compared studies of human relations. Professor at Yale for more than 30 years. He was the originator in 1937 of the Cross Cultural Survey, later known as the Human Relations Area Files.

page 116 note 3 Francis H. Palmer, specialist in Language and Childhood Education, and member of the Social Science Research Council Committee on Cognitive Research between 1972 and 1976.

page 116 note 4 James G. Miller (1916–2002) studied Psychology and Medicine at Harvard. Alfred N. Whitehead made a lasting impression on him during those years. During WWII, he served in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Assessment Unit. After the war, he became the first Chief of the new Clinical Psychology Section in the Central Office of the Veterans' Administration in Washington, D.C. Elected President of the Division of Clinical Psychology of the American Psychological Association, (1958 and 1959). He worked in the Universities of Chicago, Michigan, Cleveland State, Johns Hopkins, Louisville, and California, among others. A pioneer of systems science, he originated the modern use of the term “behavioral science.” For more than 30 years, Dr. Miller was editor of Behavioral Science.

page 116 note 5 Henry W. Riecken has been Professor at the Universities of Harvard, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania, where he is currently the Francis Boyer Professor of Behavioral Science Emeritus at the School of Medicine. Among other posts, he has been the Associate Director for Program Planning and Evaluation at the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, Head of the NSF Divisions of Scientific Personnel and of Education, President of the Social Science Research Council, member of the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Science and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Author, together with Festinger and Schachter, of the classic When Prophecy Fails (1956), among other distinctions, he has received the Hildreth Award from the Division of Psychologists in Public Service (APA).

page 116 note 6 Anatol Rapoport was born in Russia in 1911 and arrived to the USA in 1922. He studied at the University of Chicago. Dr. Rapoport has made significant contributions, among others, in the fields of mathematical biology, mathematical theories of social interaction, the theory of games, and the general theory of systems. He attempted to apply his view of the theory of conflict to the problems of nuclear disarmament and international politics. Rapoport has belonged to the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences and was the founder of the Society for General Systems Research. He has been a Professor at the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, and the University of Toronto, among others.

page 117 note 7 Robert K. Merton (1910–2003) began his studies in Temple University and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard. He became chairman of the Department of Sociology at Tulane. Merton moved to Columbia in 1941, where he was Associate Director of the Bureau of Applied Social Research, Giddings Professor of Sociology, and University Professor until his retirement in 1979. Leader of structural-functional analysis in sociology and pioneer of Sociology of Science, Merton is best known for his work, Social Theory and Social Structure. Among other distinctions, he was awarded the National Medal of Science.

page 117 note 8 Alexander R. Luria (1902–1977), neuropsychologist and doctor. He studied in the University of Kazan, Russia. He worked in the Psychology Institute of Moscow, where he was dedicated to the “combined motor method.” There he met L. S. Vygotski in 1924 and, together with A. N. Leontiev, they developed the “historical-cultural” or “socio-historical” approach to Psychology, with special emphasis on the study of language, thinking, children's play, and compared psychology (i.e., research in Central Asia). He specialized in the study of aphasia from the viewpoint of the relations between language, thought, and cortical functions, and in the study of compensatory functions. Luria carried out important studies on persons with brain lesions during WWII. Co-founder of the Psychology department of the State University of Moscow. Considered founder of the Russian school of Neuropsychology. Member of various Academies of Science and Associations of Psychology around the world and doctor honoris causa of numerous universities.

page 117 note 9 Aleksei N. Leontiev (1903–1979), psychologist. Between 1924 and 1931 he worked in Moscow with A. R. Luria and L. S. Vygotski, studying the formation mechanisms of higher psychological functions (especially processes of attention, memory, and mediation). He subsequently worked in Jarkov (Ukraine) and during WWII in Sverdlovsk (Russia). Considered the father of one of the Russian activity theories, his experimental and theoretical works focused on the development of the psyche. Co-founder of the Psychology Department of the State University of Moscow and Dean of the Psychology Faculty.

page 117 note 10 Evgeni N. Sokolov (1920), psychophysiologist. Military interpreter during WWII. During his studies, he investigated perception under the direction of S. L. Rubinshtein. Full professor of Psychophysiology in the Psychology Faculty of the State University of Moscow. He also worked in the Biology Faculty, and he collaborated with A. R. Luria in the Institute of Defectology. He carried out important research in perception. Pioneer in the study of the neural mechanisms of orienting behavior. Founder of the scientific program of research in computerized learning.

page 118 note 11 Olga S. Vinogradova (1929–2001), psychologist and neurobiologist. She made important contributions to the investigation of the cellular mechanisms of the hippocampus and of the orienting reflex. She worked with A. R. Luria on the study of concept formation. As of the late 50s, Vinogradova worked with the psychophysiologist E. N. Sokolov on the orienting reflex and perception mechanisms in human beings. Founder of the Laboratory of systemic organization of neurons, where the first neurotransplant of Russia was performed. She worked in the Institute of Theoretical and Experimental Biophysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

page 120 note 12 Mikhail V. Nesterov (1862–1942), painter. Representative of Russian orthodox art. Founder member of the Russian Painters' Union, he painted religious pictures. Since the 1917 Revolution, he only painted landscapes and portraits. His portrait of I. P. Pavlov (1935) was one of the most well known.

page 121 note 13 Anatoly A. Smirnov (1894–1980), psychologist. He made important contributions to the Psychology of Memory, as well as to General Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Educational Psychology, and History of Psychology. Undergoing pressure in the 30s, he interrupted his works on Paidology and Psychotechnics. For 28 years, Smirnov was Director of the Institute of Psychology of the Russian Academy of Pedagogical Sciences and for more than two decades, chief editor of the most important Russian Psychology journal (Voprosy Psikhologii). He directed the organization of the XVIII International Psychology Congress in Moscow in 1966 and colaborated with G. I. Chelpanov, A. N. Leontiev, A. R. Luria, B. M. Teplov, A. V. Zaporozhets, and P. I. Zinchenko, among others.

page 124 note 14 Ralph W. Tyler (1902–1994) studied at Doane College, the University of Nebraska, and the University of Chicago, where he received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology. He directed the Department of Educational Evaluation of Ohio State University. First Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford. First President of the National Academy of Education. Tyler was a member of the National Committee on Teacher Education, and belonged to the National Science Board from 1962 to 1968. His main contributions were in the field of Instructional Development and Curricular Studies.

page 124 note 15 Daniil B. Elkonin (1904–1984), psychologist. Specialist in Child Psychology, author of the theory of stages in psychological development. Disciple and collaborator of L. S. Vygotski. He belonged to the historical-cultural school and worked with A. N. Leontiev, A. R. Luria, A. V. Zaporozhets, L. I. Bozhovich, and P. Ya. Galperin. He developed important theoretical, methodological, and experimental works in the Psychology of Play, Teaching and Learning. He was the Director of several laboratories in the Institute of Psychology of Moscow and Professor of the Psychology Faculty of the State University of Moscow.

page 125 note 16 Piotr K. Anokhin (1898–1974), physiologist. He contributed to the development of the theory of functional systems as a result of his investigations on reinforcement and internal inhibition and the works of I. M. Sechenov and L. A. Ukhtomski. He was Director of the Institute of Physiology of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and subsequently of the I. M. Sechenov Institute of Physiology. Full Professor of Normal Physiology of the I. M. Sechenov Medical Academy of Moscow.

page 126 note 17 Aleksandr V. Zaporozhets (1905–1981), psychologist. Disciple of L. S. Vygotski. In the 30s, at the psychological school of Activity of Jarkov (Ukraine), he studied the problem of the emergence of psychological features within phylogeny, together with A. N. Leontiev. His investigations focused on the study of the cognitive and perceptive processes and on the genesis and development of voluntary movements and acts. During WWII, he worked with the wounded in movement rehabilitation. As of 1960, he was the Director of the Scientific Institute of Research in Preschool Education. He contributed to the development of Experimental Psychology, Medical Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and Pedagogic Psychology.

page 127 note 18 Grigori S. Kostiuk (1899–1982), psychologist and pedagogue. He worked in the fields of Psychology of Thinking, Psychology of Activity, and Psychology of Personality. He developed many theoretical and experimental works about the relations between learning, teaching, and children's psychological development. Kostiuk made important contributions to the conception of teaching material and to the History of Psychology. He was the Director of the Institute of Psychology of Ukraine and Professor at the Pedagogical Institute of Kiev.

page 127 note 19 Raymond W. Waggoner (1901–2000) studied Medicine at the University of Michigan. After earning his doctorate in neuropsychiatry in 1928 at the University of Pennsylvania, he returned to the University of Michigan in 1929. He was Chair of the Department of Psychiatry from 1937 to 1970. During WWII, he collaborated with the Selective Service. He also acted as advisor to the US Surgeon General on the psychological effects of US Occupation in Germany and Japan. Dr. Waggoner was President of the American Psychiatric Association (1969–1970) and received the Distinguished Service Award in 1988.

page 129 note 20 Boris F. Lomov (1927–1989), psychologist. Specialized in Engineering Psychology. He worked on theoretical and methodological aspects of Experimental Psychology, carrying out research in Engineering Psychology (aviation, cosmic and otherwise) and Psychology of Cognitive Processes. In 1959, he founded the first Engineering Psychology center in the U. S. S. R. Together with B. G. Ananiev, he founded the Psychology Faculty of the State University of Leningrad. He worked in the Pedagogic Institute in Leningrad and in the Psychology Institute in Moscow. Chief Editor of the journal Psikhologicheski zhurnal (Psychological Journal). Between 1968-1983 he directed the Psychologists' Association of the U. S. S. R.

page 130 note 21 Vladimir N. Chernigovski (1907–1981), physiologist. Disciple of K. M. Bykov. He carried out investigations in physiology of introception, its functional organization and structure, and its cerebral representation. In his works, he developed the theory of cortical-visceral interaction. He studied the physiological mechanisms of reflexes at brain level using the evoked potentials method. One of the founders of cosmic physiology, he participated in sending the first dogs into space.

page 130 note 22 Marionilla M. Koltsova (1915), doctor, physiologist, and psychologist. Author of the memories of the siege of Leningrad during WWII with examples of medical and psychological assistance to children in extreme conditions. She was the Director of the Laboratory of Nervous Activity in Preschool Children (1969–1987). She has carried out investigations of the interhemispheric relations of the cerebral cortex, of the mechanisms of language genesis in children, and of the inter-relation of fine motricity and the functions of children's speech and drawings.

page 131 note 23 Boris A. Lebedev (1925–1992), psychiatrist. Director of the Bekhterev Scientific Institute of Psychoneurological Research between 1961 and 1964. He worked in Geriatric Psychiatry, Somatopsychiatry and he postulated the scientific bases of the organization of psychiatric intervention. In 1964, he represented Soviet psychiatry in the section of Mental Health of the W.H.O., in 1967 he was elected Director of that section. Full professor of Psychiatry of the Nr. 1 I. P. Pavlov Medical Institute of Leningrad. Honorary Member of the APA and of the Belgian Psychiatric Association.

page 131 note 24 Avgusta V. Yarmolenko (1900–1976), pathopsychologist and defectologist. Assistant to the Director of the Institute of Audition and Speech in Leningrad. She worked in a war hospital during the siege of Leningrad in WWII. Teacher of the Psychology Department of the Faculty of Philosophy of the State University of Leningrad, and later on, teacher of the Psychology Faculty. She worked with B. G. Ananiev and B. F. Lomov. She contributed to the development of psychology of persons with special needs in the U. S. S. R. (deaf-mutes, etc.) by studying their psychological development and biological and social compensation mechanisms.

page 141 note 25 Milan Horváth (1921), Doctor of Natural Sciences., Charles University, Prague, and Ph.D. (Medical Physiology). Retired Senior Research Scientist, National Institute of Public Health in Prague. Associate Professor (retired.) at the 3rd Medical Faculty, Charles University. Lecturer at the Psychology Department of the Education Faculty and at the Postgraduate Medical Institute.

page 142 note 26 Jerzy Konorski (1903–1973), biologist and neurophysiologist. A student of I. P. Pavlov. He contributed to the study of Type II conditioned reflexes, was a pioneer in the study of instrumental conditioning and introduced a new direction and theories about the physiology of the brain. Director of the Institute of Biology of M. Nenski in Warsaw, professor of the University of Lodz. Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Washington. He worked with S. Miller on physiology of the higher nervous functions. Considered one of the most important investigators of theoretical Neurobiology.

Russia, 1961

  • B. F. Skinner


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