Preschoolers: Box-Bred Babies

Harvard Psychologist Burrhus F. Skinner has taught pigeons to play pingpong, invented teaching machines for people. But for sheer practicality, nothing he has yet devised beats his "Skinner baby box"—a household incubator for human chicks.

Invented in 1944 for his daughter Debbie, Skinner's box is a combination crib-playpen that a baby can call home for as long as two years. It has Plexiglas windows, and inside, the temperature is kept at 80° or so and the humidity at 50%. The baby is free of confining clothes and "prisonlike" crib bars. He wears only...

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