BBC Mind Changers: New Episodes on Carol Dweck and B.F. Skinner

BBC Radio 4’s Mind Changers programme has returned with new episodes. Currently available is an episode on psychologist “Carol Dweck and¬†Growth Mindset.” The episode is described as follows:

Claudia Hammond presents the history of psychology series which examines the work of the people who have changed our understanding of the human mind. This week she interviews Carol Dweck, who identified that individuals tend towards a fixed or a growth mindset regarding what they can learn and achieve. She also showed that a fixed mindset can be changed, and that once people adopt a growth mindset, they can achieve more.

Claudia visits a UK primary school where growth mindset is part of the curriculum, and sees how children who don’t like maths soon change their attitude at a summer camp in California, once they’re shown that getting the wrong answer actually makes their brains grow more than getting the right answer.

She hears more about Dweck and her work from colleagues Greg Walton and Jo Boaler at Stanford University, and executive head Dame Alison Peacock at the Wroxham Primary School.

Another new episode, on “BF Skinner and Superstition in the Pigeon,” airs today. This episode is described:¬†

Claudia Hammond presents the history of psychology series which examines the work of the people who have changed our understanding of the human mind. This week she explores the legacy of BF Skinner and Behaviourism. One of the most famous psychologists of the 20th century, by applying to human learning the theory he developed through animal studies, he became one of the most controversial.

Claudia is shown round his study by his daughter, Julie Vargas; remaining much as it was when he died in 1990, it is full of quirky, Heath-Robinson-type, home-made gadgets, evidence of Skinner’s practicality and ingenuity. They reveal another side to the man famous for his operant conditioning experiments with rats and pigeons, and infamous for his template for what some have described as a totalitarian state, in his book ‘Beyond Freedom and Dignity’.

Claudia also meets his younger daughter, Deborah Buzan, and explodes the myth that she was raised in one of Skinner’s experimental ‘boxes’.

She hears more about the man and his work from Richard McNally at Harvard, and Gordon Bower and Lee Ross of Stanford University.

About Jacy Young

Jacy Young recently completed a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Surrey in the UK. She earned her doctorate in the History and Theory of Psychology at York University in 2014.