Burrhus Frederic Skinner
Burrhus Frederic Skinner (1904 - 1990) was an American behaviourist, author, inventor, social philosopher and poet. Skinner invented the operant conditioning chamber, innovated his own philosophy of science called radical behaviorism (experimental analysis of behaviour). He also founded his own school of experimental research psychology looking particularly at behaviour. His analysis of human behaviour reached its highest point in his work with verbal behaviour.
In 1944, World War II was in full swing. Airplanes and bombs were common, but there were no missile guidance systems. Skinner wanted to help with this issue and tried to find funding for a top secret project to train pigeons to guide bombs.
He experimented with pigeons, conditioned them to peck at certain times. Programmed their learning using a reward/punishment system. Punitive system referring to punishment being introduced if the pigeons didn't do it right.He specifically trained the pigeons to keep pecking a target that would hold a missile onto a target. The pigeons pecked reliably, even when falling rapidly and working with warlike noise all around them. While Project Pigeon was discontinued (because of another top secret project unknown to Skinner - radar), the work was useful. Pigeons behave more rapidly than rats, allowing more rapid discoveries.