Neal E. Miller

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Neal E Miller was born in Milwaukee in 1909. He received a B.S. degree from the University of Washington (1931), an M.S. from Stanford University (1932), and a Ph.D. degree in Psychology from Yale University (1935). He was a social science research fellow at the Institute of Psychoanalysis, Vienna for one year (1935-36) before returning to Yale as a faculty member in 1936. He spent 30 years at Yale University (1936-1966), where he became the James Rowland Angell Professor of Psychology, and 15 more years at Rockefeller University (1966-1981) before becoming Professor Emeritus at Rockefeller (1981- ) and Research Affiliate at Yale (1985- ).


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Neal Miller along with John Dollard and Hobert Mowrer helped to intigrate behavioral and pyschoanalytic concepts. Neal along with these other two gentleman also were able to translate pyschological analytic concepts into behavioral terms that would be more easily understood. These three men also recognized Freud's concept of anxiety as a "signal of danger". That some things in his work could be altered to fix this. Neal, John and Hobert felt that if you had something going on that was having you receive high anxiety levels that once you are out of this situation you experience what is called "Anxiety relief". You are actually as they say "flooded" with the anxiety relief because it no longer is bothering you. The last thing these threee men did was that they realized classical conditioning would be followed by operative conditioning. Classical conditioning is the process of using an established relationship between a stimulus and a response to cause the learning of the same response to a different stimulus. Operative conditioning is the improvement of performance by the transitory lengthening of the reinforcement period, meaning that you have to work through your anxiety in order to get a positive outcome.

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Neal E. Miller

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