The famous psychologist Burrhus Frederic Skinner, Professor in psychology at Harvard from 1958 until 1974, was most likely the first to use machines in order to change human behavior and to teach habits. He was not only the father of groundbreaking concept in psychology such as 'operant conditioning', but also the first to develop machines with the goal of changing human behavior and teaching new habits. He studied the laws of operant conditioning with his famous 'Skinner Box'. Afterward, he developed his first 'learning machine', long before the internet and the PC were invented. He showed that machines could help humans to change behavior and to develop habits. In the following video you can see how Skinner used his 'learning machine' to train students at school:

Skinner promotes the idea that self-guidance and self-study possibly are less frustrating and valuable for future generations of students. I wanted to share this video with you because it really makes me think about our experiences when it comes to developing our online self-help. I lively remember how people - including psychologists - thought that this idea was crazy 10 years ago. Now the idea of helping people to help themselves, as long as the right tools are used, slowly is becoming common knowledge. This most likely is the difference between a genius and a normal mortal. A genius sees possibilities decades before others can see them. Skinner apparently had this visionary capability which is associated with genius. Paul Koeck, MD