In "Opening Skinner's Box", psychiatrist and writer Lauren Slater sets out to investigate the twentieth century through a series of fascinating, witty and sometimes shocking accounts of its key psychological experiments. Beginning with the behaviourist B. F. Skinner, she describes his work with animals in the 1930s, in which he demonstrated the power of rewards and reinforcements to shape behaviour, and probes the truth behind the legend of the child raised in a box. From deep empathy with participants in Stanley Milgram's controversial 1950s experiment designed to explain obedience to authority to a post-Holocaust world, she moves to David Rosenhan's disturbing 1970s experiment that questioned the validity of psychiatric diagnosis itself. With her we observe cognitive dissonance among cult members whose apocalypse fails to arrive, and see the groundwork being laid for a pill that promises to rescue the failing memory. Previously buried in academic journals and textbooks, these often daring experiments concerned with free will, authoritarianism, violence, conformity, and morality are now seen now seen in their full context and told as stories, rich in plot, wit and character.