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Neal E. Miller

Neal E. Miller
Born August 3, 1909
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Died March 23, 2002
Nationality American
Fields psychology
Alma mater Yale University
Known for biofeedback

Neal Elgar Miller (August 3, 1909 – March 23, 2002) was an American psychologist. He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin 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-?).

Miller was instrumental in the development of biofeedback. He discovered that even the autonomic nervous system could be susceptible to classical conditioning.

Neal Miller along with John Dollard and O. Hobart Mowrer helped to integrate behavioral and psychoanalytic concepts. They were able to translate psychological analytic concepts into behavioral terms that would be more easily understood. These three men also recognized Sigmund Freud's concept of anxiety as a "signal of danger" and that some things in Freud's work could be altered to fix this. Neal, John and Hobert believed that a person who was relieved of high anxiety levels would experience what is called "anxiety relief". The last thing these three men did was to realize that classical conditioning would be followed by operant 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. Operant conditioning is the improvement of performance by the transitory lengthening of the reinforcement period, meaning that a person would have to work through his anxiety in order to get a positive outcome.


Key texts



Miller wrote four books:

  • "Frustration and Aggression"
  • "Social Learning and Imitation"
  • "Personality and Psychotherapy"
  • "Graphic Communication and the Crisis in Education."




  • Jonas, Gerald. 1973. Visceral Leaning. Viking.

External links


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