For example, Skinner's aging and mourning daughter is "a little too passionate about dear old dad."
The use of an electric defibrilator to attempt to revive Stanley Milgram during a heart attack was compared to his "shock" experiments, while his body is described as "flailing like a fish's."
Harry Harlow's wife died of breast cancer, and is described as "turning a saffron yellow, her mouth pulled back in a masked grimace, her teeth peculiarly sharp looking, monkey teeth, mad." This was evidently, to bring in a "monkey" image to his wife's illness and premature death.
Sometimes, Slater is merely annoying, as when she says she "hoped" that Harry Harlow held his wife's hand in the doctor's office, or says she "imagines" that Rosenhan was "smug" while trying to get himself committed to a mental hospital.
Other times she's just weird, as when she confesses to taking a bite of a 10 year-old piece of chocolate, left half-eaten by Skinner.
There are a few interesting pieces, such as when Slater attempts to replicate Rosenhan's study. She went to mental health centers/hospitals saying she heard "thud." She was treated well, diagnosed as mildly psychotic or depressed, and given a prescription. That would seem to be a good description of current practice and is an interesting update on Rosenhan's work.
She also found some individuals who participated in the Milgram studies, and describes the trauma some continue to experience.
But, getting this interesting material means reading through an annoying and personalized writing style. Slater is at least as flawed and unpleasant as the "big" names (and their families and colleagues) she delights in skewering.
And it was intriguing. Slater debunks the myth that B.F. Skinner raised his first child in a "box" in order to conduct an elaborate behavior experiment on her. The box turns out to have been a high-tech playpen designed and built by the doting father that Skinner apparently was. Another famous experiment which revealed that most people would torture another if encouraged by a benign authority figure was especially chilling in light of the Abu Ghraib torture by American guards.
However, I came away with the distinct impression that Slater is a nut. Slater seemed especially enthusiastic about recreating an experiment in which normal people pretended to be demented enough to enter a mental hospital, then reverted to normal behavior and waited to see how long it would be before they would be discharged. Slater checked into some eight different hospitals. She also took some of the anti-psychotic meds she was prescribed rather than tossing them.
She reveals that she was unable to recreate the experiment strictly, because under the original conditions, the pseudo-patients would be truthful after being admitted, but Slater actually had a mental hospital stay in her past, so she lied. And I simply didn't believe that bit about biting the ten-year-old chocolate bar in the Skinner House at first. As I read more of the book and learned more about Slater, it wasn't so unbelievable any more.
Anyway, Opening Skinner's Box is definitely an unusual book. It poses many thoughtful questions about the nature of humanness. It is well-written, but I can't vouch for how well-researched it is or how factual. It is extremely interesting and thought-provoking, and more than a little creepy.