A Reinforcement Story -Reply

[Hans Blom, 960108]

(Samuel Saunders (951222:14:46:54 EST))

Catching up after two weeks of vacation with my German lady (yes,
very nice, thank you), so I don't know how relevant this is now.

When opportunity to engage in some behavior is denied for some time
(deprivation), the behavior will have an increased probability when
it is first made available again.

Lorentz, the famous ethologist, found the same thing in a variety of
behaviors, such as "aggressive" (agonistic) and courting behavior in
several species (re. his book "The so-called Evil", a transliteration
of its original German title, on the biology of agression; a classic
now; 1953?). He postulates that every type of behavior is active,
i.e. wants to express itself (shades of Maslow?). E.g. if a male
pigeon is deprived of a female, he will subsequently present courting
behavior to objects ever less representative of a female pigeon, and
eventually to any "insignificant" stimulus such as the corner of its

I can reconcile this picture of "active" behavior only with an
inherent desire to keep the animal's internal "world model" up to
date. Remember that in building and maintaining the model a cross-
correlation between perception and action is required. Without action
no (significant) model update. Especially after deprivation, it seems
important to retune the internal model.

Evidence can be marshalled that ... deprivation produces an
increment in the behavior when opportunity to perform it is first

So this discovery isn't very new. A satisfying explanation is still
lacking, however. In the PCT-model this might mean, as a first
approximation, that the "driving force" of behavior does not
originate from the highest levels only, but from intermediate levels
as well.

Too far off?

Greetings and a happy New Year.

Hans Blom