For astonishment only

[From Rick Marken (931210.1300)]

Gary Cziko (931210.1134) you are IMPOSSIBLE. How am I going to
get any work done when I'm laughing so hard I can barely breath.

I hope the
excellent Dutch research reported below will prove to Rick once and for
all that reinforcement can have powerful effects on behavior.

That was quite impressive. But not quite as good as a little tutorial
book on operant conditioning that I once found in the U of M (Minnesota)
library (boy do I wish I could remember the author). It was about
how operant conditioning could be used to shape the behavior of a
corpse. Of course, one used the method of successive approximations
(I forget what was used as the reinforcer but, obviously, this would
be a crucial variable in the procedure). The problem with corpse
behavior, of course, is that you have to look VERY CAREFULLY for
even the SLIGHTEST approximation to the desired behavior.

The book described the nuances of the procedure in deathly
detail, as I recall (it was NOT a short book). I wouldn't be
surprised if some of the operant conditioning experts on this
net are familair with this demonstration; it seems to me it was
almost as impressive as training a two year old to go to bed on
time (naaah, that's impossible).


B. F. Marken