Thursday, March 05, 2009

March 1978 books read

This is a continuing transcription from a forgotten record recently found:

B. F. Skinner: Particulars of My Life
Jackques Barzun: Simple and Direct: A Rhetoric for Writers
Tobias Smollett: The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle
Doris Lessing: Particularly Cats

I spent an entire semester training a common pigeon with the aid of a Skinner box. By the time his wing-feathers had regrown, the semester was over and he returned to his customary roost on the roof. I wonder whether he continued dancing once released (or perhaps I should say how long it took for his learned behaviors to be extinguished). At any rate, ever since that time I have found operant conditioning to be a very useful tool in training dogs and cats, and sometimes even people.


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