Pavlovian Conditioning

Predictable Peckers

The entertaining article, “The Many Lives of Superstition” (Observer, October 2008), promotes an erroneous interpretation of superstitious behavior by attributing it to accidental pairings of a response with a reinforcing stimulus (i.e., response-reinforcer contiguity). This is the explanation of superstition proposed by Skinner (1948) to account for the idiosyncratic behavior More