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Psych 101

April 30, 2013

I’m not sure how many of you have taken Psych 101 (or something equivalent), but I am shocked and amazed how often what I learned in Psych 101 comes up in my life.   Perhaps the introduction to psychology course content just gives language to the universal truths of life that we all know be true, but I do enjoy having the fancy language to put on those truths.

Today’s Psych 101 application is intermittent reinforcement.  Remember, the idea that if you reinforce a behaviour not every time the behaviour occurs and with a random/unpredictable frequency, the behaviour is highly likely to continue.   Here is how intermittent reinforcement is alive and well in my life.

My route to work involves crossing over the Grand River.  Every day as I cross over the bridge, I look down to my right into the river.  I’ve been doing this for years (note this is the same bridge where the female roller drive used to work).  While not based on actual data, I’m going to estimate that 98% of the time I see nothing of interest when I look at the river.   Last week one day, I saw people in a canoe!  It was crazy.  Remember, last week did not include warm sunny spring weather.  Rather it was cold and grey and before 8:00 in the morning.  None of these facts scream “great time for canoeing the Grand”.  I’ve seen deer and neat ice chucks, but I’ve never seen a canoe before.  But this instance of intermittent reinforcement means I’m going to keep me checking that river for months, maybe years to come.

Sky Report at 10:00 – okay so I don’t know exactly what it was like at 10:00, but around 11:00 I said “it’s kind of brightening up”, so I’m confident it was grey and cloudy until then.

Yarn Strands: grey and white



intermitted reinforcement and the deer and the canoer – (last week when it wasn’t warm at all) a cold mronign in April


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