Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Are behaviorists passe'?

Recently I followed a discussion amongst behaviorists about when precisely "learning" takes place. For example, if you tell a child not to touch a hot stove, does learning take place when you deliver the instruction? Or the next time the child sees a hot stove, and doesn't touch it, is that the moment when learning has occurred? Or did it occur at some point in between, when the instruction was processed?

And by the way, how many angels do dance on the head of a pin?

Well, never mind the last question. But for the first, brain scans are getting so good, before to long we will be able to tell exactly what every person knows, just by waving a tricorder in front of them.


See for yourself.

Before too long, we just might be able to learn where the shortcomings in the brain are that suppress the desire for individual freedom and liberty.

Towards the end of the video, one of the researchers posits that eventually "we" will have to determine if the individual or the state controls the technology. That should be a moot point.

Behaviorists haven't been able to influence society to embrace freedom so that such a question would never need be asked. Who needs them?


There was a rush to map the canine genome. Scientists declared what wonderful secrets it would reveal about our own genetic code.

Will there / is there a similar effort to map the canine brain?

Forget clicker training. Scanner training will be the new frontier.

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