[Paleopsych] training

Steve Hovland shovland at mindspring.com
Thu Dec 9 02:21:41 UTC 2004

Earned rewards also inflence behavior.

If a welfare check came with a work requirement,
would that be a desirable influence on behavior?

If someone gets help from private individuals or
faith-based groups, he has to dance to their tune
just as much as he would have to dance to the
government's tune to get help from it.

Steve Hovland

-----Original Message-----
From:	Michael Christopher [SMTP:anonymous_animus at yahoo.com]
Sent:	Wednesday, December 08, 2004 11:21 AM
To:	paleopsych at paleopsych.org
Subject:	[Paleopsych] training

>>Michael, what you may overlook is that any time 
we give people unearned rewards, we are influencing
their behavior.<<

--As a clicker training fan, I agree. However, when
you do that, you are sending a covert message, "I am
the trainer, you are the doggy." That message has as
much influence, and often more, than the message you
THINK you're sending. With animals, it doesn't matter.
You reward them when they do good, and they're happy.
With humans, it's more complex. Social engineering
must not be attempted by people who do not have a
genuine and sincere understanding of the experience of
the people they're trying to "train".

>>Reward influence behavior; random rewards influence 
random responding and chaos / entropy increases.<<

--Also true. And you have the problem of "too many
trainers". One authority says "Work hard and prosper".
Another says "Work hard and stay at the bottom.
Flatter the boss and rise in rank." There are so many
signals being sent, that the one you THINK you're
sending is warped and distorted in the process. You
are only one of many "trainers". The fallacy of
thinking you are sending clear signals when the
environment is warping the signals is very common.
It's why fathers who try to keep their daughters from
sleeping around end up pushing them to sleep around.
It's why people who punish laziness end up inspiring
avoidance and more laziness. People who don't
understand reinforcement in practice, relying only on
the ideological "rewarding laziness is bad" message,
often produce contradictory results because they are
relying on theory and not actual experience.

Before you try to "train" any human or subculture, you
really ought to learn to train a parrot or a dolphin
or a dog using the clicker method. I'd require that of
anyone who thinks he's qualified to engineer a more
responsible society.


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