animals-myths-luck | Do animals believe in superstitions? It’s more possible than you think | Science

We humans should be superstitious. We believe in a cause-and-effect relationship between actions that may not exist or maintain a relationship per se. We all have practices and habits that we think give us more luck; Read your horoscope, practice feng shui, say key words before sneezing, for example. They have no basis in the realm of logic and science but we still feel confident in our practices.

It appears to be a completely humane situation, but what is surprising is that animals also imitate certain situations to feel more protected. Among them, the ones that stand out are Skinner’s pigeons and the monkeys on the stairs.

fairy bathroom

The Active air conditioning It is a way to teach desirable behaviors and eliminate undesirable ones. In contrast to the Pavlovian experience, which associates a stimulus with a behavior (the sound of a bell with food), operant conditioning works by associating a behavior with its consequences. This then appears in the classical education of many children.

But sometimes the expected results are not real. And find out Burhus F. skinner In 1947 he experimented with pigeons.

The very interesting journal explains that the birds were groomed by being left without eating for a while and locked in a cage without any conditioning. Only a five-second timer provides a small amount of food to the animal. But over time, the animals adapted to unexpected patterns of experience.

The pigeons circled around the cage two or three times, always counterclockwise, before getting food. Another sank her head in one of the corners of the cage until the food fell. Another tapped towards the ground without touching it, and raised his head to see if food had arrived.

Pigeons come to associate the different styles with the expected results. (Photo: Pixabay)

The conditioning process arose because when the food arrived, the animal was performing that particular action. And so the pigeons thought that their movements would bring them food. They assumed a cause-and-effect relationship between behavior and the reception of food, and did not understand that food would decrease equally.

They repeated the actions even when there was no food. Sometimes they would repeat it up to ten thousand times until they realized it was useless. And it was enough that the food fell once or twice for a new superstitious behavior to replace the previous one.

For further clarification, this video summarizes the experience in a hands-on way (along with an interview with Skinner himself):

of monkeys and ladders

Another example of superstition in animals is that of monkeys, ladders, and hoses.

The researchers placed five monkeys in a cage with a ladder. They put some bananas on the ladder. When one of the monkeys climbed the ladder to get food, the rest of the monkeys received puffs of cold water. The other monkeys came to hate their partner for his success. Every time another monkey tried to go up the ladder, the others attacked him; All to avoid cold water. Thus every monkey was discouraged from catching bananas.

Then they replace one of the monkeys with a new one, which will inadvertently try to hunt for bananas. Even if he didn’t know about the punishment, the rest of the gang would still attack him for trying to get close to the stairs. All monkeys were replaced one by one, until there was no animal left in the resulting group that had received cold water. However, they all continued the violent behavior as the newest monkey in the cage tried to climb the ladder to reach the banana.

Callithrix monkeys feed, move and assist during childbirth.  (Photo: National Geographic)
Callithrix monkeys feed, move and assist during childbirth. (Photo: National Geographic)

We obviously understand that it was a trap, but the monkeys didn’t understand it that way. Execution may think it is the right thing to do, because It was always like this.

The surprising part of all this is that the experiment never happened. In fact, the origin of the story originated in the now-extinct blog of the expert in marketing Michael Michaelko. It was inspired by an experiment conducted by Gordon R. Stevenson on cultural acquisition of a specific learned response among macaques. However, Stevenson’s published works do not match Michalko’s story in detail.

In fact, such an experiment is unlikely, as it would be considered animal abuse. Although it is true that monkeys, like humans, can acquire superstitious behaviour.

Look: Callao: The monkey terrifies the neighbors by entering homes and businesses [VIDEO]

Although the experiment is wrong, it is so famous that it has been explained in many universities. Many analysts even commented that the concept of “taboo” originated in this experiment. This is troubling fake news, because it puts poor scientists at a disadvantage, and it also stops giving definitive answers to the experiment in the first place.

Interestingly enough, the people who believe in the story are like the monkeys in the story. They repeat a behavior out of inertia, without considering whether it is really true. Well, this story continues to be told, and It was always like this.

After all, we come to believe that things are guided more by our judgment than objective facts. In the end, there is not much difference between us and frustrated monkeys.

Recommended video

Pedro Castillo will seek a referendum to change the constitution
PEDRO CASTILLO Fulfills the wishes of VLADIMIR CERRÓN from Cusco, PEDRO CASTILLO will seek a referendum in the upcoming regional elections to change the constitution. We spoke with the former president of the Constitutional Court, Ernesto Alvarez. We analyze the President’s proposal with Constitutional Carlos Hakanson. We spoke with former Minister of Justice Marisol Perez Tello.

Leave a Comment