We are the prisoners of our basic instincts

Opinion from the Internet about Human behavior:

“A more empirical answer to why random reward works better then constant reward to motivate people can be found by studying the Stimulus/Response theory (S-R theory) proposed by B.F. Skinner some fifty years ago. His work became the cornerstone of modern Behavioral Psychology.

Skinner proposed a number of reinforcement schedules that when presented immediately following a response (operant conditioning) results in various, predictable patterns of behavior increasing or decreasing in frequency.

Specific to this question, “continuous reinforcement” of a response is ideal for shaping and generating new behaviors but has the drawback of “satiation”. It will never maintain or strengthen a behavior. The best schedule for maintaining behavior is the “Variable Ratio” schedule.

This schedule reinforces a response (behavior) after a number of responses at an undetermined rate. The subject in this schedule never knows when the reward will come, only that it will come.

In layman’s terms, a person knows a valued benefit will be his or hers if they just keep trying. This schedule generates the strongest behavior. However, if the ratio is too long the response will extinguish. Sometimes people quit just before they would have enjoyed success.

I won’t go any further as books are written on the subject. If you have an interest in how and why we behave as we do Skinner’s operant conditioning, as well as Pavlov’s classical conditioning, are well worth the study.

The primary advantage to an empirical approach to human behavior is the ability to understand behavior without getting caught up in all the “ he or she thinks”. No one knows what someone “thinks”. Consciousness can be “messy”.”

I fully agree with you.

We are complete prisoners of our instincts, our inherently egocentric, subjective program, which tries to gain maximum selfish pleasures out of any situation while running the furthest away from any painful stimulus.

As a result we can be easily trained, manipulated by those who understand this basic layer in us, which politicians, marketing and the media is exploiting in a very sophisticated manner in our days. On the other hand even those who manipulate remain on the same “subhuman" level, serving their own inherent, basic instincts.

Our real, truly conscious, Human development starts when we start learning how to rise above the unconscious, instinctive animal, in order to consciously, purposefully harness, lead the “raw animal" in us, which senses only itself, and the illusory reality it projects around itself according to the default egocentric, subjective perception.

For this unique Human development we need a unique empirical natural science, educational process, which can give us more realistic, practical and effective tools, methods than what material, behavioral psychology provides.


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Zsolt Hermann

I am a Hungarian-born Orthopedic surgeon presently living in New Zealand, with a profound interest in how mutually integrated living systems work.