50, 100 and 150 Years Ago; December 2008; Scientific American Magazine; by Daniel C. Schlenoff; 1 Page(s)
EVOLUTION OF BEHAVIOR¿ "But is it not possible that beneath all the variations of individual behavior there lies an inner structure of inherited behavior which characterizes all the members of a given species, genus or larger taxonomic group¿just as the skeleton of a primordial ancestor characterizes the form and structure of all mammals today? Yes, it is possible! Let me give an example which, while seemingly trivial, has a bearing on this question. Anyone who has watched a dog scratch its jaw or a bird preen its head feathers can attest to the fact that they do so in the same way. A bird also scratches with a hind limb (that is, its claw), and in doing so it lowers its wing and reaches its claw forward in front of its shoulder. One might think that it would be simpler for the bird to move its claw directly to its head without moving its wing, which lies folded out of the way on its back. I do not see how to explain this clumsy action unless we admit that it is inborn. ¿Konrad Z. Lorenz"
ROBO TEACHER¿ "Can teaching be mechanized? B. F. Skinner, Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, believes that it must be if the rising worldwide demand for education is to be met. He has designed and built a number of `teaching machines¿ which not only present material to the student (as do conventional audio-visual teaching aids) but continually test the student on the information he is acquiring. Skinner and his associates have used machines of this type in teaching part of a course in human behavior
to nearly 200 Harvard and Radcliffe College undergraduates."