Pigeons as Trained Observers in the War on Cancer

Pigeons may be as good as some bad radiologists, in some ways, maybe, suggests this new study: “Pigeons (Columba livia) as Trainable Observers of Pathology and Radiology Breast Cancer Images,” Richard M. Levenson, Elizabeth A. Krupinski, Victor M. Navarro, and Edward A. Wasserman, PLoS ONE, 10(11): e0141357. (Thanks to Ig Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Oberzaucher for […]

Kinect and pigeon behavior

Technology has moved beyond anything B.F. Skinner had available when he did his imaginative pigeon-behavior experiments. This study tells of the latest advance: “A Kinect-based system for automatic recording of some pigeon behaviors,” Damian M. Lyons , James S. MacDonall, Kelly M. Cunningham, Behavior Research Methods, December 2015, Volume 47, Issue 4, pp 1044-1054.  (Thanks to Andrew Caines […]

They trained chickens to play baseball, and then some

Psychologist B.F. Skinner’s operant conditioning work inspired the work of Marian Breland Bailey. Bailey’s work inspired this study: “Marian Breland Bailey: The Mouse Who Reinforced,”  John N. Marr, Arkansas Historical Quarterly. Vol. 61, No. 1 (Spring, 2002), pp. 59-79. Marr writes: Marian and her first husband, Keller Breland, had become the most experienced and accomplished […]

Pop psychology: Skinner and Redenbacher

Two psychology tidbits, both involving Skinner and Redenbacher: First: Robin Abrahams, our psychology editor, notes that behaviorism psychologist B.F. Skinner and popcorn magnate Orville Redenbacher resembled each other [see photos here]. [NOTE: Can pigeons can be trained to distinguish photographs of one from photographs of the other? The experiment has not yet been done.] Second: A […]