Episode 11: What Does Your Bowling Style Say About You?

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In this video episode we look at superstitions and how they develop. We’ll start with your bowling style. Your bowling style actually have a lot to say about superstitions – how you get them and why you keep them. For psychology students, here’s a good example of operant conditioning at work in the real world. And by the way, why do you keep pressing that elevator button?. We’ll look at that too.


Resources for this episode

  • From Academic Earth: Professor Bloom opens with a brief discussion of the value and evolutionary basis of unconscious processing. The rest of this lecture introduces students to the theory of Behaviorism, particularly the work of prominent behaviorist, B. F. Skinner. Different types of learning are discussed in detail, as well as reasons why behaviorism has been largely displaced as an adequate theory of human mental life.

  • Comments

    1. Fred Annesley says:

      I am presenting a lecture on Positive reinforcement to a social group of dog trainers who help the public develop obedient dogs. I saw your presentation on youtube and would like permission to use it as an introduction to my talk in two weeks time.

      Thank you in anticipation.

    2. Fred,

      Absolutely. Very interesting use of the video. Feel free. Michael

    3. Another great example of this is the way people rub coins which get rejected by a vending machine against the machines surface before inserting them again – which has no effect whatsover – but seems to “cause” the coin to be accepted by the machine. The funny thing is, even if you know it’s just a stupid superstition you act out, the process still soothes you in a way – at least in my case :) I don’t know why exactly, my guess would be that temporary suspension of dis-belief can actually succesfully creates the delusion that you’re doing something worthwhile — and after all it’s better to be superstitious than to hang your luck on the whims of bowling balls, buttons and vending machines! ;)

    4. I’ve heard about people doing that – rubbing coins against the machine – but I never did it myself. However, I do admit to still pushing the elevator button repeatedly from time to time. It’s so weird!

    5. Hi there, I’m a student presenting a project on superstition and behaviorism in my Anthropology class. I found your video through a Google search and would like permission to use it in my presentation.

    6. Hi Layne: sure, feel free to use the video in your presentation. If you’d let everyone know where you got the video from I’d appreciate it. Thanks for asking.

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