Me and the Pigeons

October 27, 2010

A researcher (University of Kentucky psychology professor Thomas Zentall) studying the gambling behaviour of pigeons has – so far – concluded two things:

(1) Pigeons will gamble, despite the odds being against them. Pigeons were presented with the choice between two options: (a) provided a certain three food-pellets, (b) gave an average of 2 pellets, but featured a random bounty of between 1-5 pellets. Despite its poverty (and conventional biology-wisdom that claims that animals would not engage in gambling), most pigeons chose option (b).

(2) Pigeons who are bored are more prone to falling for the lure of gambling. In a follow up study, pigeons were kept in one of two conditions: (a) a cage without stimulation, (b) a large enclosure with toys and other pigeons.  Group (a) was significantly more prone to gambling.

How many of us are bored out of our minds?…
Or, at very least, under-stimulated — rotting below human potential?

When thinking about how our societies should be organized, who considers boredom?

uncredited photo (pest removal site)

photo by Jan Helle (Flikr)


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