Good morning from our little corner of this ball of rock circling the sun at just under ten times the speed of sound.  For simplified math, take 93 million miles, multiply by 3.14 and that gives 292020000 miles (if the circumference was circular, which it isn’t, so the actual number is higher) divide by 365 days, 24 hours, and 3600 seconds per hour and you have 9.259 miles per second.  Sound moves at .198 miles per second.  That is why one can count the number of seconds from the lighting flash to the sound of thunder, divide by 5 and calculate the number of miles away the lightening was.  Enough of that rabbit trail.  We are getting ready to travel to another city across Texas.  Well, not too far across Texas as we will be back this evening.  Kidinbox came for a visit and it is time to return balance to the force.

I have been chewing on a concept recently, and it was brought to mind with the admonition to eat the black-eyed peas yesterday.  I was informed this was for good luck.  The way my mind works, it wasn’t too long a stretch for me to imagine all of the sports figures and their antics prior to a game, the particular mitt, sweat band, slap on a pole, pair of socks, etc I have heard over the years.  Let’s back up into a psychologist’s office for a little bit.

Researchers experimented with rewards after various conditions and recorded the behavior of the animal in question.  The experiment in question was a food pellet which was was provided after a certain period of time.  The observed behavior was a bird walking in circles and then approaching the food cup.  Obviously, the behavior was rewarded at some point by a food pellet, and the bird kept the performing the behavior even though in actual practice, th ; e food pellet distribution was unrelated to the behavior and in this case was only relative to the time from the last distribution.  The bird, uninstructed on the parameters of the experiment, started and maintained behavior which seemed related to obtaining food.

Are humans different?  We have much more complex interactions and abilities to experiment and learn from environments.  (Let me note black-eyed peas and ball gloves.)  It goes back several millennium and I will pull out a portion of Jeremiah 44:17-18:

But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.

18 But since we left off to burn incense to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, we have wanted all things, and have been consumed by the sword and by the famine.

The actual behavior related to their relationship to God was ignored because of the association with the behavior to the results.  This brings up an additional factor – the reward’s proximity to the behavior.  It’s useless to scold a dog for behavior done the previous day.  There is no association of the punishment (negative reward in this case) to the behavior.  The common understanding is that the results of behavior must be immediate for instruction to occur.  The best game was performed by the athlete after he slapped the pole in the hall twice on his way to the field.  What are the odds he will perform that behavior again?  Is there really any association with that behavior and the performance on the field?  Not really.  The one association I can ascertain would be the emotional level calmness related to the behavior performed.  Approaching from that angle, one could argue for any behaviors as they are each emotionally tied to the athlete’s performance.

It’s time to burn some earth-provided fuels, so I will have to drop the thought right there for the moment.