Ten Facts About Pigeons That May Challenge Your View (Wit Pictures)

4. Are Capable Of Superstitious Behavior

If you have ever taken an introductory psychology course, the name B.F. Skinner may sound familiar to you. You may have learned about his experiments in operant conditioning and in other aspects of behaviorism. If you’re lucky, you may have learned about his experiments involving pigeons.

In 1947, Skinner published a study in which several low-weight pigeons were placed into cages and were given food at regular intervals. The food was presented with no regard to the behavior of the pigeons, and yet, six out of eight of them displayed interesting behaviors anyways. For example, one bird would stick their head into the corners of their cage repeatedly, and another would spin counter-clockwise in their cage. Most of these behaviors were only done in certain areas of the cage. It can be concluded that these birds may have believed that performing these actions would cause them to receive food- even though they would be given food regardless of whether or not they performed these actions. This study that revealed one of the most astounding facts about pigeons, they showed that pigeons can become superstitious, just as humans can.

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