字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 Hey, Mind Field! Vanessa here. Just kidding. My name is actually Michael. That part when I said that I was Vanessa... that was a lie. So you're welcome. Humans love lies. More precisely, we love things that aren't entirely true-- because we have to. It's often all we have. Completely proving something can be difficult, if not impossible. So instead, we have the faith of the believer, the confidence interval of the scientist. What we think we know, we really only believe we know. On this episode of Mind Field, I'm going to take a look at a kind of lie we tell ourselves. And I'm going to use belief to turn a lie...into a truth. ( theme music playing ) Michael: If I'm going to harness the power of belief, I need to find a good way to study belief and behavior. So I'm paying a visit to UCLA's Dr. Aaron Blaisdell, who I worked with on last season's "Greater Good" Trolley Problem episode. ( train whistle blowing ) Dr. Blaisdell, great to see you again. Nice to see you again, Michael. Thank you for your help last season, but I've got this new thing I want to look into. I started thinking a lot about belief and how we form them. Specifically beliefs about what causes our behavior. I want to be able to break it down and just look at how people respond to the environment around them and how it changes their belief. Well, a Skinner Box is a great place to start. because what I tell my students is, a Skinner Box, for a psychologist like myself, is like a test tube for a chemist. Dr. Skinner, what are you doing with this pigeon? I'm getting ready to demonstrate a fundamental principle of behavior. Michael: Invented by Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner, a Skinner Box is a chamber in which animals can be isolated and exposed to carefully controlled stimuli. In one of his landmark experiments, Skinner released food to pigeons in the boxes at regular intervals. What he found was that the pigeons seemed to believe that whatever they happened to be doing just before the food came actually caused the food to appear, and would then repeat that behavior over and over-- for example, hopping around or spinning in circles. Skinner called this "superstitious behavior." So what do you want to do-- what's your dream test? Basically a replication of Skinner's superstitious experiment, but instead of with pigeons, with people. I would love to see: will people develop their own sort of superstitious rituals or beliefs. Have we done this with people before? I don't think such a rigorous test of this has been done. I think primarily, from the literature I know, it's pretty much pigeons. B.F. Skinner's work showed that if you regularly deliver a reward to a pigeon, regardless of how it actually acts, the pigeon won't figure that out. Instead, the pigeon will develop superstitious behaviors as if it thinks it is in control, despite the lack of any evidence that it is. But what about humans? Watching people form new superstitions might show us how beliefs are created, but here's the thing: You can't just put a person in a Skinner Box. People are quite clever, and so instead, along with Dr. Aaron Blaisdell, I have developed a much more elaborate ruse. Welcome to Victory Vault. ♪ Michael: "Victory Vault" is a fake game show we made up to draw our unsuspecting subjects into taking part in a human Skinner Box. To accomplish this, we rented a sound stage and constructed what appeared to be a game show set, but was really our study. We outfitted the room with a checkboard floor, a button that serves no purpose, multiple cameras and a live microphone, all of which have absolutely no connection to winning the game. We also included an ATM slot on the wall where, instead of food, dollar bills would be fed into the room at regular intervals. Meanwhile, I would be playing the role of the executive producer of this new game show testing out the concept for a television network. Our first subject is Rebecca. Yes, I know nothing. I'm excited. Excellent, excellent. Well, I'll you some things that you need to know. One, you will get to keep all of the money that you get today. The object of the game is to collect as much money as possible. - OK. ( laughs ) - Now, you will have ten minutes, and that's all I'm going to tell you. - Go. OK? - OK. - Rebecca: OK. - Michael (over loudspeaker): All right, Rebecca, begin in three, two, one, go! Blaisdell: Of course, right to the button, but she's not fixated on it, she's definitely looking around there. Rebecca: I'm trying to figure out if there's, like, a puzzle, or what this is about. Am I supposed to just get out? No, not supposed to get out. OK. Oh! OK, there's money. Is that one clue? Rebecca: I've earned one dollar. ( laughs ) See? She's "earned" one dollar. Earned. I mean, she thinks she caused it to happen. Let's see. I think I might be onto something - with this door, maybe? - Uh-huh. - OK. - Blaisdell: The second dollar bill came out really shortly after she manipulated the door. That's what Skinner would call "adventitious reinforcement." She accidentally just happened to be doing something, - and now look. - Hello? Look, it reinforced that behavior, look how strong it's become. Now she's doing a lot with the door, and this dancing, just like one of Skinner's pigeons. - Anything? - See? Michael: For the first two minutes, Rebecca believed a specific combination of the door and the button were triggering the money. She had created a superstitious ritual. But when her old ritual ceased to line up with the reward being delivered, she started exploring new actions. Would you like to keep sending money? Is it something with this? Hello, dollar bill. Michael: This change in Rebecca's behavior indicates that she stopped believing that pressing the button is associated with money coming out. Skinner called this "extinction." ( singing ) ♪ Keep sending money, what if I dance? ♪ Michael: Not it seems she believes her new actions might connect to the reward. - Five, four, three, - ( Rebecca yelps ) - two, one... - Let's try coming out again. - zero, stop. - And... OK. I don't think I solved this mystery. ( laughs ) Michael: Rebecca! You got some money, huh? - I did! - Come take a seat. So, first of all, how'd it go? Oh! Very confusing. I wasn't able to fully figure it out, but it was something to do with the 20 white squares on the floor. Something to do with the red button as well, like a pattern, maybe? Oh! Maybe I should have tried clicking on the button 20 times. - Yes! - OK, you wanna know what makes the money come out? Yes. It's probably something really crazy. - It's just 30 seconds passing. - Blaissdell: Yep. - It has nothing to do with what you do. - Ohh! You would have gotten the same amount, but you could just sat on the floor and done nothing. - ( laughing ) - Yeah. This is actually a psychological experiment based on some work done by B.F. Skinner, and we are looking at the kinds of behaviors people invent that they think controls the money. - But I think this was fascinating. - Blaisdell: Yeah. - And you really do get to keep the money. - Yay! - Rebecca, thank you for your help today. - Cool. Thank you, guys. Michael: Rebecca's rituals seemed to indicate that she thought performing for the camera would work the best. Her beliefs about TV shows informed the kinds of superstitions she would create. But will other people develop the same superstitions? Or will it depend on the beliefs and expectations they already have? The object of Victory Vault is to collect as much money as you can. Oh, OK. Well, let me take these accessories off there really quickly. As soon as that door closes, your ten minutes starts. I don't get to ask questions? Not on Victory Vault. Michael: See you in ten minutes. All right. Where's the cash? It's like an escape room. Am I supposed to push this? Blaisdell: Some people really wanted instructions. Michael: Yeah. Contestant: I feel like if I push this, the time is gonna be up. Michael: Like Rebecca, all of our subjects immediately gravitated to the useless button. That button is so salient. Push the button? Oh, shit! ( Michael, Blaisdell laugh ) He was a little surprised at that. Push the button? Oh! OK, I think I get it. Is it push the button? Will I push the button? Am I supposed to push the button? ( rapping ) ♪ If you're gon' push the button, then you're goin' with the button ♪ ♪ And I'm pushin' on the button-- ♪ Michael: It was clear that most of the superstitions began with the button, but evolved into something else very quickly, including this guy, whose superstitious behavior was doing absolutely nothing. Blaisdell: He's just standing there. Michael: Yeah. Will he do something...? ( chuckling ) Maybe taking the money is...bad? I know strippers get singles for dancing. Blaisdell: Is he gonna dance? I hope he doesn't strip for us. I can't dance like that. Maybe I can sweet talk the machine. It's just giving me money at this point. I'm not doing anything. ( laughs ) Blaisdell: He's no fool. He's not really showing much superstitious behavior. Even in Skinner's experiments, not all the pigeons showed superstitious behaviors. Michael: Obviously there's a game, I called it a game show. But the money's just piling up like it's contagious. Oh, look! Uh-- Oh. He really doesn't want to push it. Come on. Press it four times, out comes the money. - Press it four times? - Out comes the money. ( contestant laughing ) Press it four times, out comes the money. She believes that pressing the button is necessary, is a cause. And the ritual consists of a few actions strung together. Five, four, three... two...one, stop. Can I push the button? - Time is up. - Damn. Stay where you are. We will see you very soon. I feel like I was supposed to push the button. Michael: Pigeons don't enter a Skinner Box with nearly as many preconceived notions as humans do. Humans come in with a rich diversity of expectations. Some think they need to perform for the camera, or make the producers laugh. This guy thought that the secret was to just be different. Hold it! Oh, I thought-- Take a seat. - What was that? - Michael : Great work.