Pigeons, humans, and why do we start civil wars

Nice text I just found on global guerrillas blog :

We expect the universe to make sense, to be consistent, and when the contingencies change we get testy. Interestingly, this is not unique to humans. In one experiment, two pigeons were placed in a cage. One of them was tethered to the back of the cage while the other was free to run about as it wished. Every 30 seconds, a hopper would provide a small amount of food (a fixed interval schedule, as described earlier). The free pigeon could reach the food but the tethered one could not, and the free pigeon happily ate all the food every time. After an hour or so of this, the hopper stops providing food. The free pigeon continues to check the hopper every 30 seconds for a while, but when it’s clear that the food isn’t coming, it will go to the back of the cage and beat up the other pigeon. Now, the interesting thing is that the tethered pigeon has never eaten the food and the free pigeon has no reason to think the other is responsible for the food stopping. The frustration is irrational, but real nonetheless. John Hopson, a game researcher at Microsoft.”

Well said. This easily explains the root of civil war in former Yugoslavia. We couldn’t solve real life problems but we for sure knew how to burn kill and destroy. Sad.

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