May 29th, 2008

The Road Between Frustration and Panic Is Paved With Good Intentions Gone Awry

I have largely refrained from venting about the status of my leg here, lest my long-time readers be reminded that I was once awash in poor health. But I'm in a mood to complain, so you'll have to bear with me. Yesterday my leg was the best it has been in over a week. Not great, mind you, but much improved. I was able to slip on my Vans-style "teenager shoes" -- as my daughter calls them -- for the first time since Sunday before last. And I walked with less pain. Maybe I overdid it, though. Or perhaps it's just that my body has entered a new stage in its reabsorption of all that "material" that had been collecting between my knee and toes, because this morning my foot is more swollen than it was yesterday and I'm getting those head rushes again that nearly sent me to the E.R. last Friday. I think it's time for a banana.


From B.F. Skinner, Beyond Freedom and Dignity--
Genuine positive reinforcement can be misused because the sheer quantity of reinforcers is not proportional to the effect on behavior.

Reinforcement is usually only intermittent, and the schedule of reinforcement is more important than the amount received. Certain schedules generate a great deal of behavior in return for very little reinforcement, and the possibility has naturally not been overlooked by would-be controllers (34).