Thursday, 5 April 2012


Task. Paraphrase the text below.

To a psychologist, lots of human rituals look a lot like the automatic behaviours developed by Skinner's pigeons or Dickinson's rats. Chunks of behaviour that do not truly have an effect on the world, but which get stuck in our repertoire of actions.
We cling to these habits because we – or ancient animal parts of our brains – do not want to risk finding out what happens if we change. The rituals survive despite seeming irrational because they are coded in parts of our brains, which are designed by evolution not to think about reasons. They just repeat what seemed to work last time. This explains why having personal rituals is a normal part of being human. It is part of our inheritance as intelligent animals, a strategy that works in the long-term, even though it clearly does not make sense for every individual act.

Stafford T. Sporting superstitions: Why do we have them? 27 March 2012 [interactive] [accessed 05 April 2012]

1 comment:

  1. It is fun once in a while to take time and observe the behavior of our own body and the self-defense mechanism, which is known as reflexes. A phenomenon of the body which was installed into us from the beginning of mankind till this day. Reflexes are not visible to the naked eye as they are a reactions to a threat which may cause damage to our body. Based on unpleasant experience, the muscles react instantly, trying to prevent any harm that, directly or not, may cause serious injuries. For example: a person holds his hand above the stove, waiting for it to heat up and if his hand is too low, than his body will automatically react by instantly moving away his hand from the stove, preventing any more damage, that may have been caused.
    This “ritual” may look clumsy but this is a normal way to deal with small, unpredictable dangers that may occur without us even noticing.