sensitive rat from here


From: 'Andrew Phelps' via Human Rights and Psychology


Subject: Re: [PsySR-humanrights] The NYT story and APA's interrogation ban

Date: Monday, August 3, 2015, 12:00 PM



Edward Tolman did numerous experiments to deconstruct the "Skinner" approach to behavior control. For instance, he showed how "rats have feelings." A simple introduction there might be here.

I'm pleased you would start to hear what [the three listmembers] are saying.


Andrew Phelps

who has lived experience with the "rat behavior" concern from studying at U.C. Berkeley



On Mon, 8/3/15, Pmj wrote:

[Three listmembers]

Thank you for responding to my thoughts on “behavioral control”, whatever that means. I think I mentioned to some of you not long ago that in around 1999 or 2000 (before 2001) I received an RFP from the federal government asking for behavioral psychologists, particularly ones with experience in the treatment of autism with shock and isolation, to design program for routine interrogations. I think it was from the FBI, but can’t remember now.

Yes, Skinner made it very clear that punishment did not “work” to shape behavior. I am not sure whether or not it is still used in clinical settings or not, but Lovaas’ experiments (and possibly others after that) seemingly made it acceptable. In settings such as prisons (especially secret ones) it probably easily slips over the fine line you describe between “reward” for social contact after isolation and “punishment” for isolation.