mánudagur, maí 02, 2005

Hér á eftir fer lýsing Skinners (1953) á leik stunduðum af sjómönnum á 18. öld.

Sailors would amuse themselves by tying several boys or younger men in a ring to a mast by their left hands, their right hands remaining free. Each boy was given a stick or whip and told to strike the boy in front of him whenever he felt himself being struck by the boy behind. The game was begun by striking one boy lightly. This boy then struck the boy ahead of him, who in turn struck the boy next ahead, and so on. Even though it was clearly in the interest of the group that all blows be gentle, the inevitable result was furious lashing. The unstable elements in this interlocking system are easy to identify. We cannot assume that each boy gave precisely the kind of blow he recieved because this is not an easy comparison to make. It is probable that he underestimated the strenght of the blows he gave. The slightest tendency to give a little harder than he recieved would produce the ultimate effect. Moreover, repeated blows probably genereate an emotional disposition in which one naturally strikes harder.

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