Positive Reinforcement and Love
“There is another point of similarity,” Frazier said at last when he saw that I was not going to speak. “I don’t know whether you’ll understand this, Burris. I expect you’ll laugh. But try to forget your professional cynicism.”
He dropped the telescope and hesitated for a moment. Then he flung his hand loosely in a sweeping gesture which embraced all of Walden Two.
“These are my children, Burris,” he said, almost in a whisper. “I love them.”
He got to his feet and started back along the ledge. I followed carefully. He turned into the underbrush and waited for me to catch up. He was embarrassed and rather confused.
“What is love,” he said, with a shrug, “except another name for the use of positive reinforcement?”
“Or vice versa,” I said.
B. F. Skinner, Walden Two, 1948/1962, pp. 299-300.
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