Skinner – would you let him educate your children?

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Taken from the Smithsonian Institute HistoryWired Project

“Nose Cone, Pigeon-Guided Missile
1944

From Pavlov’s dogs to Skinner’s pigeons
This experimental device was developed during World War II by behavioral psychologist B.F. Skinner, who experimented with harnessing pigeons’ pecking movements to steer missiles. Skinner divided this nose cone into three compartments, and proposed strapping a pigeon in each one. As a bomb headed towards earth, each pigeon would see the target on its screen. By pecking at the image, the birds would activate a guidance system that would keep the bomb on the right path until impact. Skinner’s idea received initial support, but the U.S. military finally dismissed it as impractical.”

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