Re: changing jobs and e-mails addresses

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Thu 29 Sep 2005 - 01:23:48 GMT

  • Next message: Chris Taylor: "Re: changing subject a bit"

    --- Vincent Campbell <> wrote:

    > Hi Everyone,
    > After three years of having little to no time to do
    > anything but teach lots
    > of limited ability students, I am finally escaping
    > De Montfort University,
    > and going up the road to Leicester University, so I
    > will reappear on the
    > list under a new e-mail in the next few weeks, but
    > it'll still be me, and I
    > hope I'll have more time to add the occasional
    > comment (and perhaps to read
    > the growing stacks of memetics books that I've been
    > gathering but not had
    > time to read over the last couple of years)
    > insightful or otherwise (mostly
    > the latter if my past form is anything to go by).
    Well aside from a few posts lately, the list has been pretty dead...nothing but cricket chirps. I've been reading stuff that's only marginally related to memetics lately, mostly about the emergence of racialist ideas in pre-Nazi Germany (Haeckel, Chamberlain, and the pro-Aryan Frenchman Gobineau).

    Other than that I'm raising a puppy. Pretty smart rat terrier. Feisty, opinionated, but has learned several commands really quick. If dogs and wolves have a semblance of culture or at least some social order stuff (pack behavor, dominance hierarchies, etc) I wonder if they pass cultural info between themselves or learn vicariously by observation. My pooch is pretty smart, but I guess her social skills are probably not on par with *most* humans.

    I do have ideas of what I want her to do in my noggin and shape her behavior using reinforcement to get her behavior to conform to my expectations and thus establish some neural stuff in her noggin that is gradual and cumulative. Hopefully in her eyes I'm the pack leader, but I'm not too sure about that. Trying not to get too anthropomorphic, I think she's apparently got stuff in her noggin she wants me to do for her and uses whining and barking in attempt to get a response out of me, but I'm not having it. Maybe she's trying to get my behavior to conform to her expectations, whatever those are. Maybe she's trying to, being a *terrier*, establish herself as pack leader or is just plain stubborn.

    Through training dogs can learn a whole bunch of stuff and can be quite impressive in the way they grasp commands and develop a repertoire. Not quite memetic, but there's some cognitive stuff going on and definitely some operant conditioning, so it is kinda fascinating. If a dog was augmented in their learning process by watching another dog perform a trick and get rewarded, thus a bit of vicarious reinforcement, wouldn't this be in part a semblance of imitation? I wonder if dogs tend to learn better in obedience classes by observing the behavior of other dogs. OTOH maybe it's the owners who benefit more directly, if inexperienced, by learning from the people running the class, which itself might be memetic. Thus maybe the info that the dogs grasp to obey commands isn't as memetic as the info passed between their owners or gained by their owners via other means, like reading books or watching videos on dog training.

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