A Fun Example of Instinctive Thinking

by Roger Bourke White Jr., copyright July 2019


A fun example of instinctive thinking is how dogs play go fetch.

When their human has a ball in hand and indicates they are ready to throw it, the dog turns in the direction they are going to throw it moments before the throw actually happens and takes off running. This is the result of instinctive thinking -- dogs have been chasing balls for so many generations that it is hardwired into their thinking to start the chase as soon as there is indication a chase is about to begin.

And this also shows how instinctive thinking can be abused. The easy abuse is faking the throw -- the dog heads out but there is no ball to catch.

This is classic instinctive thinking in action.

An interesting mystery is: How has this instinct benefited dogs' survival? What was happening all through the Stone Age that made dogs who jumped the gun on fetching survive better than those that didn't?



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