As if endowed with powers of reasoning, a mechanical “rat” devised by Dr. Stevenson Smith, University of Washington psychologist, threads its way through an artificial maze like those used to study the behavior of living rats. The three-wheeled, electric-powered device moves along a grooved path that divides at several points, obliging the “rat” to choose which direction to follow. If it takes the wrong turn and enters a blind alley, mechanical feelers cause it to halt, retrace its journey, and try again until the whole course is negotiated successfully. The odd model is designed to show how automatic reflexes differ from thinking processes.
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