Randomness for Self-Improvement

A quick Google search of 'random reinforcement self help' and 'using randomness self help' returns nothing useful. Actually, the first set of terms returns this paper as its first hit. Something I'm interested in reading, and first discovered through Shalizi. Most of the other hits involve types of reenforcement schedules, including random ones.

But nothing in particular about actively designing a random reinforcement schedule. Which seems odd, since one of the best reinforcement schedules I've ever been subjected to (subject myself to?) has been Facebook's. The arrival of wall posts can surely be modeled as some sort of random process (that would be an interesting project, in fact, and would only require mining my inbox). And their arrivals have induced in me a behavior, common to most of Facebook users (I would imagine), of returning to Facebook several times a day. Interestingly, it doesn't seem to matter how infrequent the arrivals of these posts are; in the language of Poisson processes, the rate parameter \(\lambda\) seems to be inconsequential. Though I do find myself increasing my visits to the site immediately after I post something, obviously because that increases \(\lambda\) (as such, I suppose I should be talking about \(\lambda(t)\)) and thus my anticipation of a response.

I have a few ideas for behaviors that might be diminished by random reinforcement. But not many that would be improved by it. This isn't a new idea, either, as evidenced by this entry. But the idea might warrant further investigation.

And probably a more careful literature review than googling.