Skinner (1974) also recognized the concepts of purpose and intention, but agam, he cautioned agamst attributing behavior to them. Purpose and intention exist within the skin, but they are not subject to direct outside scrutiny. A felt, ongoing purpose may itself be reinforcing. For example, if you believe that your purpose for jogging is to feel better and live longer, then this thought per se acts as a reinforcing stimulus, especially while undergoing the drudgery of joggmg or when trying to explam your motivation to a nonrunner.
A person may "intend" to see a movie Friday evening because viewing similar films has been reinforcing. At the time the person intends to go to the movie, she feels a physical condition within the body and labels it an "intention." What are called intentions or purposes, therefore, are physically felt stimuli within the organism and not mentalistic events responsible for behavior. "The consequences of operant behavior are not what the behavior is now for; they are merely similar to the consequences that have shaped and maintained it" (Skinner, 1987a, p. 57).
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When over eighty years of age, the poet Bryant said that he had added more than ten years to his life by taking a simple exercise while dressing in the morning. Those who knew Bryant and the facts of his life never doubted the truth of this statement.