Not just a witty ‘transatlantic’ autobiography from a talented English lower-class kid who made his name in the USA, but also a learned and chatty romp through the subject he has almost made his own.
Born into a relatively humble "odd family out" in wartime England, and with a natural resistance to regimentation, John Staddon was the precocious self-driven polymath who first studied chemical engineering but switched to psychology because there were only 4 to 5 classes a week.
By way of his wide-ranging interests in biology, eugenics, economics, philosophy, and behavioural neuroscience in animals (as well as humans) John Staddon introduces his important work on how animals learn. He discusses the still relatively new and exciting field of experimental psychology, explains theoretical research on interval timing, and debates "superstition" and operant behaviour in rats, pigeons, fish - and people. Here is a most entertaining life story interwoven with expansive thoughts across the marvellously wide spectrum of behavioural psychology.