Can a New Ford Hybrid Re-Wire Your Brain?

According to the theory of operant conditioning, the behavior of living creatures is influenced by one of four outcomes to a behavior -- a reward is received (positive reinforcement), a punishment is received (positive punishment), a reward is taken away (negative punishment), or a punishment is lifted (negative reinforcement). Reinforcement will make a behavior likely to repeat, while punishment will make a behavior less likely to repeat.

Can the same technique you use when you give your dog a treat for sitting be used to teach you how to drive a hybrid car more efficiently?

It can, and Ford is!

It's called Efficiency Leaves, and Ford hybrids, like the Fusion Energi, all use it. It is simply a digital representation of a leafy vine that grows or dies depending on how efficiently you drive the car. Drive efficiently by accelerating and braking smoothly, and you nourish the plant and watch your dashboard garden grow (positive reinforcement). Slam on the brakes, and speed, and the leaves wither away (negative punishment).

It's a subtle use of operant conditioning that can quickly alter your driving habits to use less fuel -- if you care about the survival of a fake vine.

Would Ford's video-game-inspired tricks work on your brain? Take a new Ford hybrid for a test drive at Richmond Ford Lincoln and find out!

Categories: Green, News

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