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In three-card monte, the contestant must select the correct card out of three.  A variant of this game is the three-shell game in which the contestant bets that he or she can correctly guess under which shall a small pea has been placed.

There are many versions of this kind of act in the ABE repertory.  For example, the bird at the left was always able to select the correct card.  Not surprisingly, the card had a small mark at the top that acted as the discriminative stimulus.  Sometimes the mark was simply a very tiny nick at the top of the card that could be detected by the bird.

In the video below, the Larro® Feeds salesman demonstrates a variation of this game in which a chicken identifies the correct pot under which a ball has been placed.  Once again, the discriminative stimulus is a small mark placed upon the top of the "hot" pot.

In a variation of this task, the salesman/trainer would place different kinds of chicken feed under each of three cups and mix them up.  The chicken was trained to peck the cup under which the Larro® brand feed was hidden (well, the pot with the mark).

This early exhibit is interesting because it indicates that lay persons could be trained to be behavior modifiers.  In fact, the Brelands probably wrote the first behavior modification training manual that capitalized upon operant conditioning, positive reinforcement, and the principles that the Brelands learned from B. F. Skinner.

Photo Gallery (click on each photo to enlarge)

Video Clips Larro® Feed Sideshow Act [Fast DL: 811KB]