Like a rat with a book
I've struggled through 50 pages and have no inclination to pick it back up again. Ever.
Logically, I would return it to the library, choose something else, and get on with my life. Instead, I marked my page, put it aside, and ... haven't read anything for nearly two weeks.
I did this without thinking of course. For me, starting a book - especially a well reviewed one like this - creates a compunction to finish it. Same with movies. A movie has to be truly offensive for me to stop partway through (I'm looking at you Natural Born Killers).
One might say I have relentless optimism, always assuming that something is just about to get good if only I'd stick it out a little longer. One might also say I have a failure to learn because seriously, how many books get better after 50 or 100 pages? Or movies after the 45 minute mark?
A few do. And therein lies the problem.
Psychologists will tell you that animals don't manage these situations any better than I do. Unpredictable rewards are a sure way to get a rat or a dog or a Vegas gambler to do more and more of what you want.
Somehow that doesn't make me feel better.
So will I weigh things logically, put the book aside, and move onto something I'll enjoy more?
Of course! Right after the next chapter ...
Skinner box diagram courtesy of Andreas1