In one particular case, Skinner decided to go random on his hungry pigeons. He dropped food into the box at completely random times, independent of any behavior on the part of the pigeons. But the behavior of the pigeons, he found, didn't stay random. After a few drops of the food, the pigeons began exhibiting certain consistent behavior. One circled counter-clockwise, another spun around in circles; seventy-five percent of them exhibited some kind of odd behavior. Skinner concluded that the pigeons had come to display 'superstitious behavior'. It was like the superstition of gamblers who believe they have a lucky hat. If the gambler wears the hat, they can't lose. If the pigeons circle the cage counter-clockwise, they will bring on food pellets.
Seems curious that this wouldn’t have been pursued as an avenue of study with other animals.
Can anyone find me a citation of such studies and does anyone know if the study has been repeated elsewhere?