I am a poor college student, but I haven't eaten ramen noodles since my junior year of high school. And why shouldn't I be eating ramen? It's cheap, fills me up easily, super easy and fast to make, and it's easy to find. After reading the Lilienfield text I made the connection that I have developed a conditioned taste aversion to ramen noodles. My one bad experience with them has turned me off from ever eating ramen again. It's been almost 3 years since my last bowl of ramen, a food I used to consume with regularity.
Martin Seligman and I share something in common. We both had a bad experience after eating a meal that caused us both to lose our love of a food which we were once quite fond of. In the 1970s Seligman discovered conditioned taste aversions after the sauce béarnaise made him quite sick. The Lilienfield text says, "classical conditioning can lead us to develop avoidance reactions to the taste of food" (229). The textbook notes at least 3 differences between conditioned taste aversions and the classically conditioning exemplified in Pavlov's experiments:
1. Conditioned taste aversions require just one trial pairing between the CS and the UCS to occur. I can attest to this because it only took one bad experience with ramen to keep my away from it forever. Before I vomited after eating the ramen noodles, all the other numerous times I ate ramen proved to be nothing but satisfying.
2. The delay between CS and UCS in conditioned taste aversions can be as long as 6-8 hours. This makes sense because it took a bit for the ramen noodles to (not) digest accordingly within my body. I ate the ramen noodles for an early dinner and didn't realize how little I enjoyed them until the middle of the night.
3. Conditioned taste aversions are incredibly specific and display little evidence of stimulus generalization. In my mind it's hard to get any more specific than ramen noodles. Because the only really bad experience I've had with food is with ramen noodles, ramen noodles and only ramen noodles are extremely unappetizing to me. To touch on the lack of stimulus generalization, I still greatly enjoyed chicken-flavored broth, soups, soups with noodles in them, and plain noodles. That being said, however, I will never eat another package of ramen noodles ever again.
My conditioned taste aversion is interesting because although it ruined a once tasty dish, it also reminds me of the "dangers" of ramen noodles. Granted they are not actually dangerous, but it's pretty neat that my body is aware enough to raise a red flag every time the possibility of eating ramen comes up. I just hope I don't fall prey to more bad experiences with foods I love!