carl4266: October 2011 Archives

Classical conditioning happens so often, that usually we don't even understand why we react a certain way to the things we react to. Classical conditioning is when someone or something (like an animal) reacts to a normal stimulus that was paired with another stimulus, sometimes an odd one, until we always get the same response for the previously normal stimulus, even without the odd stimulus. Have you ever reacted to something, thinking "Oh, that happens all the time"? Now think, have you ever thought about if you react to that stimulus the same way every time? For example, if we hear a bell behind us and we assume it's a bicycle, wouldn't we try to move out of the way? The original stimulus was a bell, and it was paired with the stimulus of a bike driving past us, and since we always needed to get out of the way, we assume we have to get out of the way for anything that could be a bike. This is an example of classical conditioning.

Watch the following video of classical conditioning on the very funny show the Office.

http://vimeo.com/5371237

Although this is a bit farfetched, it's not too far from the truth of how classical conditioning really works. This is such an important concept in Psychology because we can be classically conditioned to do something, with no awareness it's even happening. This makes this a source of power in many circumstances, because in the right situation we can make someone react to a stimulus in the way we program them to (a very scary thought). Classical conditioning, although not generally a part of everyday thoughts, is a very powerful force in everyday life.

I'm sure everyone has heard funny stories about sleepwalking (walking while fully asleep, the person doing it almost always completely unaware of their actions), or has even done it themselves. Sometimes people may even begin talking in their sleep, another seemingly harmless action. I personally have slept walked and talked multiple times, and at one point I even dragged (harmlessly) my best friend across the floor. Many people wouldn't consider instances like this uncommon at all. But there does come a point when this condition can become a very serious one.

People sleepwalking can unknowingly put their lives in danger, along with the lives of other people. There are many accounts of people trying to operate cars, leave the house through doors or windows, and even some people have injured or even killed others. For example, what if instead of harmlessly pulling my friend across the floor for a few feet I had pulled her down the stairs? The consequences would have been much more serious, and someone could have gotten hurt. Although instances like these may not be common, they are clearly important, because the more we can prevent things like this from happening the better.

Although not all sleepwalking can be stopped, there are things that make sleepwalking more likely to happen that we can prevent. Sleep deprivation is one of these things that can make it occur more often. Also, alarms on doors and windows at night can prevent a person whose sleepwalking from leaving the house and possibly harming themselves. It may seem silly to take precautions when nothing bad has happened, but it's better to be thankful than regretting if something ever does.

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This page is an archive of recent entries written by carl4266 in October 2011.

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