Behaviorism and Me

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circusmice.jpg I think, five years from now, I will have pets of my own, and they will be very well-educated thanks to operant conditioning techniques. I definitely was a lot more fascinated by behaviorism as presented in this course than I've ever been before. I was even inspired to tell my mother about my plans to bring mice into the house and train them to be circus performers, but for some reason she was not supportive.
I used to think behaviorism grossly oversimplifies psychology (there's a lot more to dogs than the drooling-when-they-hear-the-tone phenomenon). Now I think that even though conditioning isn't the whole story, it taps into really basic concepts of learning and helps us understand our roots as members of the animal kingdom (since conditioning works quite well on humans, too!)

Applications of conditioning in humans range all over the map, from clicker-training small children to tolerate their medical nasal spray...

...to helping adults recover from drug addictions (like we saw in the video in lecture).

Behaviorism can also be used in advertising that works consumers into a holiday-shopping frenzy, negative political ads that manipulate people into feeling an irrational sense of fear and unease when a candidate's name is mentioned, and wartime propaganda.

Knowledge of classical and operant conditioning can hopefully empower citizens to educate themselves and others more effectively, but to also realize when they themselves are being subjected to conditioning so that they can also employ more conscious, critical processes of learning.

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This page contains a single entry by tayl0646 published on December 4, 2011 10:50 PM.

Damaging Obedience was the previous entry in this blog.

Classical and Operant Conditioning is the next entry in this blog.

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