Easier Said than Done

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Edward Lee Thorndike's early studies with animal behavior led him to declare his Law of Effect. The Law of Effect states that the greater the satisfaction or discomfort, the greater the strengthening or weakening of the bond. This is no surprise to me that the effect a response has or has had in the past is a powerful determiner of whether or not the response will happen again in the future. However, I am amazed that this simple idea can account for a much larger volume of behavior that we typically don't give it credit for.

The Law of Effect is an important idea because it's a simple concept that can be applied to more complex situations. The responses we get from situations followed by satisfaction that are strengthened, and the responses we get followed by discomfort that are weakened. Every day we seem to get a sense of satisfaction or discomfort from various different situations we are in. For example when I'm around my friends I feel accepted and comfortable and when I'm around a new group of people that I don't know at all I tend to feel a little uncomfortable. If the new set of people continues to be uncomfortable to be around, I consciously decide to not associate myself with them anymore or put myself in a situation where I'm with them. This shows that the feeling of discomfort present when I'm with that new set of people weakens the bond between us. Another example of a feeling of satisfaction would be when I study hard for a test and I'm rewarded with a good grade. This accomplishment makes me happy and I feel a sense of satisfaction for my actions. My effective study habits that lead to the good grade will then be repeated for the next time I have a test because of the satisfying results I got the first time around. It's the decisions we make that lead to the feelings we have, and directly influence our future actions.

In conclusion I question the complexity of keeping things simple to understand human behavior and help people change their behavior. I simply wonder if The Law of Effect applies to everyone. The reason for my uncertainty is because I know a lot of people that do things that have negative consequences but hey don't change their ways. Either they just don't care or they are not mentally capable of figuring out what changes need to be made. Do you agree that taking into account the consequences of our behaviors and implementing changes may actually be a lot easier said than done?

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This page contains a single entry by zilk0020 published on October 14, 2011 2:49 PM.

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