Monday, March 12, 2012

Everyday Classical Conditioning

Classical conditioning in everyday life is extremely common. In the area of classroom learning, classical conditioning primarily influences emotional behavior. Things that make us happy, sad, angry, etc. become associated with neutral stimuli that gain our attention. For example, if a particular academic subject or remembering a particular teacher produces emotional feelings in you, those emotions are probably a result of classical conditioning.

In addition, if you have pets and you feed them with canned food, what happens when you hit the can opener? Sure, the animals come running even if you are opening a can of green beans. They have associated the sound of the opener with their food.

Classical conditioning works with advertising too. For example, many beer ads prominently feature attractive young women wearing bikinis. The young women (Unconditioned Stimulus) naturally elicit a favorable, mildly aroused feeling (Unconditioned Response) in most men. The beer is simply associated with this effect. The same thing applies with the jingles and music that accompany many advertisements.
Perhaps the strongest application of classical conditioning involves emotion. Common experience and careful research both confirm that human emotion conditions very rapidly and easily. Particularly when the emotion is intensely felt or negative in direction, it will condition quickly.
Clearly, classical conditioning is a pervasive form of influence in our world. This is true because it is a natural feature of all humans and it is relatively simple and easy to accomplish.

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