A lot of us know what can happen when we get hungry. We get grumpy, irritable and sometimes nasty. There’s even a name for this phenomenon: “Hangry, which is a combination of the words hungry and angry,” says psychologist from Ohio State University.
Bushman recruited 107 couples to study the relationship between blood sugar levels and anger. He assessed the quality of their relationships and taught them how to measure their blood sugar. Then he sent each volunteer home with something unusual: a voodoo doll and 51 pins.
After three weeks, Bushman and his team assessed the damage done to each doll. Volunteers who had low levels of blood glucose stuck more pins in the voodoo dolls than those who had high levels of blood glucose, Bushman and his team reported Monday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Volunteers with lower levels of blood sugar stuck more pins in voodoo dolls of their spouses than people with higher levels. Courtesy of Brad Bushman
All of us have something we are afraid of, a vice we turn to when experiencing distress or unpleasant situations, but we hardly ever question these behaviors. Why do we fear “irrational” things tha…
All of us have something we are afraid of, a vice we turn to when experiencing distress or unpleasant situations, but we hardly ever question these behaviors. Why do we fear “irrational” things that are extremely unlikely or cannot hurt us? Why do we rely on something, an action, a substance, a feeling, to determine our emotions and activities? Throughout our lives we have experienced conditioning that has taught us to behave in a certain way to specific stimuli. Essentially, we learn what we are afraid of, and what we use as vices. There are two forms of learning which enable us to develop phobias and addictions. These conditioning processes over time will instill behaviors in us that eventually become second nature and remain unquestioned.
The first form of learning is called Classical Conditioning, also called Respondent Conditioning. This type of learning includes an introduction of a new stimulus, to create a reaction that a pervious stimulus created unconsciously. This learning process involves three different factors, First, an original stimulus, called the unconditioned stimulus, second, an unconscious reaction to the original stimulus, the unconditioned response, and third, a new stimulus to be paired with the original, called first the neutral stimulus and becoming the conditioned stimulus (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). When an original stimulus creates a reaction, for example becoming nauseous when riding in a car for a long period of time, the reaction is created without thinking. When a new stimulus is paired with the original, and the reaction continues , the reaction will become conditioned to the new factor, in this case eating. The unconditioned stimulus, riding in the car creates the unconditioned response, becoming nauseous. When the unconditioned stimulus is paired with the neutral stimulus, the food, the unconditioned response will continue. When Classical Conditioning has taken place, the neutral stimulus will create the unconditioned response without the unconditioned stimulus present. In the case of car rides, food and nausea, the specific food eaten has become the conditioned stimulus, creating nausea, the conditioned response, creating a nauseous feeling when the individual has experienced Classical Conditioning.
Ivan Pavlov created the theory of Classical Conditioning with his dog. He noticed that when food was presented, his dog would salivate. Pavlov paired a bell with the food each time he presented it to his dog. Afterwards, when the dog heard the sound of the bell, he would begin to salivate. In this case the unconditioned stimulus is the food, and the unconditioned response is salivation, the neutral stimulus is the bell, which later becomes the conditioned stimulus, with salivation as the conditioned response (Kowalski & Westen, 2011).
The second form of learning is called Operant Conditioning. This learning process involves stimuli, called reinforcements, which enable or disable a behavior to continue. There is both positive and negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement includes a reward when a specific behavior is displayed, enabling the behavior to continue, as the subject desires a continuous reward system. Negative reinforcement eliminates consequences to influence the behavior desired, as the subject wants more negative consequences removed. The opposite of reinforcement also is valid, called punishment. When a behavior is displayed that is not desired, a negative response, an introduction of punishment, will discourage the undesired behavior to continue (Kowalski & Westen, 2011).
A great deal of these processes involved with Operant Conditioning are displayed in parenting. When a child is rewarded, he will realize that if he continues the same behavior, he will be rewarded again. This reward system is apparent with both negative and positive reinforcement. The same goes for punishment, when a child gets put in time out, spanked, or has something taken away, he understands that the behavior he is portraying does not lead to desired outcomes.
Both Classical and Operant Conditioning happen in our daily lives, but how does it relate on a more extreme level? We see television shows where people have to face their biggest fears, and how celebrities and others are plagued by the symptoms of withdrawal and addiction. The reason phobias and addictions become second nature to us is because of Classical and Operant Conditioning.
Phobias are formed when a specific stimulus becomes associated, through a specific situation or occurrence, with fear, pain, or danger. The process of forming this fear happens through Classical Conditioning. An example of a phobia created by Classical Conditioning is the fear of spiders. An individual may have experienced a situation in which they were frightened by a spider appearing on a part of the body. Now every time they see a spider, that individual experiences the same panic they felt when the spider was on them, even if the spider is across the room. Even if the individual is not in real danger, the feelings they experience are extremely real, and the body reacts in the same way as if it were endangered (Arnold, 2011).
Addiction is learned through Operant Conditioning. In this learning method, behaviors are increased when a reward or satisfaction is given in return, when an individual uses drugs, the high is the reward. This high is immediate, and since making people feel good, leads to the repetitive behavior of drug abuse, this is an example of positive reinforcement. As well as the immediate high, other organic pleasures like interactions with others, exercise, and eating are often diminished in comparison to the drug. The absences of pleasure from other activities besides the drug itself is an example of negative reinforcement, and encourages the continuous seek for pleasure through drug use (Epner, Horvath, Misra, Morgan, & Zupanick, 2014).
As concrete as learning seems, behaviors taught by Classical and Operant Conditioning can be removed through the process of extinction. Extinction happens when the stimulus or reinforcement is no longer present for the reaction to continue. In the situation of phobia, if an individual becomes used to the subject that causes distress, and distress no longer continues, the individual will stop being afraid of the subject. In the case of addiction, if an individual receives more consequences and punishment rather than pleasure, they will seek out help for his or her addiction (Cherry, 2014). Classical and Operant Conditioning are found in our everyday lives, how we choose to handle our experiences is entirely up to us.
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The tactics are different from those used for encouraging achievement.
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