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Random Thought: Classical Conditioning

Out of all the educational resources Berkeley has to offer, I’d have to say webcasting is high up in my tier list. I can keep up with schoolwork even when I oversleep for my 2PM CS lecture with the amazing Professor Harvey. By dinner time, the recorded video of his lecture would be available, and I would be watching it intently while eating my chicken rice bowl. The videos’ vivid quality persuades me every time that I am sitting in the middle rows of Pimentel. At the end of the lecture, I would applaud to Harvey’s awesome demostrations…. mindlessly, as if some other force is putting my palms together.

Why are we conditioned to applaud when we hear sounds of clapping hands? Why do we shut our eyes at the sight of mirrors in horror films? Why do we droll when we smell our favorite cuisine fresh out of the kitchen? Anyone who has taken elementary psychology will tell you that this pehnomenom of the way humans act is known as classical conditioning, coined by Pavlov half a decade ago while experimenting on a poor, hungry, dog. Although conditioning is arguably the best way to control people’s minds in a fascist dictatorship, it ultimately leads to a more peaceful and harmonious world in which all individuals act the same way during a previously conditioned situation, in this case the clapping after a great performance.

Should conditioning be allowed to use politically? It already has. The Green campaign started in Carter’s administration has conditioned a crop of young and energetic tree huggers that propose radical alternative energy solutions every other day. Some of these propositions have been beneficial, but its history is nevertheless tainted by the green propaganda on the television and radio programs of the 80’s and the 90’s.

I suppose it all depends on perception.

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