Blog #4 Behaviorism

1 Commentby   |  04.02.13  |  Student Posts

Classical Conditioning in The Office

In this episode of the Office, Jim conditions Dwight as Pavlov famously conditioned his dog. Every time Jim reboots his computer, Jim gives Dwight an altoid. This fits the framework of classical conditioning perfectly. The altoid is the unconditioned stimulus, the sound of the computer rebooting is the conditioned stimulus. As time goes on and Jim continues to pair the altoids with the computers rebooting chime, while Dwight remains clueless as to what is happening. Eventually, Jim tests the effects of his conditioning on Dwight and finds that it is successful. When Dwight hears the chime, he reaches for an altoid and becomes confused. Dwight is unaware of the effects that classical conditioning has had on him. Dwight then exhibits a conditioned response, reporting that his mouth is dry. This is in line with the observed effects classical conditioning typically exhibits. Though behaviorism has its share of problems as all theories do, the practical applications of conditioning, both classical and operant, can be applied an used in many ways. Effective in both the areas of pranks and treatment of mental disorders, behaviorism has applications that can still be used today.

1 Comment

  1. Lyndi Smith
    9:28 pm, 04.02.13

    I thought this video was so perfect when shown in class and watching it again on this post. This example of conditioning is definitely in a more modern way and easy to relate to. There has been countless times that I have seen situations along the lines of this and instead of thinking “that’s classical conditioning,” it just doesn’t even phase me because its so in the norm in society and how people do things. So it was interesting to see such a concept used in a way that allowed me to understand it better and apply the term to my life and be more aware of the act of conditioning in my every day life. Good video and great relevance to pranks!

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