Blog 4: Behaviorism

4 Commentsby   |  04.02.13  |  Student Posts

Classical Conditioning as told by Frasier Crane

In this video clip from an episode of Frasier, Dr. Frasier Crane explains to Roz the prank that he is going to play on Bulldog in order to achieve revenge from a prank that Bulldog had played on Frasier. He shows Roz the diagram of his plan that involves classically conditioning Bulldog to feel an inexplicable sense of loss when he sees a red balloon attached to the antennae on his car. Although Frasier has an elaborate plan of how he will find revenge, Bulldog has no idea of Frasier’s preparation.

Before we talked about behaviorism in class, I did not really have any feelings toward this school of thought. But I really liked that there was evidence that it worked. The success rate is so high that parents use it when potty training their children. I found the video we watched in class about the Los Horcones community interesting. I appreciate the idea of living in an intentional community, but I think living in a community that regards itself as a “cultural laboratory” would be a different experience. When we solve problems every day, we are essentially experimenting to find what will work best, but I don’t necessarily have the mindset of an experimenter when I am solving a problem. I would love to be a fly on the wall in this community to see how it really works day-to-day.

Blog 4: Behaviorism

5 Commentsby   |  04.02.13  |  Student Posts

I think behaviorism style psychology is a huge part of our daily lives.  I agree with our professor when he says that it is seemingly the most attractive and easily applicable form of psychology, without the vagueness of evolutionary psychology. Behaviorism is a huge part of advertising and organizational management. Rewards and pairing and behavioral conditioning are thrusted apon us at a very early age and throughout our lives. Just watch television for 5 minutes and you will see a commercial pairing their product with some sort of desirable outcome. An example would be a beer commercial, showing a lot of attractive people having fun and laughing, usually 1 or 2 guys surrounded by a ton of pretty women. We may have already discussed this, but also gambling is a huge behaviorism trap. with variable timing on rewards we are trained to think “maybe this next one will be it” and keep pecking that button so to speak.

Blog 4: Behaviorism

2 Commentsby   |  04.02.13  |  Student Posts

Many people may have a problem with the knowledge that they can be controlled, and may not even know it. I had to cope with this idea as well. But when put into perspective, behaviorism can be radically life changing for those who are in need of therapy. It is the most scientific way to approach psychological conditions and has proven to be very effective. However, many advances in behaviorism has dealt with the reactions one may get form animals. Dogs, for example, that are trained use operant condition to either reinforce or punish behaviors. Without knowledge of behaviorism, we would not be able to train our pets. The problem is that we cannot always apply what we learn about animal behaviors to human behaviors. Human complexity is evident, simply by the fact that not one school of thought or technique has been able to completely describe and predict every person. Concepts about animal behaviors can usually be generalized, but with people, because we operate at a higher level of intellect, our world, experiences, and genetic make it hard to analyze a person using one theory – including behaviorism.

One use of behaviorism I think every person, or at least every parent, can benefit from is potty training. Rewarding behaviors for potty training can be really helpful, because it gives a child as sense of accomplishment. The Huggies commercials themselves are even  reinforcing; they tell children they are “big kids” if they use the potty, giving them a sense of pride and responsibility  There are so many examples of everyday uses for behaviorism, but that was just one I chose.



3 Commentsby   |  04.02.13  |  Student Posts

If you’ve ever watch an Ax, or Tag, or any cologne commercial you know that they all pretty much work the same. Wear our spray, hot girl likes our spray, get hot girl. What we’re seeing here is classic signs of behavioral conditioning. By introducing the potential for a favorable reward (hot girl) we are more likely to achieve the desired behavioral outcome (buy and wear our spray). This particular add is a personal favorite of mine. Here, not only are men being promised the potential for hot girls, they are also being promised that this spray will turn them into astronaut reminiscent beings. This same idea governs the motives behind hot girls in beer commercials and virtually all other forms of advertising. Body Spray Commercial

Blog Post #4: Behaviorism

2 Commentsby   |  04.02.13  |  Student Posts

Behaviorism is the psychological perspective that places its emphasis on behavior and what encourages and discourages it. In the early days of behaviorism, animals were used in experiments to determine how to increase or decrease certain actions or behavior patterns and also to see how they learn. What was learned from these experiments is that there are ways to adjust an environment to change behavior in a desired way. A modern example of how the behaviorism perspective is used today on people is with ringtones.

With our ability to select and customize ringtones on our phones, we have started to condition ourselves. To start, just hearing a phone go off that has the same ringtone triggers a response in me. Phones provide social interaction and therefore social rewards by being able to interact with someone. Interaction with others is something that we instinctively crave. People simply tend to desire social interaction and communication. With these interactions, we will have certain emotions and feelings that are consistent with the social interactions we have via our phones. We will associate certain feelings with our phone. The thing that turns this habit that has overrun high schools nationwide into an example of behaviorism is that it is triggered by a ringtone. Something as simple as a three tone noise on my iPhone, brings up thoughts in my brain that someone is trying to talk to me. A quick song clip or series of chimes tells us that a social network is trying to reach us. This association is a good example of classical conditioning. Consistent with the idea of classical conditioning, every time I hear my ringtone, I immediately think that someone has texted or is calling me. This is particularly annoying at movie theaters when they play the video that’s designed to tell its patrons to turn their phones off. In the end, I have become conditioned like Pavlovs dog to assume that the social world is reaching out to me and check my phone every time I hear a short sound byte.

Blog Post 4: Behaviorism

0 Commentsby   |  04.02.13  |  Student Posts

In this clip Frasier Crane (psychiatrist character) discusses how he will be getting revenge on a coworker via conditioning. This example is interesting to me as I find it funny how one conditioned response (revenge seeking) can lead to a second response that in turn involves conditioning. I find it interesting how so many interactions with others can involve conditioned responses, without us ever even realizing such conditioning ever took place, it was simply “how we were raised”.

P.S. I am interested to hear what others have to say about my view of revenge as a conditioned response, so fire away!

Frasier Crane Conditioning

Raymond Lowe – Blog Post #4 – Behaviorism

0 Commentsby   |  04.02.13  |  Student Posts

Behaviorism has been an intriguing topic of study for me since I am not a Psychology major and have, up to this point, never extensively studied this area of psychology. What I find most interesting about it, is how, through this, people and animals can be “trained”. The example of the Pigeon with B.F. Skinner was fascinating to be, especially with how he was able to train the bird to turn a full circle in under 2 minutes. Also, I agree with this form of Psychology in that I believe that it is the observable that can best be studied and evaluated, not the unobservable which cannot even be seen. The only thing I can see, at least in my life, that goes against this is religion, which can not always be seen. Faith is, believing in things not seen. Outside of that I strongly consider only things that can be seen and observed to be truly valid. This is why I agree so much with the idea of Behaviorism.


1 Commentby   |  04.02.13  |  Student Posts


I used to be totally against Behaviorism until we recently discussed it in class. I thought the concept of us just modifying behavior in order to change went against what I believed. Now I have discovered more about the helpful side of behaviorism like the video we watched in class about the experimenter helping the autistic girl and how that can really help her life. I also realized how much behaviorism is in our everyday lives and all around us with advertising and TV.

I found this clip of one of my favorite TV shows called New Girl. Throughout the season one of the main characters, Shmit, always says or does things that seem slightly socially unacceptable. He tends to say what is on his mind without first taking into account how uncomfortable the other person might feel. His three roommates came up with a system to help negatively reinforce his behavior. They made a “douchebag jar” that he must donate money to whenever he says or does anything unacceptable. In this way they hope to reduce or eliminate this behavior.

Douchebag Jar- New Girl

Similar to this video are ways that parents using conditioning to discipline kids growing up. Some times kids are conditioned with positive reinforcement such as parents paying them money if they get all A’s on their report card. Some use negative ways to discipline kids such as spanking them anytime they act out in public and once the acting out stops, so does the spankings. I don’t agree with some of the discipline that occurs nowadays, but I would be a little nervous to see how different the world would be without some sort of conditioning.


1 Commentby   |  04.02.13  |  Student Posts


This video is the perfect example of how classical and operant conditioning is managed in our daily lives. We often don’t realize how much we do and get rewarded because of it and how little we do if we are not getting rewarded for it. It’s funny to me how behaviorism is understood by so many now days. If an individual understands the concept of behaviorism then more likely than not, that individual will get what they want. It is easy to use classical conditioning as such to get what you want. The stimuli, response, consequence process is what allows us to act the way we do just as the girlfriend does in this video. Sheldon is trying to get the girlfriend to realize that when she is quiet (like he wants her to be), she will be rewarded with chocolate. I believe that we all naturally are treated this way and treat others this way as well. I don’t necessarily believe that we should constantly have to be rewarded in order to do something that others want us to do, but it is a system that works and it works well. Although it seems great to get whatever you want by having an understanding of behaviorism and using it to your advantage, it can be misused for negativity. I believe there is a fine line between the right and wrong way of this type of behaviorism understanding.


1 Commentby   |  04.02.13  |  Student Posts


The National Geographic Channel airs a show starring Cesar Millan called “Dog Whisperer.” In the show, Millan enteres the homes of distraught dog owners.  In most cases these dogs are presenting with behavioral abnormalities that are dangerous to themselves or their owners.  Millan begins by listening to the dog owners explain their concerns and then silently observes the animals in the setting or situation that triggers their problem behaviors.

Millan then begins to work his magic.  The dog owners watch in amazement as Cesar is able to practically eradicate a behavior that has been ingrained in their pets for months or even years within a matter of a few minutes.  His influence has saved the lives of many precious pets and empowered countless pet owners.  So… how does he do it?  Is it magic? NO!

The answer can be found in the principles of behavioral psychology.  Think back to Ivan Pavlov’s experiments with dogs and salivation.  We all know that when a dog smells meat, he will begin to salivate.  This is known as an unconditioned response.  Pavlov found that the sight of the attendant, the sight of the food, and even the sound of the attendant’s footsteps were eventually enough to make the dogs salivate.  The sight and sound accompanying the attendant are known as the conditioned stimulus.  When the dog salivates in response to the conditioned stimulus, it is known as a conditioned response.

Dogs form certain associations in accordance to Pavlov’s findings, which can occasionally lead to less than desirable behaviors.  Millan builds off of this principle, using reinforcement.  He immediately and consistently provides consequences for negative behavior.  More importantly than training the animals he encounters, Millan trains their owners.  He forces them to see that they have the power to change any behavior IF they are consistent with consequences and rewards.

This training is fascinating and makes me wonder…  How effective would something similar be if it was applied to individuals with violent tendencies?  What about applying it to people with depression or personality disorders?  Could behaviorism be used more?  Is it dehumanizing because it is focused solely on the behavior?  One thing that cannot be questioned however, is its overwhelming effectiveness.