They say that you learn something every day. Let us help you with your quota.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

20 February 2013

Everyone loves a bit of psychology - but it's quite rare indeed to find an article on a prominent facet of psychology that has been disproved and re-proved numerous times over.
Today's Daily Quota is an article from the most recent section of The Chronicle Review titled 'Power of  Suggestion'. 

B.F. Skinner was the first to introduce the world to operant conditioning and other forms of behaviorism. Can constant, or variant, or specific, or any other kind of stimuli determine a person's immediate, subconscious behaviour?

The most famous example of classical conditioning is Pavlov's Dog experiment. Pavlov rung a bell each time before he fed his dogs.
Eventually, the sound of the ringing bell would cause his dog to salivate in anticipation of food.
Kind of like the sound of a new Facebook notification giving you a little sense of reward.

This article discusses John Bargh's long-term attempts at drawing attention to a more contemporary area of behaviourism - Priming.
Priming involves comparative behavioural manipulation, or in other words, using certain stimuli to trigger another reaction in your brain. For instance, when you see an inflated price next to a less expensive one, it appears cheap by relativity. Or when you are told to associate a colour and fruit, eventually if someone tips you in a slightly misleading manner, you'll end up with 'Green - Grape' instinctively.

Bargh held one (in)famous experiment, which was re-enacted numerous times - each one yielding differing results. He made students play with an assortment of 'random' words for about an hour, except each of them had something to do with growing old.
Then, he timed the students as they walked from the door, down a hallway, to the exist. The ones that played with the 'old-age' words walked significantly slower.
Interesting, but very, very inconsistent results.

Ah well, he tried, I guess. An interesting read, nonetheless - even if it's only to read up on these random psychological experiments!


No comments:

Post a Comment