Cody, my nine-year old cousin, was observed during a period of interaction with his 42-year old mother and some of his peers who are generally at the same age as he is. The observation was conducted at their home during the free time of the boy in the afternoon. Observation Cody was playing along with his peers and sharing his Playstation 2 console with the group. A moment came when Cody was directly playing against one of his peers, then his mother suddenly called him and instructed him to go to the kitchen in an agitated tone. Cody seemed really annoyed for a while but eventually came to his mother to listen to what she had to say.
Cody asked for what reason he was called for. His mother suddenly became quite agitated while pointing to some dirty clothes lying on the floor. His mother then shouted at him, “What’s wrong with you? All you do when you get to play with your friends is forget about how to do things properly. Why did you change your clothes and leave them at places where they should not be found? Clean up your mess now! ” Cody obliged although evidently angry as seen through his facial expression. After hastily completing the task, he went back to his friends and continued the game.
After a few minutes, his mother came to their play area and immediately shouted, “What is this mess all about? I spend every morning tidying up this place and you and your friend constantly ruin the arrangements and make everything so dirty. Clean this place this instant! ” Cody was infuriated at that point and shouted “shut up! ” while cleaning the place when his mother finally left the place. Upon hearing the voice of his mother, I observed that his mood changes from relatively friendly to an irritated one. Expectedly, his mother called him again. Cody was obviously murmuring “shut up!
” over and over as he went towards his mother. Incidentally, upon seeing Cody, his mother said, “Would you like some snacks? ” Cody just nodded, apparently still showing quite an angry face and mood. He got the chocolate bar and went back to watching television. Another similar scenario occurred, wherein he was irritated by the call of his mother even though she just offered him some juice. Observer Response In the context of classical conditioning (CC), a primary or unconditioned stimuli (US) and the secondary or conditioned stimuli (CS) are both defined as vital parts of the learning process.
In relation to these, the conditional response (CR) and unconditional response (UR) are of course also present. The primary or unconditioned stimulus is the events of scolding of his mother. The unconditional response, as a result, is the hostility and anger that Cody expresses during these scolding events. Due to the fact that such events occur at quite an often interval, Cody was observed to exhibit the same reactions towards his mother that he expresses during scolding events, even if such events are not yet occurring.
For instance, hostility and anger are exhibited even at times when Cody simply hears the voice of his mother. Thus, the secondary or conditioned stimulus is the voice of his mother. Although definitely related to the events wherein he is reprimanded, it does not necessarily mean that each time his mother calls him, he would get yelled at. This is well understood during the events wherein even though his mother did not reprimand him, upon hearing her voice, Cody entered quite an aggressive state. It is also worthy to note that even though Cody accepted both offers of refreshments, he never shifted to a more pleasant outlook.
The presence of a consistent expression of irritation upon hearing his mother’s voice regardless of reason has become a conditional response in this case. Since the response, which involves signs of anger and related emotions, is exhibited regardless of the unconditional stimuli, which are basically the scolding events, it can then be inferred that CC occurred. Also, it is important to keep in mind that the neutral stimulus, his mother’s voice, has completely become the CS, which further proves the presence of CC.
Opinion CC, otherwise known as Pavlovian conditioning, is considered to be one of the pioneer concepts of learning. Currently however, it has definitely lost much of its appeal upon the conceptualization of operant conditioning, which serves a more common role and purpose in society as it is seen to be more applicable in general. Usually viewed for its applications on animals, CC was actually developed from experiments using a dog; thus, the way of thinking regarding CC is rather understandable.
The real reason as to why it is considered more for training animals is that animals commonly have a noncomplex method of thinking. This suggests that due to the complex ability and capability of human reasoning, CC is not that effective. Even with the points stated, it is still undeniable that humans are capable of being affected with CC. As with the observed trend in the emotional state of Cody, by simply hearing the voice of his mother, it seems that CC occurs at more common scenarios than usually thought.
Although there is a possibility for Cody to think about the fact that hearing his mothers voice does not always result in negative scenarios, his frequent exposure to such seems to have caused him to react to it in a fixed manner. Therefore, even though mainly associated with zoological applications as stated, the CC theory still holds true even for humans for certain cases and is probably manifested through various emotional responses in more common ways than usually considered.
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