Is it operant conditioning when the response is a form of salivating over the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition? Is it operant conditioning to respond to the corporate logos of household names with an awe and desire to down donuts or wear clothes and styles because we have become conditioned to do so? Hard to say. The scientific technique distorted and misapplied for commercial ends, is certainly more easily swallowed than Pavlov’s theories used for political and anti-human ends that gained notoriety among the Soviets in their show trials and repressing of dissent.
It all began with the discovery of the classic conditioned reflex by the great Russian physiologist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov. It then evolved into a more Orwellian conditioning, that of “operant behavior” manipulation espoused by Harvard’s Burrhus Frederic Skinner, and now today in broader use as an advertising pitch embedded into the psyche of our pocketbook. There is no philosophical reasoning behind the classic conditioned reflex. It is a stimulus response process in which the stimulus may have no connection with the response. Pavlov’s dogs heard the sound of a bell and were conditioned to salivate as if for food.
It was B.F. Skinner’s theory that the behavior of the living creature “operates upon the environment to generate consequences” , though he believed in reward rather than punishment during the training period. But in its more lurid forms, operant conditioning does use a punishment-reward system and may make people confess to non-existent crimes to “generate consequences- even things such as body odor, non-white teeth, non-white skin!, over-weightness, dirty upholstery etc. – then acting in conformity in order to remove psychological pressures being applied even if in a soft manner.
Skinner completed his experiments in an operant chamber, or more commonly known as the Skinner Box. In this box, the subject can be tested for responsiveness to a single stimulus, and than be provided a reward. With these boxes, Skinner began shaping different animals to conform to a desired behavior, and eventually he began his conquest of the world. Skinner shaped his subjects with a procedure in which reinforcers molded the subject little by little till they show the desired behavior. The reinforcers could have been anything from birdseed to cocaine. (Lab rats just loved that cocaine)Read More: http://rawrmarketing.com/2010/05/25/operant-conditioning-psychology-of-advertising/
The objective of all the techniques, whether coercive or voluntary, is to change or modify individual behavior, and is able of producing bizarre, or inexplicable results in which for example, fascists see themselves as righteous and moral, that war is actually peace, that good is evil; and even that cigarettes are good for you:
…Brill told him the cigarette was a phallic symbol and represented male sexual power. If he could find a way to connect cigarettes with the idea of challenging male power, then women would smoke because then they would “have their own penises.” …Bernays staged a spectacle at the New York Easter parade when he hired a group of good-looking young women to walk together in the parade, each secretly holding a pack of cigarettes somewhere on her person. At his sign the girls were to light up in unison. He informed the press that he’d heard a group of suffragettes were planning on attending the parade and lighting up their “torches of freedom.” Needless to say, the girls lit up, the newspaper reporters snapped their picture, and all over America, cigarettes were suddenly linked to independence, freedom and equality. Read More: http://taicarmen.wordpress.com/tag/edward-bernays/ a
Whether Pavlovian based practioners or adepts from psychoanalysis, there is a po
of conjunction in viewing the brain to be an organ of the body to be manipulated and regulated. Skinner’s assertion that humanity cannot afford to be free and must submit itself, their behavior and their culture to outside control for the greater good of the community is insidious, repressive, and top-down authoritarianism in a velvet glove; not much different than the vision of a Bernays or Lippmann.
1948. “Professors B. F. Skinner and Alfred C. Kinsey published their books, Walden Two and Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, respectively. Skinner’s novel, Walden Two, recommended – amongst other radical things – that ‘children be reared by the state, to be trained from birth to demonstrate only desirable characteristics and behavior.’
“Kinsey, as a taxonomic scientist, wrested human sexuality from the constraints of love and marriage in order to advance the grand scheme to move America and the world toward the eugenic future envisioned by the elite scientists of the ‘New Biology,’…
“In 1953 Professor Skinner published Science and Human Behavior in which he said, “Operant conditioning shapes behavior as a sculptor shapes a lump of clay.’… “Kinsey and Bloom, as scientists, were involved in the breaking down of man (taxonomizing) into units of behavior which Skinner, as a behaviorist, could identify, measure and change. This breaking down or ‘deconstructing of Man’ was intended to separate man from his God-given, freedom-providing identity. This opened the door to the study of methods to control man and society.” Read More: http://www.crossroad.to/Excerpts/chronologies/mind-control.htm
“Central to these theories were the notions of human development through ‘transaction’ (Dewey) and interaction-communication (Mead). In behavioural theories human beings are seen only as reacting units, black boxes, or similar to the doves and dogs of Skinners ‘operant conditioning’. Philosophical pragmatism generated a base for the development of professional practices such as social casework, community education and community organization, directed at facilitating people to learn to stand up for themselves, to participate in civil society, and in this way to decrease structural social injustice. Later, just after World War II, it also generated strategies of ‘social action’ as developed by Alinsky for the civil rights movement (Dubost, 2001). These became popular
in the community action committees and the self-organizations in neighbourhoods in Europe and Great Britain at the end of the 1960s.
About a decade later, the ‘Gestalt-psychologist’ Lewin started an action research practice. Lewin had fled from Nazi Germany and from 1934 he worked in the US. In Germany, Lewin was a member of the Socialist Party and his scientific work was directed at the
emancipation of minorities. ‘His particular concerns appear to have been the combating of anti-Semitism, the democratisation of society, and the need to improve the position of women. Read More: http://www.olc.edu/~jolson/socialwork/OnlineLibrary/Boog,%202003,%20the%20emancipatory%20characger%20or%20action%20research,%20its%20history%20and%20the%20presen
Carol Menzel : Behaviorism as a clinical approach traces its roots back to the second and third decades of this century, when interest was aroused in the application or the principles of conditioning to the treatment of behavior disorders. Behavior therapy as it is currently practiced is simply the homogenization of Watson’s S-R’s and Pavlov’s drooling dogs – Skinnerism is its oozing excrement.
Behaviorism, in slightly varying forms, has sprung from the Soviet Union, the U.S., England, and South Africa. In the U.S., behaviorism was officially launched as a faction in 1913 when John Watson began his vigorous campaign against “introspectionism” (Freudianism) on behalf of what he called an “objective psychology.” By the 1940′s Watson’s mindless objectivism had taken over American psychology.
Its near-complete hegemony is especially apparent within academic institutions. University psychology departments have for years turned out students schooled almost exclusively in behaviorist traditions. Psychiatric departments within medical colleges have nervously tried to deny its existence; most, to date, have never officially endorsed its theory or practice. But classical psychiatry, the syllabus medical schools continue to teach, is nothing more than a haphazard blend of mainly biological psychiatry and behaviorism, with a little misunderstood Freudian psychology thrown in as a cover. How does psychiatry endorse in practice that which it purportedly denies in theory? The more honest psychiatrist would answer: “Why, it works.”…
And to a certain extent it does work – in the traditions of any coercive psychological approach. At minimum it brings about certain “behavioral” or “attitudinal” changes, more often than not inducing psychosis. Pavlovian psychology in particular, if used deliberately and consciously, as in cases of prisoners of war brainwashed by the Chinese Communists in North Korea, and more recently the CIA/KGB’S brainwashing of White and George, becomes an extremely potent weapon. The approaches based upon conditioning are many in name: “systematic desensitization, “implosive therapy,” “operant conditioning,” “behavior shaping,” “aversion therapy,” “action therapy,” “token economy,” etc. Read More: http://www.campaigner-unbound.0catch.com/coercive_psychology_capitalisms_monster_science.htm