PAVLOV, Does that name ring a bell?

Okay, aside from that cheesy, over-used, not-that-funny joke, the name should be familiar to you. Ivan Pavlov is the guy that conditioned dogs to salivate when he rang a bell by simultaneously pairing the sound of the bell ringing with the immediate delivery of yummy food and then finally, removing the presentation of the food. When this happened the sound of the bell ringing still produced salivation in the dogs! What?! Crazy. I know. Science, man!


“I know, I know, I learned this in psych 101” is probably what you’re thinking. But, have you ever thought about how we classically condition ourselves? What about classically conditioning our friends, children, pets, etc.? It happens ALL the time and once you break it down, you’ll likely notice it more and more.

Anybody else mindlessly binge eat snacks while watching TV? And now whenever the TV comes on you suddenly find yourself wanting to devour snack instantaneously? Yeah, guys, me freaking too. That’s classical conditioning at it’s finest. Theres the logistics of what you did unknowingly.

You paired a neutral stimulus (watching TV).

Step 2. with an unconditioned stimulus (cheez-its ) and

Step 3. And are now essentially a salivating dog (conditioned response) anytime the TV comes on (conditioned stimulus).

cheez it

If you’re a fan of “The Office” and let’s be real, if you’ve ever held a post-grad corporate job, you heart The Office big time. There is a great bit in an episode where Jim uses classical conditioning on Dwight by using a noise on his computer and Altoids. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the link:

It’s a hilarious and fun way to think about classical conditioning in everyday lives (and maybe how you can mess with your favorite co-worker)

What are some other fun, everyday examples of classical conditioning that you can think of? Share all your best examples, please! Here is another one of our everyday examples for the Premack Principle.

Written by: Morgan Stadheim

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