Monday, November 15, 2010

On Behavioral Psychology

On Behavioral Psychology: From classical conditioning to cognitive dissonance to latent inhibition, behavioral psychology is the study of various decision making processes in rational beings. On an elementary level, classical conditioning involves the presentation of various stimuli to a subject and the measuring of that subject's response to each one. This mental process is on display in the above video, which features British comedian Eddie Izzard satirically applying the psychological concept of Pavlovian response to cats. Partially related to classical conditioning is cognitive dissonance. Considered part of the rationalization process when an object of desire becomes seemingly unattainable, cognitive dissonance leaves the subject convinced that that previously desired object is no longer desirable. A final concept related to behavioral psychology is latent inhibition. It mostly entails the delayed or non-existent response of a subject to a perceived stimulus. As an unconscious reaction by the mind to limit or even prevent a subject's response, latent inhibition can signify either psychosis or genius in an individual.

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