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Monday, March 4, 2013

Singapore's Child: Operant Conditioning

The March 2013 issue of Singapore's Child carries an article from Dr Pet, on how to use operant conditioning to get your child to like doing things he/she doesn't quite like. The article starts off as follows...

Most people know about the famous experiment done by Pavlov in 1901. Pavlov rang a bell and then fed the dog. Very soon, the dog associated the sound of the bell with food. It would salivate at the mere sound of the bell, even if not given food. 

Following in Pavlov’s footsteps, another less famous and highly unethical experiment was carried out on a baby of eight months. The researcher, John B. Watson placed the baby on a mat atop a table. A white rat was placed on the same table. Naturally, the baby reached out to play with the rat. Whenever the baby touched the rat, the researcher made a deafening sound. This sound frightened the baby so much, that it began to cry. These actions were repeated several times. Eventually, the baby demonstrated a stress response at the mere sight of the white rat, even without the deafening sound.


I am not allowed to reproduce the whole article here right now so if you want to read the whole thing, grab yourself a copy of Singapore's Child.

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