experimented we wanted to see if we were able to successfully condition our
participants to associate a picture of a daisy with salivation. Our hypothesis was we will see salivation
levels increase as the study goes on participants will start to associate the
daisy with salivation. From looking at
our results we can accept our hypothesis as we saw a rise in reported
salivation levels from trial one to trial eleven.
compare these to the findings of Pavlov (as cited in Powell, Honey &
Symbaluk, 2013) we can see that there is evidence to support living organisms
can learn to associate a neutral stimulus e.g. picture of a daisy that we used
and the arrival of food, thus brining around salivation. Our findings also support work like that of Blass et al. (1984) to show that classical conditioning can
be done on humans and not just animals.
the study there we several limitations. One
of which being the self-report methods.
Using a self-report in the way we did it, to essentially assume of our
salivation levels, is very unreliable.
There was no information on how, for example 30% salivation feels or
looks like. Therefore, elucidating the
impression that everyone will have their own interpretation of what each
percentage looks like. For us to
accurately accept our hypothesis and show all participants had been conditioned
that another method should have been used.
To be able to accurately report salivation it would be wise from an
external source such as a device that could extract and measure the amount of
limitation of the study would be that there was no measure of how much sherbet
or lemon each participant consumed during each trial. With no control over how much sherbet or
lemon each participant eats during each trial we must assume this had an impact
on our results. The more sherbet or
longer the lick of the lemon would produce more salivation. This would mean that if a participant used
varying amounts of lemon in each trial this may lead them to report different levels
of salivation than would have been the case if all sample amounts for each
trial had been controlled. If we were to
do this again then we would have control each amount that is consumed at each
trial and make sure all participants intake one of the foods and not both. This is because we do not know if an actual
lemon may cause more salivation than lemon sherbet.
could be suggested that with the participants being psychology students and
knowing about previous research may have led to demand characteristics. Though knowing about a study wouldn’t allow
them to produce more salivation, it could be said that participants may have
rated their salivation levels slightly higher than what they believed they were
so the results would be favourable. If
we were to do this again we choose a wider sample of those from varying
backgrounds, though some might know about previous research, the results would
be able to give us a bigger picture and a more accurate look if our findings
can be generalized to the general population.
conditioning can be used to benefit society and life in the future. Recent work has found that classical
conditioning such as taste aversion can help stop predation of animals. Conover (1990) found that injecting chicken
eggs injected with 20-25 mg of an emetic substance, led to predators that had
been feeding on the untreated eggs beforehand had developed a conditioned taste
aversion and reduced their consumption of the treated eggs by less than 75%. Though predatorial hunting is viewed a common
thing in the food chain, using this can help us produce more food to feed our
ever-growing population and therefore reduce the need to kill natural predators
that feed on these eggs. Similar results
were found by Massei, Lyon, & Cowan (2002) who found that rats who ate
eggs laced with conditioned taste aversion inducing agent spent 2.7 longer to
choose and egg and 36% less time trying to eat the egg than rats who had not
been given the agent.
conditioning can also be in used in education.
For example, a teacher has a new class to start the year and wants to
get them to help as quick as possible and so wants to use a 10 count to
initiate her class to clean up at the end of the day. Before conditioning starting a 10 count will
do nothing but asking the class to clean up will start the class moving. Then the next time following her instruction
to clean up she will count down from 10 and the class will clean up. If the teacher is consistent and repetitive
with these stimuli, then conditioning should work and when the teacher counts
down from 10 at the end of the day the class should see this as a sign to clean
field is also another area classical conditioning could be used. Studies like Olness
& Ader (1992) found that the human immune system
can be classically conditioned. In their
case study an 11-year-old girl suffering from lupus was able to show a significant
reduction in her symptoms without the need of any drugs that prevent the function
of the immune system. This then provided an opening to treat the patient’s
disease whilst avoiding the damaging side effects of drugs used in chemotherapy
to supress the immune system.
conditioning when done correctly can be used in a positive way to help both human
and animal life. Current research shows us
to believe that it can also be used in a variety of area, such as medically and
educationally. In addition, more research
should be done to see its other benefits and any problems that may arise form it.