The Effects of Conditioning the Mind

A look into the mind of students.

Tianna Lamando and Olivia Osborne

Have you ever been through a situation that has affected you so much that it changes how you react throughout the dayIt could be a good or bad memory, but almost everyone has certain core memories that has made and conditioned you into who you are, how you think, and how you act to this day. 

Conditioning the mind is a behavioral process in which the mind is trained to respond to a stimulus. These reactions are trained repeatedly to happen. Usualleveryone has experienced some sort of conditioning in their life. For instance, someone conditioned you when you were younger to do very simple tasks, like use the bathroom.  

“Whenever I would get in trouble, they would take stuff away. But when I didn’t, we get to go do stuff,” Aiden Scevola (‘24) said. 

Classic conditioning was founded by Russian psychologist Pavlov, during the 1890s. Later, a psychologist named john Watson dove further into the subject by conducting an experiment showing evidence of classical conditioning in humans.  

The experiment was called The Little Albert Experiment and it consisted of a 9-month-old baby and was exposed of a series of stimuli such as a white rat, monkey, rabbit, masks and burning newspapers. The 9-month-old had no fear of anything shown to him beforehand. However, Watson installed fear into the boy with the white rat by making loud noises. When done multiple times, Albert started to genuinely fear the rat, even after Watson stopped making the loud noises. Classical conditioning installed fear into the boy proving the idea that the mind could be altered to think a certain way. 

Classical conditioning is a concept that is common and not many students know about it. 

I’ve conditioned my dogs and taught them certain commands. But I’ve never conditioned a person,” Scevola said.  

It’s the reason people have phobias, certain preferences, or react a certain way to specific situations or triggers, whether that be good or bad. It all plays into everyone’s individual personality.