Friday, January 18, 2013

Are We Negatively "Classically Conditioning" Others?

"Cue the salivating dogs."

Does this sound familiar to you? If you have ever taken a college Psychology course, you must know about Pavlov's dogs and how they would salivate each time they would hear the bell ring. That, my friends, is called "classical conditioning." 

Photo Credit:

Photo Credit:
I took Psychology 101 at Andrews University [which I highly recommend] and 'til this day, it is the course that left a huge imprint in my memory [how appropriate, right?].

Okay, let's do a quick exercise...without thinking too long, answer the questions. 

What do you think of when you see the two golden arches? 
Yes, the answer should be McDonalds

What do you think of when you see the giant check mark? 
Yes, the answer should be NIKE

What do you think of when you see "Mmm Mmm Good!" 
Yes, the answer should be Campbell's Soup

What do you think of when you hear the name or see Michael Vick? 
Did you think of his prosperous football career or did you think of his fighting dog conviction?

What do you think of when you hear the name or see President Bill Clinton?
Did you think about how almost 6 million new jobs were created in the first two years of his Administration or did you think about Monica Lewinsky?

That made you think, didn't it? The names were the "bells" and what we thought afterwards was exactly what we associate the item or person with. 

Now onto the juicy stuff...Haha. 

The other day, as I was driving to TJ Maxx during my lunch break [yes, I occasionally shop during my lunch break], I was listening to Praise 104.1 FM which is a gospel station in the Washington, DC area. Every now and then they have recordings of Christian artists and/or celebrities that say, "Hi, this is Yolanda Adams [or whomever] and you're listening to Praise 104.1." So, as I was driving, they had one air and it was Eric Benet... I am almost ashamed to say this, but the first thing to pop in my mind when he said his name was, "[his] sex addiction while he was married to Halle Berry." Horrible, I know.

But it lead me to think about how many times we see "non-celebrities" in our lives who have either erred in their personal life or even erred us and we automatically think something negative? *DING*DING*DING*{bells} "Oh there goes that girl who cheated on John Doe's cousin's brother's nephew."  "Oh, yo! Isn't that that guy who was caught stealing from his parents?" Instead of "Oh, there is Trisha...I pray she is well." and "Oh, there is Xander, I pray he is making it on his own and is content with life." 

It's definitely something to think about and something many of us may need to improve on.

Micah 7:19 says:
"...You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them at the depths of the ocean!" 

God throws all of our sins at the depths of the ocean [aka thousands of feet below us which we aren't supposed to reach]! Hallelujah. Our folly is that sometimes we do not want to forget the fall of another and hold onto it and treat the person accordingly.

It is my prayer we be able to replace our "negative" classical conditioning thoughts of others with positive ones for a pure mind and heart. Be blessed! 


  1. My father used to tell me "remember the good things" sometimes all we can remember are the mistakes an individual has made, and we point our fingers to them, and we make sure they dont forget. We sometimes do this to make them feel inferior than ourselves, to place ourselves in a higher level... but the truth is there really isnt much of a difference between us and them.

    thank you for this wonderful post!

    1. Thank you, Anonymous, for sharing that life lesson you learned from your father! I love that!