Thursday, April 26, 2012

Pavlov Proven

Human behavior is nothing if not hilarious at times.  Perhaps our fallen status lends itself to the disposition but God has to be up in heaven just laughing hysterically about how insane we can be.  And I am not even talking about insane on a conscious level.  We subconsciously make silly decisions just as much as we might on purpose.

Case in point is the Pavlov experiment which, to be fair, was first done on a dog.  Every time a bell would ring the pup would get a treat.  His mind came to associate the ringing of a bell with food to the point that when a bell would ring he would salivate even if he was no longer offered the food.  Turns out this works rather well on humans too.

Though its much more entertaining on an episode of The Office, I have recently done this experiment with my kids.  I take them to school every morning.  As such I always unlock the doors (providing the audio cue) and ask them to unbuckle their seat belts once we are in the parking lot but not yet at the curbside.  I have been doing this since last Fall making sure my request corresponds exactly with the sound of the locks.  I even went so far as to make sure to do this whilst in the same exact spot in the parking lot everyday just to be sure all environmental factors were duplicated each time.

Well, on Monday of this week, I finally tested the sub-conscious training.  I pulled into the lot, clicked the unlock button but didn't say a word.  Like clockwork both kids immediately reached for their seatbelts and unfastened them.  I have now done this for four days in a row with the same results.  How amazingly silly we are!