Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Conditioned Tara (Behavioral)

by "John Batson"

I've always said that personality is the end product of our habit systems.  This means we are conditioned through various inputs to respond in more or less predictable ways.

I published an article called, "Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It."  (Burger, 2011). I've always believed that science cannot study mental states since they are intangible and can't be measured.  How can it be science unless one can measure the overt behaviors.  This is where conditioning is helpful because it helps us SEE how a person thinks.

Over the course of Tara's life she has been programmed to respond a certain way.  This is a strength when the programming is productive, but a weakness when a less desirable response has been programmed.  An example that could go either good or bad could be Tara's volunteering help.

While watching her son's soccer coach struggle with 15 young boys she offered her help and now she has an added stress of running soccer practices and games.  Tara has been programmed to offer to help if she is physically able to.  She may emotionally not be able to handle another commitment, but her instinct to help often takes over and offers her help.  This is actually a somewhat productive response, but offering her time to too many other people often leaves her overwhelmed when it comes to dealing with her common family activities.  This is a response that I can see in Tara's oldest daughter as well.  It is good Tara is trying to explain to her daughter that there is too much of a good thing.

This conditioned response that Tara has is an asset for the groups and people she associates with, but it also makes her feel happy to help others.  However it can be a weakness if it ends up causing more problems in her own life.

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