As I have discussed in other articles, the driving force behind smoking is not the cigarette/nicotine. The thing that keeps a person smoking is the Psychological Smoking Mechanism. The foundation for this mechanism is consciously laid by the beginning smoker at an early age. However, it is strengthened over the years by Associative Learning. In this article, I will explain how the smoker uses Associative Learning to reinforce the Psychological Smoking Mechanism which in turn, makes it hard to quit smoking.
The History of Associative Learning
The concept of Associative Learning was discovered by the Russian physiologist, Ivan Pavlov. He started out researching the gastric function of dogs but in examining salivary secretion, he discovered that saliva flowed before food was presented. Finding this more interesting, he gave up the gastric research and explored this phenomena.
He found that he could trigger a physical response, e.g. flow of saliva, by pairing a neutral stimulus with the active stimulus, in this case, food. The most noted neutral stimulus that he used was ringing a bell. (Remember the old fashion dinner bell?) After pairing the bell ring with the food, eventually, just ringing the bell caused the saliva to flow. Thus was born the psychological construct of Classical Conditioning.
Common Examples of Classical Conditioning sanaleo cbd
Before we get into the various ways Associative Learning strengthens the Psychological Smoking Mechanism, I want to give some everyday examples that apply to both smokers and nonsmokers. When most people go to the theater or sit down to watch their favorite program on TV, what is one of the first snacks they think of? Popcorn!
Through advertising both in the theater and on TV (remember Jiffy Pop? How about Orville Redenbacher with his red bow tie?), popcorn has become associated with enjoying a movie or TV show. The aroma of hot, buttered popcorn greets the theater goer as soon as they enter the building. You have to walk right past the concessions to get to the movie theaters. If that doesn’t stop you to buy, the commercials before the show encourage the purchase and many people get up and go buy popcorn. Because of this programming and the subsequent Associative Learning, for many people, when they sit down to watch something enjoyable at home, making popcorn is part of the process. This is an example of Associative Learning. The positive qualities of taste and smell strengthen the urge to buy or make popcorn to enjoy the show!
The more you enjoy the movie or TV show, the stronger the association with popcorn. This is because it adds the power of emotion as well as good taste and smell. A slightly different example of associative learning is provided by the following example.
Suppose when you were growing up, you parents owned a blue Toyota. This car was used to take you places that you enjoyed. Perhaps they kept this car for a number of years. When they got a new car, like most people, they bought the same brand. So over time, you begin to associate your parents with Toyota cars. As an adult, whenever you see a Toyota, you will have thoughts about your parents.
Of course, it doesn’t take a long time for this type of association to develop if there is a great deal of emotion behind it. Suppose you fall madly in love with someone and they drive a Mustang. In short order, whenever you see a Mustang, you will think of the person you love. This is Associative Learning!