Relevance to modern readers

Pavlov's influence is so far-reaching because conditioning forms an integral part of people's lives. Learning through association—either consciously or unconsciously—is part of the essence of humanity. Behaviors and attitudes are shaped by a person's life experiences, or conditioning. A man's ongoing preference for a suit that he was wearing when he landed his last job, a woman's aversion to a food that made her extremely ill in the past, a boy's fear of wasps as a result of a previous bee-sting—all of these are common examples of the ways in which conditioning, reinforcement, generalization, and aversion affect common aspects of everyday life.

An example of conditioning in modern society is popular advertising. The creative forces behind print and broadcast advertising know that associating a product with popularity, beauty, money, and love can make the public identify that product with those desirable traits (even when it has nothing to do with them). Young people should drink a certain soda because a beautiful pop star does, kids should wear a designer's clothes because the coolest kids do, and moms should serve the best brand of rice because it means they love their families. Fear may also be invoked and associated with brand identity; without the "right" insurance protection, car, stockbroker, or health plan, families will be left penniless. In short, brands become attractive not simply because they represent inherently good products, but because they become associated with some other appealing characteristic.

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Anxiety and Depression 101

Anxiety and Depression 101

Everything you ever wanted to know about. We have been discussing depression and anxiety and how different information that is out on the market only seems to target one particular cure for these two common conditions that seem to walk hand in hand.

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