Behavioral Learning

1. To classically condition a 2 year old child so she is fearful of a busy road near her home, the road and/or vehicles (a neutral stimulus) needs to be paired with a loud noise which is the unconditioned stimulus; so as to arouse the unconditioned response of fear. The child in this way gets to associate the busy road with the unpleasant feeling of fear whenever she is near the road or when she sees it. To do this, the child may be scared with a loud noise like a startling shout or a sudden sharp clapping every time she approaches the busy road until she begins to associate the road with this unpleasant loud noise and she can then learn to keep away (conditioned response) from the busy road.

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However, by not showing the results of these violent actions, the person watching may only learn that it is justifiable to act violently in certain situations without learning the consequences of the violent actions. However, when the violent action is shown together with the injury and suffering caused, the person watching is better able to learn that violence is accompanied by certain unpleasant results. Mr. Angelou’s assertions are misleading since doing as he suggests would encourage violent behavior through observational learning. Showing the results of the violent actions would also teach the viewer through observation that there are unwanted results to being violent.

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