Site Loader

How can biological influences affect conditioning? Have you ever had food poisoning? In this lesson, you’ll see how natural responses can accelerate or hinder conditioning.

Taste Aversion

Is there a food that you won’t eat anymore or a drink you can’t stomach? For my husband, it’s fish. In college, he spent a few months studying in Indonesia.

Best services for writing your paper according to Trustpilot

Premium Partner
From $18.00 per page
4,8 / 5
4,80
Writers Experience
4,80
Delivery
4,90
Support
4,70
Price
Recommended Service
From $13.90 per page
4,6 / 5
4,70
Writers Experience
4,70
Delivery
4,60
Support
4,60
Price
From $20.00 per page
4,5 / 5
4,80
Writers Experience
4,50
Delivery
4,40
Support
4,10
Price
* All Partners were chosen among 50+ writing services by our Customer Satisfaction Team

Living on an island, he was given fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Soon after arriving on the island, he came down with dysentery, which caused him to feel achy and nauseous all the time. Although that was years ago, he still feels sick to his stomach whenever he eats something even vaguely fishy tasting.You don’t need to get sick from the same food more than once in order to develop disgust for it. There’s an evolutionarily advantage to taste aversion, since it prevents us from eating something twice that might be toxic.

The Garcia Effect

Taste aversion was first noticed by psychologist John Garcia in the 1950’s. He was irradiating rats to see its effect on their behavior, and noticed that rats didn’t want to eat the things they’d been fed shortly before being irradiated. Garcia theorized that this was because they were getting nauseous from the radiation. He conducted experiments to directly test this with sweetened vs. unsweetened water: he gave them sweetened water followed by no radiation, mild radiation, or strong radiation. After the experiment, the total sweetened water consumed by non-radiated rats was 80%, mildly radiated rats drank 40% and strongly radiated rats drank only 10% of the sugar water. These patterns were observed after only ONE trial.

The radiated rats were conditioned to link the taste of sweetened water with nausea and therefore avoided it. Since it accessed an evolutionarily-advantageous bodily defense mechanism, it was learned right away.Similarly, if you burn your finger on the stove, you don’t have to do it more than once in order to learn not to. Being burned is a natural aversive stimulus, so conditioning is immediate.

Instincts

Natural instincts are another biological factor that can interfere with conditioning.Psychologists Keller and Marian Breland trained raccoons to put coins in a piggy bank. They rewarded the raccoons with food for successful deposits.

This worked with single coins, but when the researchers gave a raccoon more than one coin, the raccoon would sit and rub the coins together. By associating the coins with food, the raccoons’ natural instinct to ‘wash’ food by rubbing it together was activated. Classical conditioning was inhibited by this natural response.

Summary

So, you’ve learned that biological influence can limit conditioning.

Animals can be trained as long as it doesn’t override their instinctive behaviors. And once we’ve developed distaste for something we associate with getting sick, it’s hard to get over it. Sometimes, biology speeds up conditioning, as in the case of taste aversion.

Other times, it interferes with it, as we saw with the raccoons.

Post Author: admin

x

Hi!
I'm Eric!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out