Know Food Now Pavlov's Dog and Behavior Modification for Changes in Eating Behavior | Know Food Now

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Pavlov's Dog and Behavior Modification for Changes in Eating Behavior
You may remember that Pavlov's study of saliva depended on drooling dogs conditioned to hearing a bell before receiving food.

For animals, this learned response to an environmental stimulus was a survival instinct. Linking nausea to taste was an "evolutionarily successful strategy."

Because food aversion is a natural conditioned reflex for dogs, maybe as dogs best friends, we can learn something from them. Obviously we cannot live without food, but we can live without foods that "poison" us by adding unsustainable calories and no nutrition.

Pavlov worked with reflexive behaviors like saliva. He found that a classic conditioned response behavior, drooling, would become extinct when the conditioned stimulus, bell, is presented without the unconditioned stimulus, food. Later, B. F. Skinner used positive and negative reinforcers to shape new behaviors with operant conditioning.

This behavior modification theory cannot be applied to all foods, but it can be used to eliminate the "poison" foods from our diet. Pick your poison, whatever that may be and start reducing your intake of it. When you complete a goal, reward yourself and when you do not complete a goal, punish yourself. 

Make the reward something you really want, that is other than food. Make the punishment something you really want too, that you are not going to do, like watch a favorite TV show. Or use a point system and delay your gratification for a bigger prize in the future, like a new wardrobe!

So for example, if your average desert is a container of Hagaan Daz, then that is your starting place. Haagan Daz is already helping you because they reduced their container sizes from 16oz to 14oz, and 32oz to 28oz. You need to go further and reduce your portion size. Make your first goal, half the container and so forth until you are eating less ice cream less often.

Eating behavior is based on daily decisions we make to consume or not consume certain foods. Make these decisions more conscious with rewards and punishments.

1 comment :

Tiffany said...

great application of psychology to eating! :)

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