To be honest, summer classes were not something I was looking forward to. When I signed up for this one it seemed interesting but I just couldn’t see how we could learn a lot of information in such a short period of time. Behavior has always been an interest of mine, I would watch people’s actions and always ask “Why did they do that?” I feel like in this class answered several of those questions on why people do what they do. Two of the main topics discussed were classical conditioning, where a reaction is conditioned to come after a stimulus and operant conditioning where behaviors are either enforced or stopped due to resulting outcome. It was interesting to see how the study of psychology progressed from a study of only observable behavior to internal behavior as well. For anybody who wants to be a psychologist or have a job in the field, this is definitely a beneficial class because it explains the reasoning behind phobias, addictions and other problems people deal with and how to reverse them.
I would say my favorite concept I learned was the stimulus-substitution theory. Drug related problems have always turned out to be complicated situations. I know a few people who struggle with addictions and its always been hard to understand them. The book uses heroin as an example where a person who shoots up has a decrease in blood pressure. The decrease is not only an unconditioned response but also a unconditioned stimuli to an increase in blood pressure which is the actual unconditioned response. As soon as people are in an environment or even craving their drug the blood pressure increases. This is probably why drug addicts begin to tweak out and suffer from drug withdrawal when they haven’t taken their drug. The environment plays an important part because drug related cues give them the symptoms that they are trying to avoid and thus they continue to use the drugs.
I had a friend who was hooked on several drugs and went to rehab when he realized how much he was ruining his life. He came out almost a new person. However after returning to the environment he began using again which is what he conditioned himself to do in the environment he was in. I now understand the psychology behind it and realize that to keep him clean he has to completely change environments to somewhere he will not be around any stimulus.
The video below goes into greater detail of drug psychology and causes of cravings