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Sensitization

The body is flashing disturbing feelings with relentless venom.  Funny and weird feelings predominate.  Indiscriminately flashing, surging feelings course through the body like tidal waves of semi- tranquillised electric eels.  The body is wound up like an eight-day clock and the sufferer is convinced the internal workings will burst.  The nerves are sending fear flashes across reverberated circuits with alarming suddenness and frequency.  What a misery this is.  What a trickster imagination you are to have created these feelings.  What a magician, what a bluffer you are, but how real you are.  We have reached the stage of reflexes within the body, albeit of the electrical kind.

The Russian Psycho physicist Pavlov conducted experiments with dogs.  He noticed that when meat was presented to the dogs they started to salivate.  Over a period of time, he would ring a bell and then present the meat.  He then noticed that merely ringing the bell was enough to make the dogs salivate.

The American behaviourist Dr John Broadus Watson and his assistant Raynor, conducted experiments with an eleven-month-old infant named little Albert.  Watson would present a white rat to Albert and noticed that the child would happily play with it.  He then instructed Raynor to hammer on a steel bar situated behind Albert whenever Watson presented the rat to the child.  The child got a fright and shied away from touching the rat.  Soon the phobia generalised and little Albert became afraid of white beards, fur coats and any association to rats.  Watson’s motivation for doing this experiment was to prove that a person could be made to become fearful of objects through conditioned responses.

Note that he also had created a sensitised state.  Where the phobia had become generalised.  i.e.  happening at the slightest indirect provocation of an associated link to the feared stimulus.  In other words the child was now caught up in a cycle.

 

An extract from my book: Breaking The Vicious Circle of Psychological Misery