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Although hunger and starvation are prevalent in our nation Americans have turned their backs to this problem We have turned our backs because we have been conditioned and desensitized by the media to the issue of hunger Classical conditioning is the process by which a stimulus acquires the capacity to elicit a response through association with a stimulus that already elicits a similar or related response Classical conditioning is like the famous case of Pavlovs dogs that we learned about in Psychology 101 The dogs learn to associate the ringing of the bell with food and once conditioned the dogs could not hear the bell without salivating The Japanese were masters at using classical conditioning with their solders Early in World War II Chinese prisoners were placed in a ditch on their knees with their hands bound behind them And one by one a select few Japanese soldiers would go into the ditch and bayonet their prisoners to death Up on the bank countless other young soldiers would cheer them on in their violence Comparatively few soldiers actually killed in these situations but by making the others watch and cheer the Japanese were able to use these kinds of atrocities to classically condition a very large audience to associate pleasure with human death and suffering Immediately afterwards the soldiers who had been spectators were treated to sake the best meal they had in months and so-called comfort girls The result They learned to associate committing violent acts with pleasure There are also some clear-cut examples of classical conditioning established by the media today Our culture watches vivid pictures of human suffering and death and we learn to associate it with our favorite soft drink and candy bar or our girlfriendsboyfriends perfumecologne This occurs at the movies or even at home watching TV we laugh and cheer and keep right on eating popcorn and drinking pop while in front of us are images of death
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