Watson's Brave New World: Classical Conditioning

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Alex was conditioned to react in a passive manner when confronted with any action that could be considered ultra-violence. Classical conditioning experiments have been performed on humans with a large degree of success. One of the most notable and most controversial classical conditioning experiments done on humans was Watson’s “Little Albert” experiment. This experiment was conducted to test the fear response in humans. The experiment started off by introducing Albert to several animals, a white rat, monkey, bunny and a dog (Creelan). When Albert started to play with the rat, Watson banged a hammer on a metal pipe scaring Albert causing him to cry. Over time the sight of the rat without the banging of the hammer caused Albert to cry.…show more content…
Understanding that the concept is contained in the story line of the film still allows the vague possibility that these tactics can be used on the average person. Since classical conditioning is a real process its use in A Clockwork Orange helps add to the cult factor of the movie. No one truly wants to believe that conditioning a person’s response to fulfill the agenda of another person or group of people is a plausible concept, but it is. The experiments conducted by Pavlov during the 1890’s gave rise to a terrifying tool used in many literary works and films. Aldous Huxley used this very technique in his cult novel Brave New World, where a postmodern London in 2540 used reproductive technology, sleep learning, psychological manipulation and classical conditioning to profoundly change society (Huxley). Brave New World was written in 1931 which is approximately thirty years after Pavlov’s classical conditioning experiments yet, this futuristic novel includes the highly controversial techniques developed by…show more content…
While this movie may not be for everybody it does contain an interesting and controversial commentary on society. It seems that the primary message argued in A Clockwork Orange is that through abuse Alex has been considered cured, people must not be used as scientific experiments even if the experiment is for the greater good of society. The needs of the many do not outweigh the rights of one and by breaking this moral code by the elected officials drastically changes the way the society favors their government and its practices. Social engineering is not the answer to eliminate a disruptive youth culture and maintaining order within society. Violent impulses, sexual urges, the enjoyment of music, participating in social camaraderie are all essential parts of the human experience and eliminating any part of that experience would eliminate what it means to be a
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