Today was a great day in Psych. We were discussing the formation of phobias (specifically, classical-conditioning models of phobia response creation), and went over some common phobias like:
- The fear of flying
- The fear of spiders
- The fear of snakes
- The fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of one's mouth.
Numbers 1 and 3 gave me a brilliant and wonderful idea.
Me: "Is direct association the only way phobias can be created? Or can secondary conditioning take place as well?"
Professor Burke: "Could you give an example?"
Me: "Well, let's say I have a dreadful fear of, shall we say, snakes. And I went on a plane trip, something I'm ordinarily fine with. Now what if, on that plane, I was to come into contact with one or more snakes, and that freaked me out. Could a form of secondary conditioning or stimulus generalization take place whereby I develop a fear of flying?"
Professor Burke: "Well, let's look at the classical con...wait, in fact, isn't there a movie made about that? Snakes on a..."
Class: "SNAKES ON A PLANE!" *laughter*
Professor: *hangs head and sighs*
It was amazing. I received an e-mail recently from my professor mentioning the joke, too.
Nice question last time (snakes & planes). Caroline and I were laughing about it later on as well as in class.
Good times. :D