We often share with friends the hilarious (but kinda sad if you're a dog) story of how we had to get a shock collar for JoJo our Labrador when nothing else was working to curb her relentless barking at anything and everything that walked by.
The collar worked as advertised. It send a small shock every time she barked and eventually, she would stop barking if she didn't want to be shocked.
Well, we eventually removed the collar.
But something astounding happened.
For days after the collar had been taken off of her, JoJo STILL reacted as if she had it on!!
In other words, whenever she would bark, she would yelp and spin around towards her tail--the EXACT same physical reaction she would display when the shock was actually going through her body!!
So she REACTED as if the shock was hurting her even though it was impossible that it was since the collar had been off of her neck for days!!
This, to me, is just another example of conditioned behavior. Pavlov's dogs in just another wrapping and bow. The dog associates a certain sound or circumstance or behavior and adapts to that, however long or short lived it might be.
This example takes us to one that applies to people in day to day life.
Martin Lindstrom in a technology column writes about what he has called Phantom Vibration Syndrome.
It's so funny because I called it the same thing a while back, minus the SYNDROME. We have too many syndromes after all.
But we both described the same thing.
Ever reach into your pocket searching for your cell phone because you SWEAR you felt your phone vibrate? Only to find that not only did no one text or call you...but your phone wasn't even IN your pocket??
What the heck is going on here?
Lindstrom's conclusion is that we are so geared towards receiving phone messages that we imagine them to be there, even when they are NOT.
He further studied this and found something we all have noticed at some point.
One person at a table will check their cell phone. Next thing you know, EVERYONE is checking their cell phone. Sort of a monkey see, monkey do reaction.
Lindstrom believes this is all a sign that we are far too dependent on our cell phones and I think he is right.
He hits really close to home with how often people CHECK their phones even when they KNOW it hasn't vibrated or beeped. In other words, we are checking for messages we have a pretty good idea are NOT GOING TO BE THERE!!
I find myself doing this a lot. Mostly, in defense, when expecting very important messages from work or the attorney or a doctor, etc. It's almost a type of wishful thinking. If you keep checking your messages long enough, one will appear!!
Fascinating and real life stuff to be sure.
And now if you'll excuse me. My pocket is vibrating and I need to go see if it's real or not.