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Human Behaviorism In A Clockwork Orange By Anthony Burgess

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“While physics and mathematics may tell us how the universe began, they are not much use in predicting human behavior because there are far too many equations to solve,” (Stephen Hawking). People on a day to day basis do many actions without realizing it and most of the time they do not know why they make them. All organisms, including human beings, are highly influenced by the consequences produced by their own behavior. In the book A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, Alex the narrator, is a wild and young boy who along with his friends gets a high by causing harm to others by committing acts of robbery and rape. Alex eventually gets caught and is sent to prison. During his prison stay, scientists are interested in Alex’s violent behavior…show more content…
F. Skinner was a well-known psychologist/behaviorist who founded the operant of behaviorism. He was also known for the “Skinner box” and other great experiments. Skinner however, believes most behavior differs from the classical form of conditioning, believing in what is called operant conditioning. Operant conditioning is different from classical conditioning because it involves actual behavior. Instead of reflex responses, operant conditioning rewards or punishes a person for actually doing something. In Alex’s case, his behavior was to perform violence. During the process the doctors applied negative reinforcement to Alex’s violent behavior. Alex would become violently ill when receiving the injections and as a result, whenever he was exposed to violence he felt sick when he tried to perform…show more content…
Another example of classical conditioning is when Pavlov had studied dogs that salivated when they tasted food. He called the food the “unconditioned stimulus and the salivation the unconditioned response” (McLeod). This was unconditioned because salivating was a natural response to the food. Pavlov then rang a bell before the food was presented to the dogs. Eventually, the dogs associated the sound of a bell with food. The bell is a conditioned stimulus and the salivation the conditioned response. Alex had a similar experience to that of the dogs. The injections he received were an unconditioned stimulus and the sickness was an unconditioned response to the injections. Since the scientists made him watch ultra-violent videos while being injected, he began to associate what he saw with what he felt. The ultra-violence became the conditioned stimulus, and Alex’s sickness without the injection became the conditioned