When I was younger, my sister used to be afraid of lightning. Whenever we would ride in the car in the middle of a thunderstorm, she would always cover her eyes and crouch down in the seat. This same response happened with every flash of lightning. When analyzing this situation, I realized that the lightning is not what was scaring her. It was the loud booming thunder that followed right after the flashes of light. She was so used to the thunder coming right afterward, that she considered it to be all together.
After reading Chapter 7, I realized that she didn’t really have a dramatic fear, but she was just conditioned. In classical conditioning, a person learns to associate two stimuli with a response. In the case of my sister, the two stimuli were the lightning and thunder. The neutral stimulus, which happened to be the lightning, originally has no response before conditioning. (If she was really afraid of lightning, she would jump at the flick of every light switch.) The unconditioned stimulus which, was the thunder, is a stimulus that naturally causes a response. This response, also known as the unconditioned response, would be my sister’s flinching and covering her eyes. The conditioning process happens when the unconditioned stimulus immediately follows the neutral stimulus repeatedly. This creates the conditioned response to the now conditioned stimulus. In this case, my sister would automatically flinch when she saw the lightning. My sister’s conditioning wasn’t permanent and she eventually grew out of it over time.