Spontaneous recovery


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This was a presentation for my Psychology of Digital Media class explaining the theory of Spontaneous Recovery, while providing an example of a website that the theory relates to.

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Spontaneous recovery

  1. 1. Spontaneous Recovery: the reappearance, after a rest period, of an extinguished conditioned response. (Myers, 2001). Extinction: the diminishing of a conditioned response; occurs in classical conditioning when an unconditioned stimulus (UCS) does not follow a conditioned stimulus (CS); occurs in operant conditioning when a response is no longer reinforced. (Myers, 2001). Spontaneous Recovery is the reemergence of conditioned responses that have previously undergone extinction. The term spontaneous recovery comes from classical conditioning that has gone through extinction and usually involves a neutral stimulus along with the stimulus of an unconditioned response. Extinction is usually focused within the Pavlovian fear conditioning structure where extinction results from the lack of an unconditioned response. An example of this comes from Pavlov’s dogs where the dogs were trained to salivate with the sound of a bell. When Pavlov continued to ring the bell over and over, the salivating slowly began to diminish, and eventually led to extinction. After the behavior had been extinct, it would later reappear with the sound of a bell, which is known as spontaneous recovery. The fact that there is a spontaneous recovery, suggests that extinction suppresses the conditioned response, rather than eliminating it altogether. Ivan Pavlov was a Russian physiologist, psychologist and physician born in 1849 who won the Nobel Peace Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1904 for his research and contribution in his discoveries in the digestion system. His research in the digestive system made him the first to describe the process of classical conditioning. Pavlov and his associates ultimately identified the five major conditioning responses: acquisition, extinction, spontaneous recovery, generalization and discrimination. (Myers, 2001) Spontaneous Recovery and Second Extinction Holly Wood | Psychology of Digital Media References: (2009). The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1904. Retrieved on July 2, 2010 from, http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1904/pavlov-bio.html Myers, D.G. (2001). Psychology. 6th Edition. 290-293.
  2. 2. Holly Wood | Psychology of Digital Media The Process at Play icanhascheezburger.com is an Internet meme that has revolutionized viewer created content on the web. Pet owners and animal lovers alike can post photos in addition to having the ability to caption any picture on the website. There’s also a tab for celebrities, sports, news, look-alikes, making fun of Facebook and other pop culture related blogs. The idea is that anyone can participate. icanhascheezburger is really the first internet based company to create and popularize the lol speak which is a term where acronyms are used to describe emotion or feeling. Many who leave comments tend to have a good understanding of the lol language. Visitors are able to register which allows them to comment on photos and bookmark favorites.
  3. 3. The Process at Play and Digital Media When the viewer first looks at the website, they might be confused about what it is they are actually seeing. Though the viewer may initially find the website to be a waste of time, the images and captions that follow are hilarious and shocking at the same time, which makes the viewer continue on to the next pages. The viewer can’t help but laugh or smile whenever he or she sees the cute cats or dogs in awkward situations. There are many psychological reactions to this website when first viewed. For those who fear clowns for example, a viewer might find the the side image to be disturbing. It could prevent a person from wanting further search the website, based on their own conditioned response to such images, but this response will most likely diminish over time, until extinguished. The spontaneous recovery comes into play again with the viewing of a new image that is shocking. There are so man facets of this website that invoke emotional reaction to an image or caption, and therefore conditioned response will always reappear, even after classic conditioning and extinction of the emotional responses. It is evident that this method gets return visitors.
  4. 4. • It’s important to find out where people are learning about icanhascheezburger from. This would explain much about the demographic. Spontaneous Recovery and icanhascheezburger • Continue to find new ways to retain visitors, by creating new, interesting blogs that follow the theme and create a response that keeps them coming back for more. • Create further incentives to retain more people. Hold more contests or offer merchandise giveaways.