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The Backward Bicycle Experiment Essay


The backward bicycle experiment demonstrates that a lot of skills are adopted on the unconscious level in the mind and usually a person is not aware how a certain learned activity is performed. The way skills become adopted and learned is through practice. For instance, in order to start riding a bicycle that always goes the opposite direction than where you turn it, you need to unlearn the way you rode regular bicycles before. The experiment demonstrates that people with learning disabilities still may master certain things even though he or she may need to do it “backwards.” Through practice any habit or any past knowledge can be altered entirely.

Classical Conditioning

The development of negative feelings to studying due to reception of bad marks in a certain subject can serve as an example illustrating the principle of classical conditioning. In this case, a bad mark accompanied by condemnation on behalf of a teacher stimulates a negative emotion (an unconditioned response). Suppose that the subject in which the student fails is math: the math textbook may become a conditioning stimulus. In other words, the child may show a similar negative response to studying the subject simply by looking at the math textbook. It can happen because the student will recall negative emotions linked to bad marks and anticipate negative learning experiences.

Operant Conditioning

In the episode of the Big Bang Theory, Sheldon used the method of operant conditioning to make Penny change her behaviors in accordance with his preferences. To do so, he offered her a chocolate candy each time she did something in the right way and sprayed water on her whenever she did something wrong. This method works because a person who learns new behaviors starts to associate them with positive emotions in case they are reinforced by pleasant stimuli. In contrast, one will avoid repeating certain behaviors if they are prevented through punishment. In this case, an undesirable behavior will be psychologically linked to negative feelings, which an individual will naturally aim to escape.

Bandura Bobo Doll Experiment

Bandura’s experiment demonstrated that children learn by observing adults. The children who participated in the study and saw adult participants beating the doll aggressively, imitated them afterward and were violent to the doll as well. I do think that the mechanism of imitation plays a crucial role in adopting aggressive behaviors. Moreover, I think that when a person observes violence a lot (especially when growing up), he or she can eventually see aggression as something entirely normal. In this situation, it may become an automatic response and one can be aggressive almost without understanding that he or she does something wrong.

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IvyPanda. (2020, December 8). The Backward Bicycle Experiment. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-backward-bicycle-experiment/

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IvyPanda. "The Backward Bicycle Experiment." December 8, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-backward-bicycle-experiment/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "The Backward Bicycle Experiment." December 8, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-backward-bicycle-experiment/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'The Backward Bicycle Experiment'. 8 December.

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