Dr. Pete Johnson
Mid-Plains Community College
As I sit in a classroom, I hear the buzz of activity outside the classroom and the teacher’s voice, I can smell hints of the perfume the person next to me is wearing, I feel the hardness of the chair and the pencil in my hands, and I see all the people and the way they move. Coding is a way our brains make sense of the world. Coding is defined as the brain distributing information to make sense of the world and putting the information in a form that the brain can use. We take in information with our sense of hearing, taste, touch, smell, and sight and our brain processes the information. This helps us make sense of all the images and sensations rapidly speeding through our brains so that we perceive a fluid world instead of a bundle of images. The main idea of the Gestalt perception is that we tend to view things as a whole. We don’t interpret people who can only be partially seen as just the parts of a person but we recognize them as being a whole person. The world would be chaotic if every time we saw a person who was standing behind a table as a lower body and an upper body and our brain couldn’t infer that it was one person. Adaptation is another way our senses are perceived as stable. Adaption is when our senses adjust to the point where they are functioning at optimal way. Our senses adapt to help us better understand and orient our world. While the Gestalt perception may help us view our world as stable, it can also lead to incorrect conclusions in our minds. The closure aspect of the Gestalt perception is when our brain closes an area when it really is not. The brain connects lines automatically even when they are separate. Illusions are another way our brain falsely perceives what is going on. Illusions are false sensations, a distortion of size and shape that isn’t there. How the images are arranged, combinations of colors, and light source among others can lead to a range of misleading effects in perception (Cherry, 2010). The signal detection theory says that there is a lot we miss in our perception of the world, and our brain just automatically fills in the gaps for us. That means that sometimes our brains may fill in the gaps wrong.
To understand classical conditioning and operant conditioning we must understand the basis of what conditioning is. Conditioning is when we expect certain results to behavior and things to come. It is the associations we form. Classical conditioning is when a stimulus is repeatedly paired with a stimulus that already triggers an automatic reflexive response (Bernstein, 2008). It is a passive conditioning that just happens even when nothing is consciously done. An example of classical conditioning in the classroom would be when a teacher hands me a test, no matter how prepared I am my body reacts by my heart speeding up and my stomach feeling like it drops. This happens any time someone hands me a test, even if it doesn’t matter or affect me at all. Another example of classical conditioning could deal with the classroom itself. If it is a class I do not enjoy, I don’t like going in that classroom at all even when it is not for class. I don’t think about these reactions, I don’t even necessarily want them to happen, but they are an automatic response that my body has conditioned itself to do that I have little control over.
Operant conditioning is active conditioning that trains through punishments and rewards. An example of operant conditioning in the classroom would be that when the teacher walks in the room I turn off the sound on my phone and put it in my bag for the duration of class. If I don’t do this, I will be punished through getting in trouble. I know I don’t want that punishment so I do the response to avoid the punishment. This is an example of positive punishment. The fact that I get better grades when I attend class and it helps me to