Ivan Pavlov, the Russian psychologist, proposed the idea of the ‘conditional reflex’ at the end of the 19th century, when he demonstrated that dogs who were given food while a bell was ringing would eventually salivate at the sound of the bell alone, even when no food was actually present.
Apropos of nothing I wondered, as you do, what breed of dog Pavlov ‘recruited’ for his experiments. Clever as Google is, it seems there’s no record of this – apparently he simply used indeterminate breeds.
Now I’m not sure about salivating when a bell rings (unless the ping of the microwave counts), but I reckon we probably all experience other forms of conditional reflexes, among them that old chestnut of answering ‘Fine’ or ‘Good’ when someone asks how we are.
How do you feel? Fine.
You probably just say it, however you actually feel. In fact it probably becomes such a conditioned response that it’s hard to even ask the question of yourself. How do I feel? Er, fine?
Here’s a little suggestion, though. Change just one word in the question and your internal response may prove more helpful.
Instead of ‘how do I feel’ ask yourself ‘what do I feel’.
It’s different, isn’t it? Not so easy to answer, either, I suggest.
Knowing what you feel is a good way to truly get to how you feel. So why not try this today? Change ‘how’ to ‘what’.
See where your thoughts take you.