Conditioned Response

A Conditioned Response

I recall being in school and learning about the Russian Psychologist Ivan Pavlov.

He was a Nobel Prize winner in 1904, his most published experiment was with his dogs and them showing conditioned response.

He would ring a bell and immediately give them food.  His findings were that the dogs would salivate when they saw the food.

They then began to salivate when the bell was rang and they saw the food before eventually after a period of ringing the bell and giving them food, that they would salivate just at the ring of the bell.

Pavlov, Ivan Pavlov, Pavlov's dogs conditioning


Conditioned response is an amazing powerful force and it can be used to programme for good or ill.  I can guarantee that on at least one occasion you have driven your car without even thinking about what you are doing.  This is a conditioned response.

Just like when you have a passenger who is also a driver and someone crosses your path, the passenger will reach their foot for the break pedal!  This is called an automatic response to stimuli.


This conditioned response is the same with your friends and family. 

I want you to imagine that you tell them that you want to be the Managing Director of a big company. 

What do they say? 

They probably think that you are joking, maybe they even start to rationalise their opinions by saying things like ‘what’s the point of all that hard work’, ‘all that extra pressure’, ‘you have a good job why take on extra responsibility’, ‘don’t rock the boat’, ‘don’t bite off more than you can chew’. 

The list goes on with more negatives.

Yet, if you asked the Managing Director of a company he would not laugh.  Due to already being in the position himself, he knows that it is possible and would likely give you support.


I was probably about twenty years old when I was told a story about a businessman, who found some land for sale and knowing there was a need for it in the area, he imagined turning it into exclusive housing. 

When he told his father, and he will probably never forget these words, his father said ‘what if you buy all that land and you are unable to get planning permission’, ‘what if no one buys the expensive houses’ and ‘if I were you son I would stay as you are, don’t take the risk’.

That piece of land was purchased by a rich developer and is now known as ‘Millionaires Street’.


I often wonder what my life would be like if I had taken that big gamble or oppotunities that came my way when I was younger. What would you do?


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Who Is Karen Baughan?

Karen Baughan is an NLP Master Practitioner based in Bromsgrove, UK. Having used NLP to affect her own personal transformation, she now helps clients, from around the world, to transform their lives and achieve their dreams.