Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pavlovian Conditioning

I've been noticing this for a while now but every time I put on some sunscreen to go riding, I have a form of Pavlovian response to the scent of Coppertone Sport on my face, arms and legs.  Coppertone sunscreen always reminds me of the two weeks every year that we spend in Hawaii, where every day from morning until evening, sunscreen is a necessity.  Coppertone represents good times, worry-free, vacation and fun and obviously, my response to this conditioned stimulus is one that associates what's coming next -- an ocean swim, a cold drink and maybe a luau later on.  When I put it on prior to riding my bike (here in the mainland, of course), all that seems to be missing is the saltwater and I'm transported to the land of Aloha.  It's a strange but totally expected response given that Pavlovian conditioning is commonly accepted as truth.  However, I do wonder if when we go to Kauai this year, whether putting on Coppertone will elicit memories of my bike rides through Rancho Cucamonga. 

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