On my way to a sociology degree, I met Pavlov’s dog. Not the actual one, but Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov’s theory based on his study of salivating dogs. He noticed the dogs salivated whenever he gave them food. After a while, he noticed they salivated whenever he entered the room, even if he didn’t give them food.
Pavlov and his pets have become a cliché for conditioning humans and animals to do one thing when another thing occurs. In my case, the thing I do is go to my email program almost immediately when I hear the little ‘ping’ sound that a new email has arrived in my inbox. No matter what I’m doing, the ‘ping’ has conditioned me to drop it and head for my computer. I don’t salivate, however.
My old computer received email quietly, so I usually finished a task before checking new arrivals. And I’m sure I could set the new computer to do the same. But I find the conditioning aspect interesting.
Of course, when the ‘ping’ begins to invade my subconscious in the middle of the night and I rise to check my email, I’ll probably reconsider.
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