Pavlov and Behaviorism

The characters in Aldous Huxley's novel Brave New World undergo several processes of conditioning. Through the Neo-Pavlovian treatment individuals are equipped with certain reflexes and behavioral patterns that the World State wants them to have. People are supposed to be useful. They are conditioned to love certain activities and goods and despise others. The Deltas, for example, are made to hate flowers and books for economic reasons. The love of nature does not keep a factory going: “ ‘We condition the masses to hate the country, concluded the Director. But simultaneously we condition them to love all country sports. At the same time, we see to it that all country sports shall entail the use of elaborate apparatus.’ ” (Chapter 2, 36%).

In the condition...

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