Can we really retrain our unconscious responses?

April 30, 2017

Russian Psychologist Ivan Pavlov learned that Dogs salivate at the sight of food.  He retrained this automatic response to salivate, by ringing a bell immediately before feeding time.  This was repeated over and over again.  These dogs were trained that the sound of a bell meant that food was on its way.  In preparation for the food the dogs began to salivate.  Because they believed that food was on its way, over time the sound of the bell alone would cause the dogs to begin to salivate.

What if you could train your autonomic nervous system?  The autonomic nervous system is broken up into two main parts.  The sympathetic nervous system that controls our fight/flight response?  And the parasympathetic nervous system that controls our appetite and sexual desire.

These are automatic responses to stimuli.

It is believed that self-control is lowered when we are sleep deprived or low amounts of glycogen in the body.

When stimulus hits one of those 4 responses, we immediately have an automatic response.

Anger (fight), Fear (flight), lust (sexual desire), hunger (gluttony).

Think about antisocial behaviour and crime.  Is not all of crime attached to one of these primal functions?

How then can we train our autonomic nervous system to respond in a different way?  This has been a question that psychologists have asked since the dawn of time.

The answer is neurological re-patterning.

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