The other day, I was pruning our raspberries in our fruit garden. The raspberriy plants grow perpendicular to horizontal steel wires. As I was pulling weeds and dry raspberry stalks, I noticed that I was very careful not to touch the steel wire, which struck me as strange. Where did that fear come from??Classical conditioning (also known as Pavlovian or respondent conditioning) refers to learning procedure in which a biologically potent stimulus (e.g. food) is paired with a previously neutral stimulus (e.g. a bell). It also refers to the learning process that results from this pairing, through which the neutral stimulus comes to elicit a response (e.g. salivation) that is usually similar to the one elicited by the potent stimulus.
And I recalled that I was hit by electric current from an electric fence several times as I was cutting down shrubs at a remote end of our property that borders on a meadow where cows graze and which has an electric fence (it's a simple single-line electric fence). There is very little room between our fence and the electric fence, so I had very little room for work, and got hit by the current despite my best efforts not to touch the electric fence.
The lowest steel wire in our raspberry patch is at a similar height as the electric fence, so this seems to be the trigger for the fear. But the last time I was hit by electric current from the electric fence was at least ten months ago. That's how long the effects can last!
I'm really surprised that this works this way.
Do any of you have similar experiences in classical conditioning?