Problem Child

Topics: Operant conditioning, Reinforcement, Classical conditioning Pages: 3 (836 words) Published: September 15, 2008
Growing up with a younger sister doesn’t leave a lot of pleasant memories at all. Maybe a lot of excruciatingly funny ones, amusing ones, horrific ones but nothing pleasant at the least. Well, even if a trip down memory lane won’t be a lot of fun for me, but for academic reasons and for the sake of education, here’s a few moments of my life living with what I call a ‘problem child’ – though my father would beg otherwise.

When she was around three years old, my sister found a really clever way of getting attention that even I, her older, obviously more intelligent brother would never have thought of. It all started when my sister and I were in the back seat and my parents were in front. They were talking about something I couldn’t remember, completely ignoring us in the back. Then out of nowhere, my sister vomited. Blech. Bits of her post-masticated, pre-digested lunch ended up on the seat covers and unfortunately, me. Then my parents’ attention shifted from each other to my puke covered sister. Ah, the pity. Now with all the positive reinforcement of attention being showered upon her, a light bulb must’ve lit up in her head: if I vomit, they would all notice me.

Since that incident, she has been vomiting more frequently than a normal toddler should. When I was playing with my toys and she was coloring some pictures in her coloring book, she suddenly vomited and just like magic, our maid’s attention was on her. When my parents were having visitors over and they were all in the living room, she suddenly vomited again and just like magic, our parents excused themselves from our visitors and came to her aid. After a while, my mother noticed that she wasn’t really sick. It’s just that whenever everybody fails to notice her, she would stick a finger or two down her throat to trigger the gag reflex and vomit. She must have gotten through insight that whenever she touches the back of her throat she would vomit – then couple that with a positive reinforcement in...
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