accuses it of being prudish. Vandalism is a more concrete example
of counteraggression—toward the group as a whole or toward a
specific subgroup, as in the willful destruction of school property.
Religious revolt may be directed toward a specific agency, as in
protestant reform, or against the theological system used in control,
as in atheism. Revolt against governmental control is exemplified,
not only by political revolution, but, when the structure of the
group permits, by impeachment or a vote of no confidence.
Passive resistance. Another result, far less easily described,
consists of simply not behaving in conformity with controlling
practices. This often follows when the individual has been
extinguished in efforts to escape or revolt. The behavior is
epitomized by the mule which fails to respond to the aversive
stimulation of the whip. The child, unsuccessful in avoiding or
revolting against parental control, simply becomes stubborn. The
employee, unable to escape (by resigning) or to revolt in
vandalism or other acts of violence, simply "slows down," "sits
down," or "strikes." Thoreau's civil disobedience, practiced perhaps
most conspicuously by Gandhi, is the parallel reaction to
The controlling agency usually deals with these by-products by
intensifying its practices. The escapee is captured and confined
more securely. The revolt is put down, and the revolutionist shot.
The apostate is excommunicated. A fire is built under the mule,
and Thoreau is jailed. The agency may also meet this problem by
preparing the individual in advance to control his own tendencies
to escape, revolt, or strike. It classifies these types of behavior as
wrong, illegal, or sinful, and punishes accordingly. As a result any
tendency on the part of the individual to escape, revolt, or strike
generates aversive self-stimulation, a reduction in which may
reinforce behavior acceptable to the agency. But in the long run the
problem cannot be solved in this way. Intensification of control
may simply multiply the difficulties. Physical restraint or death
may effectively eliminate behavior, but the individual is no longer
useful to the group. Restraint is unsuccessful in controlling the
covert behavior in which the individual may plan escape or revolt.
Restraint also cannot control many sorts of emotional reactions.
Techniques designed to gen-
erate additional self-control of emotional behavior are, as we have
seen, especially inadequate.
The by-products of control which incapacitate the individual or
are dangerous either to the individual or to others are the special
field of psychotherapy. We shall discuss this as a kind of controlling
agency. Among the kinds of behavior which it treats we may
distinguish certain effects primarily in the field of emotion and
others in operant behavior.
EMOTIONAL BY-PRODUCTS OF CONTROL
Fear. The controlling practice which leads the individual to escape
also gives rise to the emotional pattern of fear. Reflex responses in
glands and smooth muscles are first elicited by the aversive stimuli
used in punishment and later by any stimuli which have occurred at
the same time. These responses may be accompanied by a profound
change in operant behavior—an increase in the strength of any
behavior which has led to escape and a general weakening of other
forms. The individual shows little interest in food, sex, or practical
or artistic enterprises, and in the extreme case he may be essentially
"paralyzed by fear."
When the stimuli which have this effect are supplied by the
punishing agent, the individual suffers from an excessive fear of
his father, the police, God, and so on. When they arise from the
occasion upon which punished behavior has occurred, the
individual is afraid of such occasions. Thus if he has been
punished for sexual behavior, he may become unduly afraid of
anything which has to do with sex; if he has been punished for being
unclean, he may become unduly afraid of filth; and so on. When the
stimuli are generated by the punished behavior itself, the individual
is afraid to act—he is, as we say, afraid of himself. It is often difficult,
for either the individual himself or anyone else, to identify the
stimulation responsible for the emotional pattern. If the condition
recurs frequently, as is especially likely to be the case with self-
generated stimuli, the fear may become chronic.
The phobias represent excessive fear reactions to circumstances
which are not always clearly associated with control. But the fact that
they are "unreasonable" fears—fears for which no commensurate
causal condition can be found—suggests that they are primarily
responses to punishment and that the fear generated by excessive
control has simply been displaced (Chapter X).
Anxiety. A common accompaniment of avoidance or escape is
anxiety. As we saw in Chapter XI, fear of a future event may be
aroused by specific stimuli which have preceded punishing events or
by features of the general environment in which such events have
occurred. Anxiety may vary in intensity from a slight worry to
extreme dread. The condition includes both responses of glands and
smooth muscles and marked changes in operant behavior. We imply
that the condition is due to controlling practices when we call it
shame, guilt, or a sense of sin.
Anger or rage. The emotional pattern which accompanies revolt
includes responses of glands and smooth muscles and a well-marked
effect upon operant behavior which includes a heightened disposition
to act aggressively toward the controlling agent and a weakening of
other behavior. The emotion may be displaced from the controlling
agent to other people or to things in general. A mild example is a
bad temper; an extreme one, sadism. The temper tantrum appears to
be a sort of undirected revolt.
Depression. Emotional responses associated with passive resistance
are of several kinds. The stubborn child also sulks; the adult may be
depressed, resentful, moody, listless, or bored, depending upon minor
details of control. (Boredom arises not simply because there is nothing
to do but because nothing can be done—either because a situation is
unfavorable for action or because the group or a. controlling agency
has imposed physical or self-restraint.)
All these emotional patterns may, of course, be generated by
aversive events which have nothing to do with social control. Thus
a storm at sea may generate fear or anxiety, a door which will not open
may engender frustration or rage, and something akin to sulking is
the emotional counterpart of protracted extinction, as at the end of a
long but fruitless struggle to win an argument or repair a bicycle. By
far the greater part of the inciting circumstances of this sort,
however, are due to the control of the individual by the group or by
governmental or religious agencies.
The effects may be severe. Productive patterns of behavior are
distorted by strong emotional predispositions, and the operant
behavior which is strengthened in emotion may have disastrous
consequences. Frequent or chronic emotional responses of glands
and smooth muscles may injure the individual's health. Disorders of
the digestive system, including ulcers, and allergic reactions have
been traced to chronic responses in fear, anxiety, rage, or
depression. These are sometimes called "psychosomatic" disorders.
The term carries the unfortunate implication that the illness is the
effect of the mind upon the body. As we have seen, it is sometimes
correct to say that an emotional state causes a medical disability, as
when a chronic response of glands or smooth muscles produces a
structural change, such as an ulcer, but both cause and effect are
somatic, not psychic. Moreover, an earlier link in the causal chain
remains to be identified. The emotional state which produces the
disability must itself be accounted for and treated. The manipulable
variables of which both the somatic cause and the somatic effect
are functions lie in the environmental history of the individual.
Some psychosomatic "symptoms" are merely parallel effects of
such a prior common cause. For example, an asthmatic attack is
not the effect of anxiety, it is part of it.
SOME EFFECTS OF CONTROL
UPON OPERANT BEHAVIOR
Control through punishment may also have unforeseen effects
upon operant behavior. The process of self-control miscarries when
the individual discovers ways of avoiding aversive self-stimulation
which prove eventually to be ineffective, troublesome, or
dangerous. Emotional reactions may be involved, but we are
concerned here with the operant effect only.
Drug addiction as a form of escape. Certain drugs provide a
temporary escape from conditioned or unconditioned aversive
stimulation as well as from accompanying emotional responses.
Alcohol is conspicuously successful. The individual who has
engaged in behavior
which has been punished, and who therefore feels guilty or
ashamed, is reinforced when he drinks alcohol because self-
generated aversive stimuli are thus suppressed. A very strong
tendency to drink may result from repeated reinforcement,
especially if the aversive condition is severe. The word "addiction"
is often reserved for the case in which the drug provides escape
from the aversive effects called withdrawal symptoms, which are
produced by the earlier use of the drug itself. Alcohol may lead to
this sort of addiction, but such drugs as morphine and cocaine
show it more clearly. Addiction at this stage is a different problem,
but the earlier use of the drug can usually be explained by its effect
upon the consequences of punishment.
Excessively vigorous behavior. The individual may show an
unusually high probability of response which is not "well adapted
to reality" in the sense that the behavior cannot be accounted for in
terms of current variables. It can sometimes be explained by
pointing to an earlier history of control. When effective escape is
impossible, for example, a highly aversive condition may evoke
ineffective behavior in the form of aimless wandering or searching.
Simple "nervousness" is often of this sort. The individual is uneasy
and cannot rest, although his behavior cannot be explained
plausibly in terms of its current consequences.
Sometimes there are obvious consequences, but we need to
appeal to an earlier history to show why they are reinforcing. For
example, behavior may provide a measure of escape by generating
stimuli which evoke reactions incompatible with the emotional by-
products of punishment. Thus in "thrill-seeking" the individual
exposes himself to stimuli which evoke responses incompatible
with depression or boredom. We explain why the "thrill" is
reinforcing by showing that it supplants an aversive result of
excessive control. Sometimes the behavior to be explained can be
shown to be a form of "doing something else." A preoccupation
which does not appear to offer commensurate positive
reinforcement is explained by showing that it avoids the aversive
consequences of some other course of action. Some compulsions
and obsessions appear to have this effect. A preoccupation with
situations in which punished behavior is especially unlikely to
occur may be explained in much the same way. When the
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