I’m one of those people who considers themselves mostly void of addictive urges, aside from hyperventilating at the thought of being separated from my iPhone, and my more than frequent internet checking behaviour (… but what if something really important happens and I miss out?)
Prior to my Christmas break from work I developed quite the coffee habit in my desperate bid to finish up all my outstanding office based work. This was mostly grant writing I’d frequent the coffee maker to get my caffeinated beverage fix and to relieve myself from staring at my computer screen. My evening TV viewing seemed peppered with adverts for similar devices, featuring George Clooney’s seductive advances in coffee pod promotion. And then… whilst channel surfing through Christmas late evening television and finding Ocean’s Thirteen, starring Mr Clooney himself, I suddenly had the urge to go make coffee.
What I had managed to achieve was second-order conditioning myself to associate CS(coffee machine)-US(coffee) -> CR(caffeine fix), then CS(coffee machine)-CS(George Clooney), so CS(George Clooney) had indirectly become associated with CR(I want caffeine).
For the sake of clarity CS – conditioned stimulus, US – unconditioned stimulus, CR – conditioned response.