Tag Archive for pavlov

For Whom the Whistle Blows

This episode contains offensive language.

In this episode of Reasonably Sound we talk about how it is that through repetition, seemingly innocuous sounds come to be laden with meaning and can even guide the behavior of subjects exposed to them.

First, we spend a little time on how dogs are trained and the difference between classical and operant conditioning: a little bit of Pavlov, and a little bit of B.F. Skinner (an unwitting participant in the design of addictive games and social media, by a certain view).

After talking for a bit about dog whistles of the ultrasonic kind–the ones you can’t hear, but fido can–we spend the second half of the episode talking about dog whistles of the political kind. We talk about why certain kinds of political messages, ones dealing largely in hatefulness, are named after a piece of silent pup training paraphernalia, and how they can work to guide the behavior of people who have the ability hear them.

Double extra super THANKS to all of Reasonably Sound’s Patrons, who help keep the show afloat. Special shoutout to Allie, Andy McMillan, Autumn, Brandon, Camilla Greer, Chelsea Herrington, Coral Kennelty-Cohen, Dale Jakes, Elliott, Hans Buetow, Ildaris, Jesse Gamble, Joachim, Joe Krushinsky, John Cifuentes, Kyle Adkins, Liz M, Scott, Susan Rugnetta, Talia F E, Tim, Tod Kurt, Xander C

Reasonably Sound’s music is by Will Stratton
Its visual design is by Tida Tep.


On Dog Whistle Racism, Generally: