Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Ludovico Technique

The Ludovico technique is a fictional drug-assisted aversion therapy from the novel and film A Clockwork Orange. It involves the patient being forced to watch violent images for long periods of time, while under the effect of drugs that cause a near death experience. The idea is that if the patient is forced to watch the horribly graphic rapes, assaults and other acts of violence while suffering from the drug effects, the patient will assimilate the sensations and then become incapacitated or very ill either attempting to perform or even just witnessing said acts of violence.

The Ludovico technique is an artistic semblance of the psychological phenomenon known as classical conditioning which is a form of associative learning that was first demonstrated by Ivan Pavlov. The typical procedure for inducing classical conditioning involves presentations of a neutral stimulus along with a stimulus of some significance. The neutral stimulus could be any event that does not result in an overt behavioral response from the organism under investigation. In the story of A Clockwork Orange, when the protagonist, Alex, is made the subject of the Ludovico technique, he is conditioned to associate his illness with violence.

In the process of creating both the novel and film adaptation of A Clockwork Orange, original author Anthony Burgess and film director Stanley Kubrick both went to painstaking effort to incorporate a plethora of symbols for the context of the story.

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