The basic premise behind these instructions is that when you’re in bed and find that you’re not feeling drowsy, it’s best to get out of the sleeping position by sitting in bed or getting out of bed and moving to another area of the house. This becomes a problem because when you sleep somewhere other than the bed, you create a connection between sleeping and non-sleep environments. Stimulus control means using the bed only to sleep. If you find yourself tossing and falling asleep, take a break to identify your state of mind.
What is an example of stimulus control?
behavior of laboratory animals is easy to control through such stimuli, and this is where the concept of stimulus control was born. For example, if you always eat when you watch TV, your eating behavior is controlled by the stimulus of watching television. For example, you could overeat popcorn when the lights go out at the movie theater, or light a cigarette when you start driving a car. A child who says dog in the presence of a chihuahua but not “dog” when it is in the presence of a Maine coon cat is demonstrating stimulus control.
Skinner, whose research on operant conditioning led to the concepts in the second half of this chapter, used stimulus control to further his scientific work.