The Desensitization and Operant Conditioning of Soldiers: How the Military Trains People to Kill

1. Introduction

In On Killing, Dave Grossman argues that the urge against killing a fellow human being becomes pronounced in close combats and many soldiers will not kill naturally. He believes that the military utilizes desensitization and operant conditioning to get soldiers to kill and that this contributes to the mental collapse of soldiers in close combat. Grossman also compares the shootings in Vietnam War to World War II, noting that there were more killed in action (KIA) in Vietnam despite the fact that soldiers were less likely to be exposed to close combat in Vietnam. He attributes this to the desensitization and operant conditioning of soldiers, which led to more indiscriminate killings in Vietnam. Finally, Grossman discusses post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how it affects soldiers who have been in close combat. He argues that PTSD is a result of the mental collapse that occurs when soldiers are faced with the reality of killing another human being.

2. On Killing: the desensitization and operant conditioning of soldiers

Grossman believes that the military utilizes desensitization and operant conditioning to get soldiers to kill. Desensitization is a process whereby a person is exposed to an event or thing over time and becomes less responsive to it. For example, a child who watches violence on television will become less sensitive to violence over time. Operant conditioning is a process whereby a person learns to associate a particular behavior with a particular consequence. For example, a child who is rewarded for watching violent TV programs will learn to associate violence with pleasure. The military uses both of these processes to train soldiers to kill.

Grossman argues that the military utilizes desensitization by exposing soldiers to violence through movies, video games, and simulations prior to deployment. By doing so, the military is able to make soldiers less sensitive to violence and more likely to kill when they are actually deployed. In addition, the military uses operant conditioning by rewarding soldiers for killing enemies. For example, soldiers who kill enemies may receive medals, promotions, or other forms of recognition from their superiors. This reinforcement teaches soldiers to associate killing with positive outcomes, which makes them more likely to kill in combat situations.

3. The mental collapse of soldiers in close combat

Grossman believes that the mental collapse of soldiers in close combat is a result of the desensitization and operant conditioning that they undergo during training. When they are actually faced with the reality of killing another human being, they are unable to cope with the psychological stressors involved. This leads to a breakdown in their mental state and they are unable to function properly in combat situations. This can lead to further indiscriminate killings as well as increased rates of post-traumatic stress disorder among soldiers.

4. shootings in Vietnam War as compared to World War II

Grossman compares the shootings in Vietnam War to World War II, noting that there were more killed in action (KIA) in Vietnam despite the fact that soldiers were less likely to be exposed to close combat in Vietnam. He attributes this to the desensitization and operant conditioning of soldiers, which led to more indiscriminate killings in Vietnam. In addition, he argues that the increased number of KIAs in Vietnam was also due to the mental collapse of soldiers in close combat. This mental collapse led to increased rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and more indiscriminate killings.

5. post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers

Grossman discusses post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how it affects soldiers who have been in close combat. He argues that PTSD is a result of the mental collapse that occurs when soldiers are faced with the reality of killing another human being. When they are unable to cope with the psychological stressors involved, they may experience flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and depression. In addition, they may also suffer from physical symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and fatigue. PTSD can lead to further mental and physical health problems as well as difficulty functioning in everyday life.

6. teenagers and violent TV

Grossman argues that the desensitization and operant conditioning of soldiers is similar to the process that occurs when children watch violent TV programs. He believes that children who are exposed to violence on television will become less sensitive to violence over time. In addition, they will learn to associate violence with positive outcomes if they are rewarded for watching violent TV programs. This can lead to increased rates of violence in society as children grow up to be adults.

7. conclusion

In conclusion, Dave Grossman argues that the urge against killing a fellow human being becomes pronounced in close combats and many soldiers will not kill naturally. He believes that the military utilizes desensitization and operant conditioning to get soldiers to kill and that this contributes to the mental collapse of soldiers in close combat. Grossman also compares the shootings in Vietnam War to World War II, noting that there were more killed in action (KIA) in Vietnam despite the fact that soldiers were less likely to be exposed to close combat in Vietnam. He attributes this to the desensitization and operant conditioning of soldiers, which led to more indiscriminate killings in Vietnam. Finally, Grossman discusses post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how it affects soldiers who have been in close combat. He argues that PTSD is a result of the mental collapse that occurs when soldiers are faced with the reality of killing another human being.

FAQ

On Killing is a book about the psychological effects of killing on soldiers.

Dave Grossman is a retired Army colonel and former West Point psychology professor. He has written several books on the subject of violence and its prevention.

Grossman defines "killing" as taking another human life intentionally, whether in self-defense or during wartime.

He believes that there are several factors that contribute to a person's willingness to kill, including desensitization to violence, peer pressure, and the belief that killing is necessary in order to achieve a goal.

There are some situations in which killing may be justified, such as self-defense or defense of others, but Grossman does not believe that all killings can be justified.

Grossman's proposed solutions for reducing the number of killings include better training for soldiers and law enforcement officers, improved mental health screening and treatment for those at risk for violence, and stricter gun control laws