In the book A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess the main character, Alex, is exposed to an experimental technique known as "Ludovico's Technique" which causes him to feel pain whenever he is exposed to sex, violence, or certain types of music. This Ludovico's Technique is a form of behavior modification, most likely inspired by B.F. Skinner.
Burrhus Frederic Skinner was a widely known, and criticized, psychologist/behaviorist who founded the operant science of behaviorism around 1938. He is most famous for "Skinner's box", where a rat would be placed in a box and conditioned to press a lever in order to receive food. What Skinner is most widely criticized for is his disbelief in the higher mental activities, such as thinking, and his own belief in the feeling of freedom is more important than actual freedom, which he also believed to be an illusion (B.F. Skinner, pg. 107). Some of Skinner's accomplishments include: project pigeon (1940), the baby tender ( 1944), a work of fiction titled Walden Two ( 1948), and his most widely criticized book titled Beyond Freedom and Dignity (1971).
To roughly explain Skinner's connection with Alex's modification I will briefly go over his past achievements. Project Pigeon was an idea conceived by Skinner to use pigeons as missile guidance systems during WWII (B.F. Skinner, pg. 122). The project never left the experimental stage, due to Washington's opinion that it was a "backwater project" compared to gyroscope guidance, but it confirms Skinner's confidence in behaviorism. The "baby tender" was conceived shortly after his wife became pregnant with their second child.
There he built a thermostatically controlled, enclosed crib with a safety glass front and a stretched canvas floor. This would be Deborah's home within a home for the first two and a half years of her life-although at no time was the tender her exclusive environment, as has been written (B.F. Skinner, pg. 129).
Although this enclosed environment was never meant to condition his child, it has been used by his critics to dehumanize him. Walden Two was a work of fiction, which exposed many of Skinner' s beliefs about society. The main character, Frazier, set up a community in which he used operant conditioning, the positive reinforcement side of it, to create an almost utopian community (B.F. Skinner, pg. 148). Skinner's most criticized book, Beyond Freedom and Dignity, suggested that "the survival of the human species and hence the future of humankind could be best engineered by a science of behavior that decried the concept of individual freedom as the solution to the great problems of the day" (B.F. Skinner, pg. 193). Skinner concluded this controversial book with the line "We have not yet seen what man can make of man" (B.F. Skinner, pg. 195). Such experiments must have influenced Burgess when he was writing about Alex.
The two types of behavior conditioning are respondent, or classical, conditioning,...