Have you ever read about Pavlov's experiments ? Essentially it is the association of one stimuli with a reaction of a totally different stimuli by frequent occurrences of the two stimuli together. I read through an entire book (translated from russian, except for the diagrams) about the experiment in 1998 on a sleepless night. It deals with old problem where the mind creates causation patterns from mere correlation and wires itself up accordingly. A bell ringing has nothing to do with the fact that the dogs get food afterwards - except for validating the theory, that is.
I'm not a dog, still the experiment applies equally well to me - provided my conscious self is not involved. Consider music for instance. The term mood music has often been misused a lot in this world. What mood a particular tune puts you into doesn't have much to do with the actual lyrics or the song patterns - but mostly to nostalgia to what you were doing at that point. Let me qualify and put my tune moods in order, just to make that clear.
When I'm feeling really bad, nothing cheers me up like Eminem with Slim Shady or 8 Mile. A little better and I just switch to Dido - No Angel (the video was just too good) or Lucky Ali's O Sanam . When I want to work, I play Enigma - mainly Return to Innocence, Gravity of Love and Beyond the Invisible. These were songs I used to filter out all background noise, when I used to study at home. These songs have a sort of flow that you can totally ignore and sort of focusses your mind out of the body. You should really experience Deep Hack to know what I'm talking about - your body temperature inverts (sort of) , your head will be running a temperature, while your feet will be experiencing pin-pricks of numbness, hearing (more like feeling) your heart beat and that vein near your neck starts to pulse. It's a rare occurrence - but when you're in there, you can do no wrong - you're the master and the world obeys.
These are reverse associations - which I've exploited to manipulate myself. Some of these are accidental, for example the songs from Sapnay makes me want to draw stuff, which was what I was doing for about two weeks after I bought the tape. Shakira's La Tortura automatically pops up Tin Tin into my head as I read 6 books while that one was in the loop. Un Dos Tres always makes me feel cheerful, because that summer I spent at Cochin with all my cousins and just having a wild time at my uncle's wedding - and my cousins just would keep turning up the volume whenever Ricky Martin came up. My introduction to real rock has been too recent for me to cultivate these unconscious triggers - it doesn't work when you want it to happen (*duh*). But Let It Be or Summer of 69 does kick in those endorphins and get me chillin'.
There are songs which leave me totally blank too. That's my definition of pop - Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and company. Even stuff like Westlife, Blue, Backstreet and N'Sync. They carry no message for me - they are just sound. Sounds that I like hearing better than silence, but not anything more. Even worse, there are songs that leave me feeling bad or guilty. That's mostly malayalam songs. Stuff like the one in Kireedam - kanneer poovinte kavilil thalodi. Sort of screams disappointment - come to think of it, I can't remember what happened back then.
Anyway this thing often gets in my way. Like, when you go to a party and they're playing some trance - and you pop into that Work Hard (tm) mode. But on the other hand, I passed all my engineering exams where studying was a single night affair only - a One Night Stand with the subject and then dump it. After all, who needs to pop in a Ritalin when you can just pop in a record and get in the mood - that reminds me I need to create a new association for some soft rock ;)
All in all, it just proves how easy it is to manipulate a person using external stimuli without even introducing conscious elements like greed or jealousy. Puts new meaning when you think back to Brave New World : "62,400 repetitions make one truth".--
Pavlov's dogs were stupid, but thankfully so are most humans