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Cook and Mineka (1989)

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Danielle Beale

on 4 April 2014

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Transcript of Cook and Mineka (1989)

So, observer groups watched one of four kinds of videotapes for 12 sessions.

Fear in the observers was then assessed by the time taken to reach for food in the presence of the fear stimulus (toy snake, toy crocodile, flowers or toy rabbit.)

In both experiments, the
time taken
reach the food increased
after watching the video-tape when the fear stimulus was
(snake or crocodile.)

For example, it increased from
9 to 27 seconds
in the presence of a toy
after watching the video.

Who developed systematic desensitisation?

Wolpe (1988) claims that __________of patients are either apparently cured or much improved after an average of 25-30 sessions.

Which disorder does systematic desensitisation appear not to help?

Give two strengths and two weaknesses of systematic desensitisation

What can be put in place to enable SD to work with social phobias?

What other types of therapies are there?

Experiment 1
2 lab
experiments were run.

In the first,
22 lab-reared rhesus monkeys aged 4 – 11
years observed a
32 year old wild – reared monkey
who had a fear of

The observer monkeys watched a
of the model responding with fear to a snake.

They also watched a video in which the fear response was
spliced with footage of flowers
, so that it appeared that the model was afraid of the flowers.

Learning Objectives
All students must be able to:
Describe and evaluate Cook and Mineka (1989)

Cook and Mineka (1989)
Study in Detail

To test whether
can acquire
fear responses
of other monkeys

To see whether they are more likely to learn fear of
dangerous objects
than non-dangerous ones (a comparison was made between
fear-relevant as compared with fear – irrelevant stimuli.

Experiment 2
In the 2nd experiment, the procedure was repeated with
20 lab – reared rhesus monkeys.

This time the model was
lab – reared
and had been taught to
fear crocodiles.

In 1 condition, the observers watched footage of the model reacting with fear to a crocodile, or the fear response spliced with a
toy rabbit
so that the model appeared to be afraid of the toy.

It did
increase when the fear stimulus was
not dangerous
(flowers or toy rabbit.)

Results indicated that observers acquired a
fear of fear-relevant stimuli
(toy snakes and toy crocodile), but not of fear-irrelevant stimuli (flowers and toy rabbit).

Fear responses can be acquired by
social learning,
but only to objects that are potentially

These results have implications for the
preparedness theory
of phobias which states that as animals are biologically prepared to learn actions that are closely related to the
of their species this explains why certain
naturally – occurring phobias are more common
than others.

Use the GRAVE technique to evaluate Cook and Mineka (1989)

As the study was conducted using monkeys this limits the generalisability of the findings to humans as monkeys
do not
share the same level of
cognitive ability
as humans.

There may be more
involved in the causation of phobias in humans.

However as a
highly evolved species
was used this makes generalisations more valid than if a lower species such as rats were used.

The study was conducted under laboratory conditions with carefully
controlled variables
standardised procedures
making the procedure

The control over potentially
confounding variables
and the
artificial environment
which enhances control allows for conclusions to be drawn regarding
cause and effect.

The finding that monkeys can learn fear to specific stimuli through observation is
by a number of studies e.g.
Cook et al 1985, Mineka et al 1984
) indicating that the research is

The findings of the study has contributed to psychological
understanding of the cause of phobias
as the results partially support the social learning theory of phobias and also provide evidence for the
preparedness theory
as the monkeys were able to distinguish between dangerous and non-dangerous stimuli

The findings of the study
do not help to explain
why humans fear situations or objects that are
not dangerous such as clowns
or cotton wool.

The findings also
do not explain
fears that are acquired
without observation
of the fear response in others to a particular stimuli.

Some issues exist with regard to ecological validity as most of the monkeys used in the study were laboratory-reared and thus they may not behave in the same way as wild monkeys.

In addition the fear stimuli used were toys which posed no danger and thus the behaviour observed may have been different in the study as a result.

The study has some ethical implications as some would argue that research on animals should not be conducted especially if it is simply for human benefit as this constitutes ‘speciesism’.

One of the monkeys involved in the study was wild-reared and thus intervention by the researchers will have impacted on natural behaviour.

Quite a large number of monkeys were used in the study and the number of animals studied should be kept to a minimum.

In addition monkeys are a highly evolved species and thus more distress could have been caused by caging and the study procedure than with the use of a lower species such as a rat.

Re-Cap of Learning Objectives
All students must be able to:
Describe and evaluate Cook and Mineka (1989)

In pairs, on your A3 paper, plan the following exam question:

You have studied one mental illness other than schizophrenia, outline and evaluate a related study in detail (12)
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