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Behavioural approach to explaining phobias

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Beth Greenwood

on 8 May 2016

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Transcript of Behavioural approach to explaining phobias

Behavioural approach to explaining phobias
Two Process model
Behavioural approach to explaining phobias
Two process model
A phobia is acquired trugh association- the association between neutral stimulus and an uncontrolled stimulus results in a new stimulus being learned.
The unconditioned response is fear and the unconditioned stimulus is the traumatic event (being bitten by a dog). The object or thing is the neutral stimulus and is associated with the unconditioned stimulus. The unconditioned stimulus creates the unconditioned response which is fear. The conditioned stimulus produces fear response or the conditioned response.
Classical conditioning
Mowrer proposed the two process model which involves classical conditioning and operant conditioning, to explain why phobias begin and then continue.
Operant conditioning
The individual avoids their phobia and this avoidance reduces fear, so it is rewarding and therefore the behaviour is reinforced. This is an example of negative reinforcement.
Social learning theory
Phobias may acquired through modelling the behaviour of others.
Evaluation
Strengths
Bandura and Rosenthal's experiment supports the social learning theory (buzzer, participants scared of buzzer)
Sue et al suggested that most people recall an event that happened that was traumatic around the time of the phobia which supports the principle of classical conditioning
Weakness/limitations
Diathesis-stress model states that we inherit genetic vulnerability to developing mental disorders, may only be triggered by life events (if you don't have genetic vulnerability even if exposed to life events you won't develop a phobia)
Ost suggested that traumatic events did happen but have since been forgotten, but behavioural approach states that the individual would not forget the traumatic event.
Bregman did an experiment with babies and pairing a loud bell with wooden blocks but he failed to produce a fear response. It may be that fear responses are only learned with ancient fears. This suggests that behavioural explanations alone can't be used to explain the development of phobias.
Di Nardo suggested that not everyone who experiences a traumatic event develops a phobia.
Martin Seligman suggested that humans are genetically programmed to fear dangerous stimuli.
Social learning theory
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