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When Does A Fear Become A Phobia?

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by

Raksa Huor

on 23 June 2016

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Transcript of When Does A Fear Become A Phobia?

When Does A Fear Become A Phobia?
Research Question
Introduction
A fear becomes a phobia when the fear is persistent and interferes with a person's daily functioning.

A fear is considered a phobia when it's really extreme and causes so much distress that it gets in the way of a person's normal everyday activities.
A phobia is an anxiety disorder. It's an irrational fear where the reaction of the person is disproportionate to the threat/situation.

A fear is a justified emotion that comes from a response to a threatening situation, the reaction can be controlled and managed.

Phobias and fears affect everyone in their everyday life. Reactions triggered by phobias are usually extreme and can't be controlled.

A phobia can be treated medically and a fear can't be treated medically.

The question "when does a fear become a phobia?" is important because it explains that a fear and phobia are two different things and are treated differently.
Hypothesis
I predict that I'll find out the treatment used to treat phobias is a lot more different and serious than everyday fears.

I also think that experiments will be done on young children because their minds haven't developed fully and they're easy to expose to new things.
Evidence/Data #1
Little Albert Experiment: February 1920
Aim:
To condition a phobia in an emotionally stable child

Summary:
Experimental evidence of classical conditional in humans. Watson and Rayner wanted to test the notion by following the procedure "classical conditioning".

Watson and Rayner chose a nine-month old infant for this experiment. Before the experiment began, the infant was shown a white rat, rabbit, dog, monkey, masks (w & w/o hair), cotton, wool, burning newspapers, etc.

The infant didn't show any sign of fear

To get the baby to react, Watson and Rayner made loud noises behind the infant by hitting a steel bar with a hammer each time the infant touched the rat.

The baby responded by to the noise by crying and showing distress. After a while the baby was given the rat again and started crying and crawling and away.

Conclusion:
The baby became distressed when he saw other furry objects because it was similar to the rat. The experiment had no control subjects, it left the baby in distress and maybe long-term psychological damage.
Evidence/Data #2
Little Albert Experiment: The Most Distorted Study Ever
Aim:

To inform the audience reading the article that the Little Albert Experiment is the most distorted study ever in psychology.

Summary:
In this article, the author argues that manipulation was the most usual reaction called out in the Little Albert Experiment. The author claims that the infant didn't ever show fear in any situation, and that the baby practically never cried.

The baby had a negative response to the mask and things with hair on it. The author says that the only reason for this was because there was a loud noise being produced by a steel bar with a hammer when the baby touched the rat.

The author declares that the study affected the infants ability to cope with stress and caused the baby to get psychological trauma. He also announces that Dr. Watson derived pleasure by producing fear on the fear-free infant before he was traumatised.

The author ends his piece by mentioning that the situation testifies that modern psychology has so far failed to be a useful science that promotes peace, cooperation and the social well being of humanity.
Analysis
The evidence I found didn't support my hypothesis because I found out about The Little Albert Experiment and it had nothing to do with how phobias are treated compared to a fear, the experiment was also only done on an infant and not a majority of people.

Potential limitations of the evidence with the procedures involved would include the fact that there were many articles and information from different websites and you couldn't tell which ones were legitimate or if they were accurate or not.

The results were replicated many times, the reliability of the results were affected which caused me to research a lot more than I intended to to find the most accurate article/experiment.

The sample size wasn't big, the experiment was only done on a male infant, this made evidence hard because if the experiment was done on multiple infants at different ages the results would've been more accurate.

The sources have used scientific ideas claiming that the infant responded negatively.
When does a fear become a phobia?

The target audience for this report are high school students and teenagers.
Albert being triggered by masks and rat
Conclusion
A fear becomes a phobia when something traumatising happens to you at a young age or even at an older age.

An example of a phobia is driving, if you were to get into a car crash you'd be terrified to drive the next time and probably refuse to get into a car.

The evidence from my investigation answers my research question by showing how a fear gradually transforms into a phobia. The evidence doesn't support my hypothesis because there was no treatment involved and sample sizes were limited.

For this experiment I would modify the fact that they had to psychologically traumatise a baby for an investigation that was inaccurate. I would probably experiment on people who already had fears/phobias at different ages and gender.

The conclusions here can't be generalised because the experiment was only done on one person and it isn't accurate enough to make a geralisation for everybody.

Implications these findings have include that experiments should be done on a majority of people to find an accurate result. Experiments also shouldn't affect the person being experimented physically or mentally.
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