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Learning models of addiction (AO1-3)

Clare Schulze

on 20 November 2014

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Transcript of PSYA4 - LEARNING MODEL

Addiction - Learning Explanation

Once addiction established – withdrawal symptoms appear if drug not taken
Any behaviour that reduces these withdrawal symptoms will act as a Negative reinforcer – so the addict continues to take the drug
This also explains why so many addicts relapse
Classical Conditioning
Social Learning Theory
Initiation and positive reinforcement.
All positive reinforcers have the SAME effect: they release dopamine in the mesolimbic system.
Natural reinforcers are food, drink, and sex. Predictably addictive drugs have the same effect e.g. amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, nicotine and alcohol (White 1996).
Griffiths (2009) sites gambling as being addictive, the adrenaline when winning or the near miss, social rewards through adulation and the obvious financial rewards.
Observation or direct experience of positive outcome of drug taking.

Addict learns about consequences of drug-taking directly or indirectly by observation
Evaluation Of Learning Models

Maintenance and Relapse

If an alcoholic passes a pub where people are drinking outside, they may experience a physiological response to the smell/sight of alcohol as well as memories of drinking etc....
Marlatt and George (1984) suggest the presence of multiple cues trigger positive memories and the likelihood of relapse.
Self efficacy: has been shown in Lin’s (2008) study that internet addiction can be effectively controlled if the addict believes they have a high level of self efficacy.
1. Answer the two questions on the Learning Explanation
What does Anthony the Addict have to say about the learning explanation....
Learning theorists explain addictive behaviour without involving any
conscious evaluation of the costs or benefits of a particular activity
Individuals typically learn to perform behaviours because they are associated with the onset of something pleasant (e.g. feelings of euphoria) or the termination of something unpleasant (e.g. feelings of depression or tension).
Operant conditioning = Learning by consequences (reward & punishment)
Initiation= through positive re-enforcement- do something because it feels good.
Maintenance= through negative re-enforcement-do something to get rid of bad feelings.
What is classical conditioning
Brings together both classical and operant and extends them looking at observation and communication. People look to role models as guides on how to behave.
This approach takes into account cognitive factors as well as the fact that we may learn from our peers, family and friends.
In classical conditioning, stimuli that precede, or occur at the same time as a learned stimulus (such as a drug) may become secondary reinforcers, deriving their influence only by association. For example, research has shown that alcohol related stimuli (e.g. sights and sounds of a pub) elicit the many of the same physiological responses as alcohol itself, such as increased heart rate and arousal (Glautier et al,1991).
Initiation: secondary reinforcers are those things that precede or occur at the same time as the drug itself.

Glautier et al (1991) found the sights and smells of a pub elicited the similar physiological responses as alcohol.

Maintenance and relapse: maintenance is continued through threat of withdrawal.

Put simply -
Initiation - intitial rewards can shape later behaviour (highest susceptibility to addiction here)
Maintenance - continued rewards cause behaviour to continue (positive reinforcement) or people do not want withdrawal symptoms (punishment)
Relapse - if they unlearned their behaviour this is less likely.

Self PIN review
PSYA4 assessment
Full transcript