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Addictions and Phobias

Essay by   •  April 1, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,098 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,537 Views

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A phobia is an extreme often irrational fear of something in specific. Phobias can easily be developed because it is a learned emotional response. Our book discusses the example of Little Albert. He was found when he was a nine-month-old baby "to be healthy and stolid and unemotional" (Chapter 5)when he was chosen by Watson and Rainer in 1920. Several objects were showed to Albert in random order. A dog, a Santa mask, a fur coat, and a white rabbit. Initially he had no fear of these objects. As an uncontrolled stimulus Watson and Rainer used loud noise to induce fear, and they banged a steel bar while behind him. However with afraid of the loud noise. "Albert reacted by jumping, falling, and whimpering. "(Chapter 5) A short time later the experimenters used the white rat as the controlled stimulus. Again they would hit the steel bar every time Albert reached for the rat. They were successful in making Albert afraid of the rat. Not only was Albert afraid of the rat but for all of the initial objects used Albert transferred his fears to all of those objects. Space Watson and Rainer were one of the first experimenters to try to prove that classical conditioning is a cause of phobias. Normal pathways links between our vision and amygdala cause us to associate things like needles, or spiders with an intense irrational fear. Obviously if classical conditioning can cause us to elicit a response of fear that it's possible to elicit positive associations with our fears.

Addiction is a physical or psychological dependence on a substance. Many people who have an addiction can be completely controlled by the need to use which ever substance they are addicted to. It's been established that apparent conditioning is controlled by consequences that control behavior. So the environment and consequences will determine behavior. A person with an addiction will use their drug of choice, which gives them a desired effect. The desired effect reduces the user stressors therefore reinforcing the behavior. Much like a rat pulling a bar to get food as long as the desired result, (food in the rat's case) is produced than that behavior is reinforced which will urge the rat to complete the action again. Therefore much in the same way that an addiction can be started with operant conditioning it can also help get rid of an addiction. Instead of having a positive reinforcer we would need a negative reinforcer to cause an aversion to the substance. For example, a person who is addicted to smoking cigarettes could be given a drug that causes them to feel nauseous every time they smell a cigarette. The nausea would be a negative reinforcer that would deter them from wanting to smoke cigarettes. Addiction is a learned behavior that can be effected by both operant and classical conditioning.

Classical conditioning falls under the category of behavioral psychology. "In classical conditioning and environmental stimulus leads to a learned response through pairings an unconditioned stimulus with the previously neutral conditioned stimulus, resulting in a learned reflex" here are some examples of how easily classical conditioning plays a part of our lives. Lets say you go to your favorite resturaunt and get horrible food poisoning. A friend then suggests food from the same restaurant and your stomach turns. Second example, you go through a bad breakup, and now every

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