behavioural approach to abnormality

behavioural approach to abnormality, including strength and weaknesses.

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  • abnormality: behavioural approach
    • we are born a tabula rasa and behaviour is shaped from our surroundings.
    • classical conditioning
      • behaviour is learnt through stimulus response; when UCS becomes paired with NS frequently then NS on its own will cause same response as UCS ; this is the CR
        • ucs: unconditioned stimulus NS; neutral response. CR; conditioned response
      • little albert:  conditiones little Albert to fear white rat by using a loud noise everytime rat was out. this caused Alberts phobia of rats.
    • operant conditioning
      • learning via reward and punishment.
        • behaviour thats rewarded we are likely to repeat. we are less likely to repeat behaviour that is punished
    • social learning
      • behaviour is learnt through observing and imitating others
        • explain phobia: child sees mother is afraid of spiders, child copies behaviour and is afraid of spiders too
    • positive evaluation:
      • scientific theory; based on evidence we can see and measure, more scientific than other approaches.
      • explains phobias: phobias are a learnt behaviour
    • negative evaluation
      • underlying causes: only concentrates on the symptoms, ignores influence of cognitions and thinking on abnormal behaviour
      • reductionist: gives one simple explanation, ignores influence of biology e.g. brain damage


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