Behavioural approach to abnormality

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  • Created by: Aletia
  • Created on: 10-04-13 19:43
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  • Behavioural approach to psychopathology
    • Assumes we are born as blank slates
      • All abnormal behaviour must therefore be learnt but can also be unlearnt using the same principles
    • Classical conditioning - learning through association
      • Explains phobias and fetishes - ivoluntary associations between stimuli and reaction
        • Example: fall into a river when little, scared of water situations from then on such as swimming or having a bath
    • Operant conditioning
      • Reinforcement of abnormal through reward and punishment
        • Example: depressed person gets attention from others about their depression so may continue depressed behaviour
    • Support: Little Albert was conditioned by Watson to have a phobia of rats, Skinner conditioned rats to press levers to obtain food
      • Focusses on past rather than present so doesn't bring up painful memories
      • Accounts for cultural differences as it focusses on environment
    • Limitations: reductionist and determinist approach, ethical issues in research experiments used as support, tested mainly on animals so may not be generalizable


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