Behaviourist approach to abnormality

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  • Created by: Amy
  • Created on: 30-12-12 20:51
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  • behaviourist approach to abnormality
    • causes
      • operant conditioning
        • learning through rewards
          • eg by avoiding public places an agoraphobic's fear is reduced (rewarding) and so avoidance is likely to be repeated
      • classical conditioning
        • learning through associations
          • eg a spider is associated with fear causing a phobia
      • social learning
        • learning through observation
          • eg girls wanting to look a certain way due to images in the media
    • evaluation
      • strenghts
        • implications for treatment
          • try to unlearn the behaviour
        • supporting evidence: Fiji study
          • found an increase in eating disorders in 1995 when tv was introduced. after speaking to young girls 36 months after tv was introduced 69% of teenage girls said they had been dieting and 15% reported that they had induced vomiting to control their weight
      • weaknesses
        • reductionist
          • ignores biological factors and cognitive factors
        • ignores underlying causes and only focuses on the symptoms
    • systematic desensitisation
      • evalutation
        • weaknesses
          • criticized for only treating the symptoms and not the causes
        • strengths
          • effective in treating phobias
            • 75% success rate with simple phobias and 90% with blood/injection phobias
          • permanent cure
          • the patient is in control
      • method
        • individual considers an anxiety hierarchy (a series of scenes and events rated from highest to lowest in terms of amount of anxiety they elcit)
        • relaxation training is given
        • they then slowly move up the hierarchy as they become relaxed with each one
        • imagining is a favored technique by therapists but using the real stimulus is better



A really comprehensive mind map which covers all of the vital elements of the behaviourist approach - very useful for AS and A2 Psychology students alike!

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