Biological Explanations of Phobic Disorders including A02/3

Biological explanations for phobic disorders, including A02 & A03. Ideal for revision.

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  • Biological Explanations for Phobic Disorders...
    • Family Studies/Twins
      • If one family member has a disorder it increases the chances of developing a similar one.
        • Proband ; a family member that already has a phobic disorder
      • FRYER ET AL; probands had 3x as many relatives with phobias than normal controls.
      • SOLYMAN ET AL; 45% of those with phobias had at least one relative with a phobia, where only 17% with control group.
      • OST; 64% of blood phobics had at least one relative with the same disorder.
      • TOGERSON; monozygotic twins compared to same sex dizygotic twins where one had an anxiety disorder. Found monozygotic twins disorders were 5x more frequent.
      • A02/3
        • KENDLER ET AL; estimates 67% hereditability rate for agoraphobia, 59% for blood/injury, 51% for social and 47% for animals.
        • Deterministic
        • Twin studies fail to control shared experiences especially for monozygotic, would be better to study those raised separately.
        • The Diathesis Stress Model; Genetics make some predisposed to develop a phobia, but life experiences can trigger it.
    • Inherited
      • People may inherit an oversensitive fear response, so will act abnormally to a normal situation.
      • A02/3
        • Physiological differences between those who have phobias and those that don't. e.g. brain scan showing dopamine uptake and re-uptake sites have different density's.
        • TIHONEN ET AL; those with social phobias had lower number of sites than controls, so lower dopamine levels.
        • Beta-blocker drug use, helps keep individuals calmer. showing serotonin effects.
      • Behavioural inhibition
        • KAGAN; infants withdraw from strange objects, people and things, suggesting genetic basis of fear,
        • Longitudinal studies from birth show behavioural instability, at primary school age had higher autonomic system activity and more specific fears, similar to parents/siblings with anxiety disorders.
          • Follow up studies support this hypothesis that behavioural inhibition to unfamiliar things has a genetic base and is a risk factor for anxiety disorders,
    • Evolutionary Approach
      • Ancient Fears and Modern Minds
        • More likely to be scared of some things e.g. heights. These are Ancient Fears which reflect the dangers our ancestors faced.
        • MARKS & NESSE; modern day phobias are exaggerations, dangers we have today don't develop into phobias as there new and we haven't adapted to them yet.
      • Prepotency
        • Natural selection shows that survival depends on the response to potential threats.
        • it's something that has power before direct experience, e.g. responding to a loud noise. these proponent fears are more likely to develop into phobias.
      • Preparedness
        • Innate readiness to learn about dangerous situations.
        • SELIGMAN; Biological preparedness so we learn and association with stimuli and fear.
        • MARKS; Predisposition to form certain associations, and infant looks at the mothers when strangers approaches it learns to associate strangers with fear,
        • MINEKA ET AL; Rhesus monkeys develop a fear of snakes, if another shows fear, but not the same response for flowers
      • A02/3
        • Deterministic and reductionist.
        • OHMAN AND SORES; masked pictures were made feared objects e.g. snakes/spiders, Those had higher GSR (ANS arousal proof) when showed masked pictures compared to neutral. Shows components of phobic responses are working before stimulus = preponent signals.
        • Preparedness concept; 1) certain fears are learnt more readily, 2) fears are hard to unlearn. Most lab experiments focus on conditioning.
        • MCNALLY; firm evidence of enhanced resistance to extinct of fear responses conditioned by 'prepared' stimuli, when rapid acquisition was relevant.
        • DAVEY; expectancy bias, expectations that fear relevant stimuli will produce negative consequences in the future which provide evidence of modern phobias such as needles.
        • MERCKELBACH ET AL; most clinical phobias were rated as non-prepared rather than prepared.
        • BROWN ET AL; phobic disorders amoung African Americans than White American participants, even when socioeconomic factors as important in determining aspects of phobias.




Such a colourful and useful mind map! Thank you :-)

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