Phobias; acquisitions, maintenance and treatments

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  • Phobias
    • Acquisitions
      • Phobias represent an association between a stimulus (st. makes us afraid) & a response (the fear.)
        • Classical conditioning: associate a response to a stimulus. e.g. stuck in 1 lift= will get stuck in all lifts- generalise situation. e.g. Watson & Rayner's Little Albert study; conditioned to fear rat
        • Operant conditioning; rewards & punishments-bitten by dog=positive punishment (unpleasant reaction for stroking dog) = stop stroking dog in future & develop dog phobia.
        • Social learning; Bandura (1961)- children leaned to inmate behaviour- role model shows fears- sb. watching= learn fear. e.g. Leib et al. (2002); children of parents with phobias; likely to acquire phobia too
    • Maintenance
      • One-trial learning; association so strong learning is very hard to undo. e.g. eat bad chicken once, never eat chicken again
      • Classical conditioning:Watson & Rayner; C.C.- not responsible for maintenance of phobia- doesn't last that long
      • Operant conditioning; Beh. that's rewarded is repeated (law of effect); beh. that's punished-not repeated, O.C. maintains phobia via negative reinforcemente.g. if sit.- brings back symptoms- positive punishment
      • Social learning theory; mother has social phobia, child uses mother as role model & develop phobia too.if mothers phobia maintained by O.C.- child might replicate mother's phobia
    • Treatments
      • Systematic desensitisation; (Wolpe 1958) based on principals of C.D.
        • Step-by-step approach (systematic)-PP used to object/sit. (desensitised)Phobia- C.C.; so can be unlearned. relax response required; imagine happy scenarios/ meditate etc...
        • Biofeedback used to check for relaxation; PP learns to control own physiological response
        • Gradual into- hierarchy; photograph-film-real obj./sit. PPs set hierarchy; meaningful. S.D. also used to treat anxiety disorders
        • UCS (muscle relaxation)- UCR (feel relaxed)         UCS (m.r.)+CS (phobia)- UCR (f.r.)       CS (phobia)- CR (f.r.)
      • Token Economy
        • Based on operant conditioning principals- rewards as reinforcementAim; reward good behaviour and ignore unwanted behaviour. 
          • Procedure:
    • Def.?
      • Phobias; irrational fears that prevent sb. living their life & fears bringing out a strong anxiety


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