Psychological explanation of phobic disorders AO1

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  • Psychological explanations of phobic disorders
    • Behavioural explanations of phobic disorders
      • Classical Conditioning
        • Classical conditioning is the process of learning a response to a stimulus which was once neutral using an unconditioned stimulus
        • Key terms
          • Neutral stimulus is a simultaneouswhich initially produces no specific behaviour response
          • Unconditioned stimulus is a stimulus that is responded to instinctively
          • Conditioned stimulus is a formally neutral stimulus that once associated with the unconditioned stimulus produces a conditioned response.
          • Unconditioned response is an unlearned response that occurs naturally to an unconditioned stimulus.
          • Conditional response is a learned response to a formally neutral stimulus.
        • Classical conditioning is learning by association. An individual experiences the pairing of a neutral stimulus with a negative experiecence of fear and anxiety
        • According to the behavioural response the development of a phobia occurs by the phobic stimulus being associated with a painful stimulus causing fear
      • Operant conditioning maintains a phobia through negative reinforcement
      • Mowrer (1947)  proposed a two process theory of learning phobias
        • 1. Classical conditioning creates the fear response 2. Operant conditioning maintains the phobia and usually causes avoidance to  steer clear of the phobic stimulus.
        • By avoiding the anxiety provoking stimulus reduces anxiety reinforcing this behaviour
    • Cognitive view of phobias
      • States phobias develop due to faulty thinking processes which are linked to negative events or stimuli making the sufferer believe the negative events are more likely to occur when faced with the phobic stimulus or event.
      • Beck (1963) suggests irrational and dysfunctional beliefs contribute to the development of a phobia
        • Central to the cognitive views is that phobics have irrational beliefs causing them to experience intense fear when exposed to the stimuli.
        • Beck proposed phobias arise because people become afraid of situation where fears may occur. He suggests people develop dysfunctional beliefs about events or situations.
        • Beck said that people wh have a tendency to focus on negative events have a cognitive error in logic.
        • Phobics believe that every time they encounter a certain stimulus something bad will happen to them.
        • Once a phobia is acquired it is maintained through cognitive rehearsals of ear and phobics often think deeply about the stimulus in its absence leading to beliefs that the negative outcome will be greater. The more they do this the greater the reaction to the feared stimulus becomes.


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