Bahvioural Approach

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  • The Behavioural Approach
    • Human Behaviour is learnt and mental disorders arise from maladaptive  learning
    • Three types of learning
      • Classical conditioning
        • the association of conditioned and unconditioned stimuli through repeated paired presentations
        • involves unconditional responses or reflexes
        • Watson and Rayner
          • conditioned 11 month old albert to fear fluffy animals.
          • paring presentation of a white tame rat with a sudden loud noise
          • Albert eventually associated the rat with fear
            • Albert then generalised his fear of the stimuli to all other objects
          • there was no systematic or objective measure of any signs of fear
          • caused psychological harm and he wasn't de-conditioned
          • gives evidence for why people develop phobias
      • Operant Conditoning
        • Learning Occurs due to reinforcement
        • positive reinforcement encourages someone to do something
        • negative reinforcement leads to inhibitions or reduction of behaviour
        • skinner 1974
          • voluntary responses in pigeons such  as pressing bars could be learnt if behaviour was rewarded
        • when someone looses weight they're told they look good which will encourage them to carry on
          • this could lead to an eating disorder
      • social learning theory
        • Albert Bandura extended the idea of operant conditioning
          • People could learn behaviour by watching others being rewarded for their behaviour
            • Vicarious learning
              • observing the consequences of others behaviour
        • explains an eating disorder
          • females being bombarded  with images of slim models and their weight being heavily praised
          • Conditions like anorexia can create attention and love from family and friends which can then act as a reinforcement
    • Evaluation
      • a lot of these disorders have little explanation for these root cause and this approach explains why.
      • For people with phobias such as spiders there is little explanation to how they might of developed them in their childhood
        • Seligman's concept of 'preparedness' suggests that, that through evolution we're more likely to develop phobias to biological stimuli
      • reductionist
        • doesn't take into account cognitive and emotional contributions
      • is on the nurture side of the nature v. nurture battle. ignores genetic contribution
      • heavily deterministic, no role for conscious choice or rationality


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