Addiction essays PSYA4

Addiction essays

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  • Created on: 18-06-12 12:00
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2) A) A recent large survey on behalf of the Gambling Commission provided a
number of interesting findings about gambling behaviour in Great Britain. For
example, 57% of the population had gambled on the National Lottery Draw in
2007, although the rate of problem gambling in the adult population was only
about 0.6%
i) Explain some of the difficulties of gathering data about problem gambling (5
One of the many difficulties of gathering data about problem gambling is centred on
`truth'. There is a problem of demand characteristics and social desirability. Gamblers
may not be truthful in their answers due to what society think. The public may not
approve of gambling as it is seen as a `problem' therefore they may lie because they
want to conform to socialistic views. Gamblers may also guess the aims of the study
(demand characteristics), therefore provide answers that are untrue. In other cases, it
may be experimenter affected the study. The gambler may not tell the truth because the
experimenter intimidates them or they may be attracted to the experiment and therefore
state answers just to please them.
ii) Outline and evaluate one explanation of gambling addiction (4 + 6 Marks)
One explanation of gambling addiction is centred around the fact that addition is a
learnt behaviour. Many individual factors may be involved in the initiation and
maintenance of gambling as well the relapse. Operant conditioning states that gambling
is a conditioned behaviour, which is maintained by irregular schedules of reinforcement
(gamblers do not know when they'll win). It involves the terms of infrequent rewards after
varying numbers of responses. Operant conditioning is based around the fact that if we
are rewarded for our behaviour, we are more likely to continue it and gambling
produces pleasure, which is rewarding for the gambler. In classical conditioning, the
gambler continues to gamble as a result of becoming conditioned to the excitement or
arousal which is associated with gambling, such as boredom, when they are not
gambling. Situational factors may cause the gambler to relapse and encourage them to
continue. These are features of the environment, such as the location of the gambling
venue, also internal features, such as decor, lighting or colour.
Behavioural explanations are very limited. Classical conditioning only seems to be
useful in explaining people's motivation to start gambling but it appears less useful in
explaining continuous gambling behaviour. In the same way, operant conditioning is
useful in explaining how behaviour is maintained and how it is an ongoing behaviour but
it does not explain why people start gambling or recommends after a delayed period of
`The relapse rate for smokers in the first three months after trying to give up is
estimated at 70%.'

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Discuss reasons why relapse occurs in people with addictive behaviour. (5 +5)
Relapse refers to returning back to addictive patterns after potentially `giving up'. One
explanation is the biological model, which involves the dopamine explanation. Smoking
is said to increase dopamine levels in the brain and the dopamine receptors are
stimulated which gives the addict a sense of satisfaction and pleasure.…read more



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