Pages in this set

Page 1

Preview of page 1
Introduction to Phobias
Introduction to Phobias
Pathological or Abnormal fear
Pathological means a diagnosed disease or condition, therefore the condition is outlined in
DSM IV or ICD 10.

Anxiety is a diagnosed abnormal fear.
General Anxiety Disorders (GAD)
Panic disorder
Phobic disorders

Characteristics of Anxiety Disorders…

Page 2

Preview of page 2
Issues of Classifying and Diagnosing Phobic Disorders

The purpose of Psychology is to help people, therefore classifying and diagnosing someone
has to be beneficial for it to be worthwhile.

Diagnosis (AO1)

Validity: refers to the extent that a diagnosis represents something that is real and distinct
from other disorders, and…

Page 3

Preview of page 3

Interrater reliability: comparing the results of measurements and seeing if they give
consistent and similar scores.


There is supporting evidence for the interrater reliability of diagnosing phobias. Evidence
comes from Skyre et al (1991) who assessed the interrater reliability by asking 3 clinicians
to assess 54 patient interviews obtained…

Page 4

Preview of page 4
Biological Explanations of Phobic Disorders

Phobias may have originally aided survival and may have an evolutionary origin.

There are three main theories:
1. Ancient Fears & Modern Minds
2. Prepotency Theory
3. Biological Preparedness Theory

For phobias to have an evolutionary (or survival) benefit they must be passed on from…

Page 5

Preview of page 5

Evidence suggests that phobics have some biochemical differences to nonphobics.

Oversensitive Fear Response:
People inherit an oversensitive fear response. This would mean that people with phobias
often respond to normal situations, abnormally.
The fear response affects the autonomic nervous system and some phobics had high levels
of arousal in the…

Page 6

Preview of page 6
However, this ability to learn isn't consistence as Rhesus monkeys rapidly develop a fear if
they see another monkey showing fear of snakes but they do not develop a fear when a
monkey reacts to a flower ( Mineka et al 1984). Therefore the theory may lack some validity

Page 7

Preview of page 7
Psychological Explanations of Phobic Disorders

Cognitive Theories:

According to Ellis (1962) and Beck (1963) phobias are a result of:

Faulty, irrational or distorted thinking. i.e.
Over focus on negative stimuli/situations and events
Exaggeration of negative events and their consequences

A tendency to over focus on the possibility of negative events…

Page 8

Preview of page 8

Behavioural Theories:

Phobias are acquired three ways:
Classical Conditioning
Operant Conditioning
Social Learning Theory

Classical Conditioning:
Fears are acquired when an individual associates a neutral stimulus with a fear response.
e.g. Little Albert:
Watson and Rayner (1920) used an 11 year old boy.
UCS (loud noise) provokes the UCR (fear).…

Page 9

Preview of page 9

Page 10

Preview of page 10
Biological Therapies


For there to be a biological cause for phobias, there must be a biological cause.
Drugs can help reduce the high levels of anxiety and be used with psychological therapies to
deal with the psychological causes of their phobia.

Bind to the receptor cells on the…


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »