Behavioural Approach


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  • Created on: 21-11-10 19:35
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All behaviour is learned
What has been learned, can be unlearned
Abnormal behaviour is learned in the same way as normal behaviour
This model sees abnormal behaviour as the problem and not a symptom of an underlying
Classical Conditioning
CC learning through association
Behaviourists propose that classical conditioning can explain phobias. E.g. child see fear of
parents when confronted with spider and associate fear with spiders.
In CC an unconditioned stimulus e.g. unexpected loud noise, triggers a natural reflex e.g.
startled or fear
If another stimulus e.g. spider occurs at the same time, this may in future elicit fear
Watson and Rayner ­ 11 month year old boy.
Operant Conditioning
Behaviourists also propose that abnormal behaviour can be learned by the process of
operant conditioning.
Behaviour is learned through the consequences of our actions.

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If our actions result in rewarding consequences (positive reinforcement) or in something
nasty (-ve reinforcement), we will repeat the behaviour but no the one that has bad
Strengths Weaknesses
Simple explanation that supported by evidence Cannot explain all psychological disorders
such as schizophrenia
Hopeful as people can change their behaviour Based mainly on animal studies
Effective for OCD and phobias
Behavioural Therapies
Based on assumptions that abnormal behaviour is learned in the same way as normal behaviour and
that it can be unlearned.…read more

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Don't work with all psychological problems.…read more


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