Explinations for phobias

biological, behavioual, cognitive, psychodynamic explinations for phobias

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Explanations of Description Strengths and weaknesses
Biological Genetic explanation Evidence subject to alternative explanations
Inherit- specific phobias often run in families Criticised methodological- lacks ecological
If a fist degree relative has a specific phobia you're more likely too validity + problems with twin studies
Does not explain why some individual people
Torgesen: Twin study-genetic link
MZ twins (identical) 31% concordance(sharing the same develop phobias
traits/characteristics) rate for agoraphobia Doesn't really support social and agoraphobia-
DZ twins(non identical) 0% concordance rate what is evolutionary advantage?
Doesn't explain why phobias carry on when
Evaluation Evolution needs 1000 of years to work
-family/twins share same environment- phobia could be LEARNT rather than
passed down
-concordance rate was found in MZ twins it was less than a 3rd must be
another explanations?
-DZ twins still share 50% of genes- expect concordance rate to be seen at
some extent
People vary the rate that they are vulnerable to experience anxiety
Some people are more easily frightened by fear provoking
stimuli e.g snakes
Autonomic nervous system control EMOTIONAL responses
People born with a higher autonomic reactivity more likely to
develop a phobia

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Eysenck Diathesis stress model
-if it's in your genes a disorder may not involve unless environmental
stressors occur to trigger the disorder
Personality test to measure stability/ instability
Prediction- unstable individuals more likely to have anxiety disorder
Problems.....…read more

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Evidence- most people are fearful and move unpredictably
Took ideas of natural selection + survival of the fittest + applied it to
gaining a phobia
Thousands of years ago people developed phobias that could be
dangerous to use
Snake bites could kill
Fall from a great height and die
Cook + Mineka- easier to condition monkeys to fear snakes than
Ohman- easier to condition humans to fear snakes than flowers
Behavioural Classical conditioning- neutral stimuli becomes associated with a traumatic Research has shown…read more

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Half of dog phobias are due to them being bitten however the Evidence fear can be induced in children(little
other half haven't been bitten could support biological explanations albert)-numbers are small and finding are not
Children are easier to generalise than adults the same each time
Attempts to replicate the Watson and Rayner
study have not been successful
Fears that develop gradually such as social
Two factory theory-
Mower original learnt fear is kept by operant conditioning ­ relief felt by phobias CANNOT be traced…read more

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Cognitive Focuses on conscious thoughts people with phobias Better at explaining why phobias are
Clark- phobics think in a distorted way and have catastrophic maintained, rather than how and why they
thoughts- they think something dreadful will happen to them appeared in the first place
-e.g.…read more

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Social phobics have developed schemas(mental representations that
serve a plan or a guide to action) that include expectations of others
being negative and rejecting.…read more


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