Learning Explanations for Addiction

For revision, I made tables for the different explanations of addiction. It's important that you can answer questions about the initiation, maintenance and relapse of all three explanations for smoking and gambling, including AO2 detail.

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Stage Explanation Evaluation
Operant conditioning:
Behaviour providing pleasant experiences ­ repeated. x Behaviour/reward basis can't explain initiation of all types ­ scratch cards
Griffiths ­ rewards physiological (buzz), psychological (near have instant consequences, but sport-based have a longer gap between
Initiation misses), social (praise) or financial (win). behaviour and reward, involving skill of prediction.
Delfabbo and Winfield ­ irrational thinking gives greater x Operant conditioning can't explain why many receive reinforcement from
weight to experience of winning. gambling but few become addicted.
Intermittent reinforcement:
Gamblers lose more negative reinforcement. xEvolutionary ­ humans wouldn't have survived if gave up hunting after not
But continue because of intermittent wins. consistently receiving reward.
Behaviour reinforced by reward, even after long losing Intermittent reinforcement evolved to maintain behaviour for survival.
Maintenanc periods. Winning stronger impact.
Social approval:
Lambos et al. ­ peers and family are more likely to x Blaszczynski and Nower ­ two different pathways.
approve. `Behaviourally conditioned' ­ due to exposure to role models.
Provides reinforcement, encouraging gambling to increase Show less severe gambling, motivated to enter treatment, more success.
and continue. `Emotionally vulnerable' ­ to relieve adverse emotions (self-medication).
More resistant to change, treatment must address underlying problems
Conditioned cues:
Classical conditioning ­ associate other stimuli with
gambling (environment or other gambler).
Relapse Stimuli act as trigger for pathological behaviour.
Giving up ­ addict encounters cues, higher risk of relapse.
Approach-avoidance conflict:
Positive/negative consequences conflict.

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Addict is motivated to approach gambling due to rewards
but avoid it due to consequences.
Fluctuate between wanting to gamble and not.
Success in avoiding is due to ability to control need for
positive reinforcement.
Stage Explanation Evaluation
Availability of role models:
Kandel and Wu ­ adolescents experiment due to social models. DiBlasio and Benda ­ peer group is primary influence on
Expect positive physical/social consequences based on vicarious adolescents ­ more likely to hang out with other smokers.
reinforcement from parents/peers.…read more

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Maintains addiction, making quitting difficult.
Conditioned cues
Hogarth et al. ­ craving increased when cues/stimuli (sight/smell) were
presented relapse.
Cues associated with nicotine (availability, sight, smell) increase
Relapse likelihood of response.
Refusal self-efficacy
Person's belief in ability to succeed in a situation.
Lawrence and Rubin ­ frequent adult smokers have less confidence in
ability to quit ­ more likely to relapse.…read more


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