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The behavioural approach,
treatments and evaluation
AS Psychology, AQA A, unit 2-
individual differences
(psychopathology)…read more

Slide 2

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Behavioural approach
All behaviour is learned through unconscious processes
called classical and operant conditioning. Maladaptive
behaviour leads to psychological disorders.
Classical conditioning
· An experience (neutral stimulus) is associated with a
unpleasant response such as fear (unconditioned
response). These two things become associated with
one another meaning that the individual learns to
avoid the situation at all costs in the future to avoid
the fear associated with it.…read more

Slide 3

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Behavioural approach
Operant conditioning
· Some behaviours may be beneficial at the time they
are learnt to the individual, so they are reinforced.
This means that they are more likely to be repeated.
· If a person gets more attention when they behave in
a erratic fashion, then this behaviour is beneficial to
them at the time. Therefore the behaviour is more
likely to be repeated leading to a psychological
disorder.…read more

Slide 4

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Behavioural approach-evaluation
· /There is a lot of evidence to support the idea that
abnormal behaviours can be learned such as the case of
Little Albert and his phobia of rats. However some people
who have phobias cannot remember the reason they are
afraid of that object or situation, so we can't be sure that
phobias are learnt.
· / Has lead to effective therapies such as token
economies and systematic desensitisation. However these
treat the symptoms but not the underlying cause of a
disorder. This can cause symptom substitution when the
cause of the disorder is still present but the symptoms
can appear differently, suggesting the underlying cause is
not a behavioural one, so the explanation isn't valid.…read more

Slide 5

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Behavioural approach-evaluation
· reductionist- doesn't account for other factors
such as biological or cognitive factors. Therefore this
approach will only give a limited understanding of the
mental illness in question…read more

Slide 6

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Behavioural therapy- systematic
This aims to break the association between an object
and the associated fear, it is used to treat phobias.
How it works
A patient is treated with desensitisation hierarchy
· A patient will first see a small thing like a picture of
the feared object
· The patient is taught how to cope with the object by
being taught breathing techniques to calm the nerves
and use number scales to rate how scared they are
of the object, which gives the patient a sense of
control.…read more

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