models of addictive beahviour, including biological, learning model and cognitive model.

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Biological Model of Addiction

Biological explanations focus on neurotransmitters and genetics in explaining addictive behaviours, they help to explain chemical addictions but dont explain behavrioual ones. This approach is reductionist because it reduces a complex behaviour down to genetics and biology.

Neurotransmitters - increased levels of dopamine are associated with pleasure, this comes from the addiction. DRD2 gene found in 42% of people with alcolholism and 50% of pathological gamblers. However, little evidence has been found for it being a pleasure/reward gene because it is also common in people with autism and torettes. 

Pleasure centres and reawrd pathways- Olds & Milner found evidence for pleasure centres using rats, however this is a lab experiement so lacks ecological validity.

Pre-frontal cortex - weakended self control and less ablity to judge the concequences of actions. The cues that remind an individual of their addiction release dopamine and therefore the person wants to carry on the addictive behaviour - this can lead to relapse.

Berke & Hyman - smoking activates pleasure centres

Maintenance - if they experience withdrawal symptoms then this can lead to carrying on the addiction

Genetics - twin and family studies, Thorgeisson et al found genetic variant in smokers and they have a risk of nicotine dependancy, however correlational research was used. Also a genetic vundrability to gambling, twin studies found 35-54% with biological influences most common.

Can explain individual differences in addictions, some people who are exposed to the same enviromental factors and might not have an addcition.

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Learning Model of Addiction

Based on the behavrioual apprach, where we learn from observing behaviours through operant and classical conditioning. SLT focuses on vicarious reinforcement and modelling. However this explaination is partly reductionist because it reduces complex bahaviour down to stimulus responce.

Classical conditioning - the addiction is paired with a neutral stimulus and then conditioned so that the individual associated the environmental cues with the addiction and wants to carry on.

Leshner - environmental cues trhat trigger the craving for a drug e.g smoking after a meal will make the person want a ciggerette after a meal whenever they eat.

However, cannot explain the initiation of smoking, only relapse and with drawal.

Operant conditioning - the reawrds and punishments from the addictive behaviour, positive and negative reinforcement. e.g someone would smoke to feel please and remove negative withdrawal symptoms.

Gambling - Skinner found the variable ratio scale which is that a gambler will be given reinforcment 10 times on average. however this is unpredictable because it is based on trial and error of gambling.

It can explain the maintenance and relapse, but not the initiation of an addictive behaviour. Learning theories also need to take into account biological and cognitive approaches.

SLT - learning from modelling and vicarious reingforcement, people are influenced by role models (peers/parents) so may start smoking for popularity.

Mayeux et al found that boys who smoked at age 16 were seen as more popular when they were 18. This supports the initiation of smokeing however the research was only conducted on boys so it cannot be generalised to everyone.

However, not all young people smoke so enviroment cannot be the only influence.

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Cognitive Model of Addiction

Addictive behaviours occur because of faluty thinking processes and biases. This model is good at explaining behavrioual addictions like gambling but is limited to certain types of addictions, for example it cant explain chemical ones like smoking. Gambling is likely to be from both situational and dispositional factors so the cognitive model can explain the addiction.

Applied heuristics - these are rules of thumb that are often used to simplfy decisions and justify the behaviour. for example, the randomness bias is trying to predict the outcome of a gamble e.g. the lottery numbers.

Griffiths - supports the idea of cognitive biases and found that gamblers would try to justify their losses as near wins.However, he also found that regular gamblers coulkd control their verbal thoughts so these might not be an influence on the maintenance of the addiction.

Can aslo explain smoking by having faulty thinking processes of needing a ciggerette when they actually dont.

It can explain individual differences by those who develop faulty thinking processes are more likely to develop an addiction. Practical applications - they can help the people they think are vundrable or at risk from gambling addiction.

Methodology - usually use self report questionares which can be unreliable.

Gambling is not a homogenous activity - there are diffenent types of gamblers which means that it is a complex behaviour to generalise to.

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