Atypical behaviour

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Bananna20
  • Created on: 24-02-16 21:08

Key Terms

Typical behaviour - behaviour considered normal - applies to majority

Atypical behaviour - behaviour considered abnormal - applies to minority

Phobia - Intense, pesistent, irrational fear of an object/situation/place or activity with a desire to avoid it

Agoraphobia - fear of open spaces

Socialphobia - fear of emabarrassing yourdelf in public

Schoolphobia - fear of school

Acrophobia - fear of heights

Arachnophobia - fear of spiders

1 of 5

Core theory: Behaviuorists

  • Nurture over nature
  • Classical conditioning - learning through association
  • Pavlov's dogs --> Unconditioned stimulus = Unconditioned response --> Unconditioned stiumlus + neutral stimulus = Unconditioned response --> Conditioned stimulus = Conditioned response
  • Operant conditioning - learning through consequences - negative reinforcement
  • Extinction - conditioned stimulus doesn't cause conditioned response - phobic association weakened


  • Ignores thinking behind an action
  • Ignore roles of people around you
  • Some people hav ephobias of things they haven't encountered
2 of 5

Alternative theory: Evolutionary

  • Animals have evolved to instinctively behave in a certain way to survive and reproduce
  • Nature over nurture
  • Fear is instinctive - helps them to survive
  • Preparedness = instinctive awareness of danger
  • Difficult to get rid of phobias that threaten survival
3 of 5

Core Study: Watson & Raynor - Little Albert 1920

  • Aim: to test the theory of classical conditioning
  • Participant: Little Albert - 9-11 months old
  • Method: lab experiment
  • Procedure: a rat was offered to Little Albert and as he reached out for it a hammer was hit against a metal bar. This was repeated 7 times over 2 weeks
  • Results: rat scared Albert on its own without the hammer  and he avoided it
  • Conclusion: Watson & Raynor conditioned fear into Little ALbert - this proves classical conditioning


  • Lacks ecological validity - artificial environment
  • Small sample - unrepresentative - can't be generalised
  • Unethical - caused distress
4 of 5

Application: Behaviuor therapies

  • Flooding - immersed in fear and face their phobia full on which makes them realise no harm comes from it. This makes them calmer and forms a new association
  • Systematic desensitisation - gradually introduced to your fear
  • Implosion therapy - made to imagine worst fear rather than be exposed to the stimulus
5 of 5


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Atypical behaviour resources »