BENETT-LEVY & MARTEAU OVERVIEW

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  • Created by: lauren
  • Created on: 27-04-14 10:43

BENETT-LEVY & MARTEAU- AIMS AND CONTEXT

AIMS

aimed to investigate the mechanism by which biological prepardness would operate and determine if humans were biologically prepared to fear certain stimulus configerations in animals such as rapid movement and discrpances from the human form

CONTEXT

the fear respose evolved because it was adaptive- particular fear behaviours that were impotant to the survival of our distant ancestors may lie dominant in our brains

  • Selgiman(1961) suggests that we inherit a predisposition to fear certain classes of animals such as snakes this is based on the fact;
    • distribution of animal phobias is non random
    • fears are not relaated to traumatic experiences
    • fears often appear early in life
  • Mineka et al (1980) found wild reared monkeys showed fear of real+toy snake = learned
    • B,L&M argued lab monkeys showed fear when toy snakes moved = fear of movement
  • Hinde(1974) suggested strangeness evoked fear response - supported by BLM (looks)
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BENETT-LEVY & MARTEAU- PROCEDURE

QUESTIONNAIRE 1

  • given too 64 participants at a UK health centre (mean age 33.5 years) standard deviation 16.9
  • measure self reported fear and avoidance of 29 harmless animals
  • participants were ased to ignore the harmfulness of all animals so it wouldnt be a factor
  • participants rated the animals on;
    • fear scale- participants were asked to rate their fear of animal of 3 point scale
    • nearness scale- rated their avoidance by completing a 5 point scale of nearness

QUESTIONNAIRE 2

  • given to 49 participants at a uk health centre (mean age 35.1 years) standard deviation 16.4
  • measure self reported ratings of the same 29 animals
  • 3 point scale measures how UGLY, SLIMY and SPEEDY the animals were and how SUDDENLY they appear to MOVE
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BENETT-LEVY & MARTEAU- FINDINGS

  • FEARFULNESS
    • most 5 feared animals were RATS, JELLYFISH, SPIDER, COCKROACH and GRASS SNAKE
    • RATS were feared most - percieved as potentially harmful
  • SEX DIFFERENCES
    • females were found to be less willing to approah 10 of the animals than males - jellyfish, cockroach, ant moth, crow, worm, beetle slug, mouse and spider.
    • notable sex differences in ratings of ugliness, sliminess, speediness and suddeness of mvmnt
    • men in group 1 rated themselves as less fearful than women, but were just as responsive to animal characteristics- nearness ratings were similar- correlation coeffiient = +.96
  • CORRELATIONS
    • correltions were calculated between all 6  characteristics (fearfulness, nearness, ugliness, sliminess,speediness, and sudden movement) it was found that;
      • speediness and sudden movement were highly correlated (+.95)
      • nearness and sudden movement was +.05 but when ugliness was removed +.61
      • partial correlations were significant for fear and speediness.. and ..nearness and speed ..... shows characteristics are related to fear and neaness
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RAHE, MAHAN + ARTHUR- CONCLUSIONS

  • HARMFULNESS
    • despite effort to remove effect of harm, it was still taken into account- which shows it is an important characteristic when it comes to rating animals fearfulness
  • CLINICAL PHOBIAS
    • are cases of excessive fear, where functioning is impaired by the disorder. fearfulness cant be studed in clinical patients because their excessive fear would distort responses. findings in this study can help patients with clinical phobias by dealing with characteristics
  • BIOLOGICAL PREPARDNESS
    • discrepancy principle (Hinde 1974) what is feared is the discrepancy from the human form - explaining the relationship between ugliness/sliminess and fear/nearness. participants based ugliness in terms of hair, colour, number of legs, antennae - discrpant to humans
    • aversive stimulus configurations (Schneirla 1965) unpleasant characteristics are feares such as ugliness and sliminess (which were correlated with fear one the effects of other variables were partialled out) participant said other cues made animals fearful like the feel of the spider and hissing of a snake
  • final conclusion: results from the study indicate tjat humans are probably not prepared to specifically fear any animals, fear is related to the presence of certain fear evoking perceptual properties and its discrepancy from the human form
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BENETT-LEVY & MARTEAU- METHODOLOGY

  • DESIGN- questionnaires and analysed the data using correlation
    • showing relationship and lin
    • doesnt show cause and effect
  • ETHICS- lack of fully informed consent, confidentiality, right to withdraw, thinking of fearful animals could distress some participants
  • RELIABILITY- questionnaires- 
    • honest but some demand characteristics
  • VALIDITY- tested what they wanted to test
    • replication- Merckelbach(1987) repeated the experiment and found similar results
    • mundae realism- asked to imagine the animals - not realistic to measure fear
  • SAMPLE- oppurtnity sample
    • 113 participants, 59 females and 55 males, mean age was 35 years old and SD was between 16 and 17 years old
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BENETT-LEVY & MARTEAU STRENGHTS AND WEAKNESSES

STRENGTHS

  • gerneraliseable-equal sample
  • demand characteristics- independant measures- less likely to realise aim of the study
  • validity- controlled for dangerousness of the animals - not harmless
  • reliability- qualitative and quantitative data

WEAKNESSES

  • validity-didint systematically record info on important characteristics, participants identified in informal questionning
  • self report- accuracy of participants beliefs about their responses to animals - lacks ecological validity 
  • representativeness- oppurtunity sample - doesnt generalise to clinical population
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BENETT-LEVY & MARTEAU- ALTERNATIVE EVIDENCE

SELIGMAN(1971) electric shocks introduced phobia too spiders but not flowers

OHMAN(2000) found fear of flowers stopped after shocks but still a fear to spiders and snakes

MCNALLY & REISS (1982) associated a snake with no shock - sense of relief

COOK & MINEKA (1990) monkeys copied fear response of toy snake but not with a flower

REGAN & HOWARD (1995) associated FR and FI with white noise, only FR produced fear

DAVEY (1995) some fear relevant stimulus have an inbuilt negative response

MINEKA AND COOK (1986) monkeys observed others having no fear, they didnt acquire fear

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