Bennett-Levy & Marteau Context and Aims.
Bennett-Levy and Marteau were interested in why we fear certain animal.
We learn animal phobias via 'classical conditioning' for example Little Albert had learnt to fear white rats by associating it with a loud noise that provoked fear. A problem with the explanation is that Classical Conditioning cannot explain phobias that have not involved past negative experiences with the feared animal. An example of that could be watching a dog fight at a young age and then fearing it again.
Phobias often appear very early in life, reaching a peak at the age of four. We use it as a survival instinct to avoid us getting harmed. Our genetics can cause us to fear an object, this would suggest there is an environmental purpose to our phobia we fear certain animal because they were dangerous to us in our environment and it would have been beneficial to our ancestors survival to avoid them.
Lab reared monkeys show a greater fear of real, model toy snakes when moving, phobic patients often describe their phobia in terms of what is looked like and felt like. Bennett-Levy and Marteau - Perhaps were biologically programmed to fear certain animal’s characteristics, (E.g. Sudden movement, Sliminess, Ugliness, and Speed).
Bennett-Levy and Marteau aimed to investigate whether humans are biologically programmed to fear certain animal characteristics for example (Ugliness, Sliminess, Speed and Movement
Bennett Levy and Marteau Procedures
In Bennett -Levy and Marteau (BL&M) experiment he took 113 participants who attended a British Health Centre. A questionnaire was distributed in a random order but in two groups. Group 1 was asked to complete a questionnaire one - Questionnaire one compromised of 34 females and 30 males the mean age was 35.5 years.
Questionnaire one was designed to measure self-reported fear and avoidance of the animals and insects, participants rated the animals on two scales, 29 samples of animals were given, for example Robins, Mouse, Rat, Jellyfish, Spider, etc.
There were two scales used to measure, one was the fear scale, the participants were asked to rate their fear of an animal on a three point scale. The second was a nearness scale. The participants rated their fear by completing a 5 point scale of nearness.
Participants were instructed that as some animals and insects are difficult to pick up in the wild imagine they have been injured in some way. Group two when completed questionnaire two compromised of 25 females and 24 males and the mean age of group two was 35.1 years.
In questionnaire two participants were asked to rate each of the animals and insects in terms of how ugly, slimy, and speedy the animals are and how suddenly they appear to move. A three point scale was used to rate each of the four characteristics on questionnaire two.