BLM core study

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BLM Aims and Context

·        Phobia- extreme irrational fear of an object or situation.

·        Phobia and fear differ in that a phobia is a clinical disorder that takes over a daily routine.

·        Evolution claims that phobias are adaptive and our ancestors survived so they may lie dominant in our brains.

·        Seligman found that we are biologically pre-disposed as more shocks required to induce fear of flowers than snakes.

·        This shows we are naturally scared o snakes as it took less shocks to condition the fear. Technically speaking it should have taken the same amount of shocks.

·        Marks supported this by claiming that fear of a certain animals is non-random. This is a reason why most people are scared of similar species.

  ·        Hinde claimed that animals with rapid movement might elicit fear.

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BLM Aims and Context


·        Mineka found wild monkeys scared of real and toy snakes, but rhesus(lab reared) monkeys only showed mild fear. So phobias not biological. Rhesus monkeys should have been just as scared as the wild ones. This shows it’s to do with experience.

·        Mineka disagrees with BLM beliefs that phobias/fears= biological

·        BLM challenged mineka as real snakes show movement and humans/animals fear snake like movement.

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BLM Procedure

·        113 Ps filled in a questionnaire at health centre

·        Opportunity sample used

·        Group 1 completed questionnaire 1 (30 males; 34 females)

·        Group 2 completed questionnaire 2 (24 males; 25 females)

·        Questionnaire 1 measured fear (3 point scale, 1 not afraid, 3 very afraid) and avoidance (5 point scale) of 29 animals. (rat, lamb, slug etc) Likert scale

·        Questionnaire 2 measured ratings of 29 animals in terms of being ugly, slimy, speedy and sudden movement. (3 point scale)

·        Ps told to imagine animals and to assume that animals had been injured so they were easier to pick up- not to evoke fear.

·        Animals ranged from rat to rabbit.

·        All answers were self report.

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BLM Findings and Conclusion

·        Mean ratings calculated

·        Rats feared more than any other animal(average rating 2.08)

·        Females would not pick up 10 animals that males would pick up including jellyfish, cockroach and spider.

·        No sex differences in terms of ugliness(slug 2.63), sliminess(slug 2.90), speediness(grasshopper 2.48) or movement(lizard 2.78)

·        If an animal was perceived to be ugly and slimy then they preferred to be at a distant.

Correlation of 0.75 which was 99.9% significant as a predictor of fear.

·        Moves suddenly and speedy had a correlation of 0.95 which was 99.9% significant. This included the rat, lizard and mouse.

·        Fear and nearness had a correlation of 0.90 – significant 99.9%- so the thing feared the most, the more distant we would like to be from it i.e. rat.


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BLM Conclusion

·        Conclusion that humans are not prepared specifically to fear animals. But to fear certain stimulus such as harmfulness and difference from the human form e.g. spider and 8 legs.

·        Can help overcome phobias and deal with characteristics. Anxiety will only reduce the more you are around it.

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BLM Evaluation

·   Useful treatments have been suggested from this study i.e. if scared of a slimy slug , then use other slimy products to desensitise fear.

· No stress and discomfort was elicited as all Ps were told the animals were not harmful.

·  Gave informed concent (opportunity sample)

o   Ps were still stressed

o   We shouldn’t really measure fear on a scale as different people will have different interpretations of what a number 3 means on a scale.

o   Lacks ecological validity as fears are natural in real life, not imagined.

o   No reasons provided.

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