Explanations of dysfunctional behaviour

Watson and Raynor, Kendler and Pickup + Frith. 

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: lfcvish
  • Created on: 28-04-12 17:24

Watson and Raynor - Behavioural Explanations

Behaviourists explanation of development of a phobia would link a type of behaviour with an experienced or observed consequence which shape the individuals future behaviour.  Behaviourist explanations fall into 2 categories: Classical conditioning, and Operant Conditioning. 

Classical Conditioning - Conditioned to do a certain action when hearing a certain stimulus at the same time as normal behaviour. For example dogs salivate when food comes. Ring bell when food comes, when bell rings without food dog salivates. 

Operant Conditioning - Behaviour can be shaped by a reward/punishment which reinforces the behaviour. For example if rewarded for crying to get a sweet, will cry every time. 

Little Albert, 8 month old baby, mum was a nurse, most of the time spent at the hospital in Baltimore. Albert first showed no fearful reaction to a variety of stimuli including a rabbit, a dog,  a rat etc. They then frightened Albert by hitting a steel bar behind his head. This created a fear response in him after they started introducing a rat and simultaneously hitting steel bars. This was repeated until Albert even cryed without steel bars and just seeing the rat. This fear also transcribed into other "furry beings" like dogs and rabbits. 

1 of 3

Kendler - Biological Explanations

Kendler undertook individual psychiatric interviews with 2000 women on a population register, who were all twins. They found concordance rates for bulimia was 22%. In monozygotic twins (identical) and 9% in dizygotic twins (non identical). This suggests a high genetic contribution to bulimia.

2 of 3

Pickup and Frith - Cognitive Explanations

Approach: Cognitive
Method: Lab Experiment
Participants: 41 patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. Half from london psychiatric hospitals, and half lived in community.

Procedure: schizophrenic patients divided into groups according to their symptomology on day of testing. Two first order and 1 second order theory of mind tests were given to participants. All participants were also given three non mental control tasks  that were similer in structure to theory of mind tasks but did not require theory  of mind. Tasks were read aloud  and enacted by the experimenter using props like playmobil characters.

Results: Found people diagnosed with schizophrenia, exhibit theory of mind difficulties similer to those found in people with autism but not as severe a level.

3 of 3


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »