Explantion for Anxiety Disorder (Phobias)

Explantion for Anxiety Disorder (Phobias)

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Biological explanation - Ohman

Aim:To see if phobias of snakes could be more easily conditioned than phobias of faces and houses indicating a biological preparedness to develop phobias of certain objects.

Sample: 64 paid volunteers aged 20 - 30 years. 26 Males 38 Females.

Psychology students from Sweden.

Method: Laboratory experiment. Independent measures

Procedure:Participant shown slides of houses, faces and snakes in random order

Group 1: Received uncomfortable electric shock after pictures of snakes

Group 2:  Recevied uncomfortable electric shock after pictures of houses

Group 3: Received uncomfortable electric shock after pictures of faces

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Biological explanation - Ohman cont...

Procedure cont...: Galvanic skin response was measured as a measure of fear. Conductance is a measure of sweating, a physiological response to fear.

Results: Group 1 had the highest level of fear.

Participants were more likely to show fear reactions to snakes than houses or face, so this shows a biological preparedness to develop phobias to objects that may cause us harm.

Evaluation: Reliability - Labartory experiment, reliable measure , test re-test

Validity of measure- may not be valid measure of fear as it may come down to individual difference.

Method: No order effect, individual differences, cause and effect, control of extraneous variables.

Sample Size - Generalisable - Ethnocentric

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Behavioural explanation - Watson & Raynor

Aim: To assess if a baby can be conditioned to produce a fear response to a previously neutral stimulus.

Sample: 'Little Albert'; 8 month old baby boy.

Method: Case Study

Procedure: White rat was shown - loud noise was made with a steel bar behind him

Noise frightened Albert

Associated fear with the rat

Fear generalised to to other white fluffy things as well

NS (Rat) + UCS (Loud Noise) ---> UCR (Fear)

CS ( Rat + Loud Noise) ---> CR (Fear)

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Behavioural explanation - Watson & Raynor cont...

Results: It is possible to condition fear through classical conditioning.

Fear was transferred to other similar objects (generalization)

Evaluation: Ethics

Validity - One case study apply to other people? Demand characteristics?

Reliability - Can the procedure standardised?




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Cognitive explanation - DiNardo

Aim:To assess whether 'excessive worry; is a symptom of Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Sample: Patients attending the clinics in USA

Method: Quasi Experiment, Independent Measures; Group of patients with GAD and without GAD.

Procedure: Patients interviewed using Anxiety Disorders Interview or Structured Clinical Interview for DSM.

A five point rating scale was used to measure excessive worry. 

Results: Significantly more patients with GAD reported excessive worry than non patients. 

More patients without GAD reported no excessive worry

Patients with GAD reported excessive worry for 59% of the day. Those without GAD for 42% of the day.

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Cognitive explanation - DiNardo cont...

Results cont: Excessive worry, which indicates faulty thinking is found more in GAD patients.


Causal Link -  Quasi Experiment - Extraneous Variables

Self Report


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