Phobias (Behavioural Approach)

  • Created by: bintahall
  • Created on: 30-04-19 16:26

Characteristics of Phobias

Panic (Emotional)

High levels of stress and anxiety (Behaviour)

Out of proportion fear (Emotional)

Beliefs which are irrational (Cognitive)

Irrational Fear (Emotional)

Avoidance (Behaviour)

Selective attention (Cognition)

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The Behavioral Approach to explaining Phobias

The Two-Process Model:

1. Classical Conditioning (Initiation) - Little Albert Study: Phobia is aquired through association. Neural stimulus (rat) + unconditioned stimulus (loud noise) = unconditioned response (fear) = conditioned response (fear of loud noise paired with rat) = conditioned stimulus (is now the rat)

2. Operant Conditioning (Maintenance) - CC doesn't explain why one continues to fear something or avoid it. A behaviour is likely to be repearted if the outcome is rewarding. Avoiding something your phobic stimulus reduces the fear so is reinforcing (negative reinforcement)

Social Learning: Neo-behaviourist explanation (fear seems reduced). Phobias may be aquired through modelling the behaviour of others 

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Behavioural Approach to Phobias Evaluation

Diathesis-stress model: Suggests we inherit as genetic vunerabilty for developing mental disorders that will only occur if triggered by a certain event

Support for social learning: Bandura and Roesnthal support it. Experiment - model acted as if he was in pain everytime a buzzer sounded. Later on those who had observed it showed an emotional reaction to the buzzer = showed a fear response

Biological preparedness: Seligman argued that humans are genetically programmed to learn an association between potentially life-threatening stimuli and fear - known as ancient fears (things that would have been dangerous in the past).

The two-process model ignores cognitive factors: Cognitive approach suggests that phobias may develop due to irrational thinking - this is helpful as it can lead tocognitive therapies such as CBT being developed

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