Psychology Unit 3

Explanations for substance misuse

  • Created by: Gabrielle
  • Created on: 23-11-11 22:17

Nurture - SLT as an explanation for substance misu

  • Learning takes place by observing role models
  • Particularly those with whom a person identifies and who are similar to them or who are admited and then imitate their behaviour
  • e.g. friends, family, parents
  • Puts forward idea of modelling
  • Behaviour observed when watched a model and then remember and imitated
  • Attention
  • Identifcation with role model is a feature of SLT
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  • If substance misuse learned through SLT
  • Role model likely to be someone similar to individual and with whom they identify
  • Motivation to carry out behaviour
  • Observed behaviour attended to
  • Remembered

    Vicarious Reinforcement
    Punished - less likely to be repeated
    Rewarded - more likely to be repeated

    Individual learn by watching others

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  • Akers 1992
    pointed out that television may have a role in promoting substance misuse by prodiving role models for children
  • SLT
    demonstrated in animals, where, for eample, monkeys have learnt to fear objects that they would not normally fear, just by observing other monkeys showing fear
  • Can explain why different cultures tend to see misuse of different substances, as people will want to try a drug to be seen as 'cool' in their culture in order to gain more social reinforcement
  • Dielman et al
    Found parental norms for alcohol use predicted adolescent alchool use
  • Couteois et al
    Found that adolescent smoking and cannabis was linked to parental use
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  • Ernett 1994
    showed SLT does not have any effect on drug misuse

    study showed little evidence between friendship groups and smoking
  • Hard to show definite link between observation and learning because many factors involved
    e.g. could be argued that family memebrs act as role models because alcohol abuse tends to run in families but this could b explained through a genetic explanation
  • Difficult to test SLT because it might not just be about vicarious reinforcement
  • Many other factors involved such as peer pressure
  • CC would explain addiction to one drug substance further by accounting for addiction with different drugs throught discrimination
    E.g. pavlovs dogs only salviate to the same bell
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Nature - Biochemical explanation for substance mis

  • > M.O.A
  • Drugs are chemicals and work in brain to provide pleasure reaction
  • Drug acts like other neurotransmitters
  • When released by chemical impulse, neurotransmittter crosses synaptic gap
  • Fit with receptors of another neurone
  • Recreational drugs, like other drugs, work at receptor of a neurone
  • Drugs prevent re uptake of neurotransmitter
  • = Neural transmission is blocked

e.g. stimulant drug (ectasy/speed) makes stimulation of neuron easier
e.g. depressamt drug (alcohol/heroin) slow down brain activity which means communication of messages between neurons are less effective

Different drugs work in different ways
Both dopamine and serotonin systems in brain are involved in misuse/addiction
These neurotransmitters linked to pleasure and positive emotions

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Heroin acts on opioid rceptor sites in brain
Changes action of dopamine in reward pathway of brain
Releasing more dopamine than usual
Heroin converted into morphine in brain
Morphine works at opioid receptors at synapse
Morphine fits to receptors to prevent effect of GABA on dopaminergic neurones
Result is more dopamin activity and release of dopamine into synaptic cleft
If dopamine reward pathway continues to be stimulated =
Leads to feelings of euphoria

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  • Animal studies shown different drugs affect receptors in different ways
    Evidence for biological approach
    Studles can be repeated = reliable
    1. control 24/7
    2. manipulate variables
    3. observe
  • PET scans (look at function of brain) shown neuronal activity when someone is smoking 'normal' cigarette is different from when someone smokes a low nictotine one
    Suggests neuronal activity affected by nicotine
  • Withdrawal symptoms support explanation
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  • PET scans show valigiy as they involved looking at real life behaviour however the situation is still artificial so the findings can also lack validity
    Not natural
    Not studying drugs in context of taking drugs
  • Problems generalsing the findings of animal studies to human behaviour
    Humans more complex
    Nervous system of animals similar to human - feel pain
  • Humans are more complex
    More variables effect drug taking behaviour
  • This explanation doesnt explan why the user taes the drug in the first place unlike SLT which could explain throught vicarious reinforcement
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