AS AQA Psychology PSYA2- Behavioural approach to Psychopathology

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  • Created by: Ruth Butt
  • Created on: 28-05-13 15:47

Behaviourists believe abnormality stems from past life experiences, and what is learned, can be unlearned. 

  • Classical conditioning assumes feared objects/situations have been associated with fear or anxiety sometime in the past. The emotion of fear is evoked whenever the individual encounters a particular object/situation.

KEY STUDY: Watson and Rayer 1920- Little Albert who was 11 months old and was tested for fear of white fluffy objects, but no fear was evoked. However, a conditioned response to previously neutral objects was formed by striking a bell everytime little Albert was in the prescence of a white fluffy object. This was repeated 3 times and a week later. When tested a month later, little Albert showed distress upon seeing the white fluffy objects, even when there was no bell being struck. This fear was GENERALISED to other similar situations. Ethical issues was a problem with this study.

  • Operant conditioning when a maladaptive behaviour is rewarded, e.g. if a child is shown a lit of attention when having a panic attack, they are more likely to show this sort of behaviour later in life.
  • Social learning when inidividuals view others being rewarded or punished for particular behaviours e.g. imitating the behaviour of siblings or parents. Vacarious reinforcemen is important in this process.

KEY STUDY: Bandura and Walters


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