The two-process model:
Classical Conditioning: Initiation
Phobia acquired through association.
· (UCS) being bitten-> creates fear (UCR)
· (NS) Dog produces (CR) fear response
Operant Conditioning: Maintenance:
Classical conditioning doesn’t explain why individuals remain fearful,
Likelihood of a behaviour being repeated depends on if the outcome is rewarding.
In the case of a phobia:
The avoidance/escape of the phobic stimulus reduces fear (negative reinforcement).
A neo-behaviourist explanation.
Phobias may also be acquired through modelling the behaviour of others.
E.g. seeing a parent react negatively to a spider.
Fear may lead to the child believing the behaviour may be rewarding
I.e. fearful person gets attention.
Importance of classical conditioning:
Sue et al (1994)-
Not everyone who has a phobia can recall an incident by which the phobia appeared.
Suggests different phobias may be the result of different processes.
Agoraphobics- may be explained by a specific incident.
Arachnophobias- most likely to cite their phobia to modelling as the cause.