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'An irrational fear of an object or situation'

Behavioural characteristics:

  • Panic - Crying, screaming, fleeing etc when in the presence of phobic stimulus.
  • Avoidance - Going to a lot of effort to avoid phobic stimulus.
  • Endurance - Remaining in the presence of phobic stimulus but experiencing high levels of anxiety.

Emotional characteristics:

  • Anxiety - High arousal state when phobic stimulus is encountered.
  • Unreasonable response - Responses in relation to phobic stimulus may be wildly dispoportionate or unreasonable.

Cognitive characteristics:

  • Selective attention - Keeping attention on phobic stimulus to be ready to react.
  • Irrational beliefs - Beliefs in relation to the phobic stimulus.
  • Cognitive distortions - Perceptions of the phobic stimulus may be distorted.

Explaining phobias:The behavioural approach

Acquisition by classical conditioning

Two stimuli are repeatedly paired together and eventually the neutral stimulus (Phobia) produces a conditioned response. 

Maintenance by operant conditioning

An individual


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