Jones (1924): Curing a boy’s phobia
- To investigate whether a phobia in a little boy could be deconditioned and whether this would generalize to other objects.
- Peter was 2yrs 10mths old when Jones started the observations.
- She watched Peter playing with beads in his cot while the experimenter showed him a white rat. Peter screamed and moved away.When the rat touched Peter’s beads he protested but didn’t when another child touched his beads.
- Next day – Peter’s reaction to different objects was observed which showed that his fear of the rat had generalized to other objects. Peter was also shown a rabbit and was more afraid of this than the rat so a rabbit was used for deconditioning.
- Cover used both CLASSICAL CONDITIONING & SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY to help sure Peter’s phobia
- Cover developed a TOLERANCE SERIES whereby Peter would gradually get closer to the rabbit.
- Food gave Peter pleasure and he felt relaxed (UCS (food) -à UCR (pleasure))
- As he took steps to moving along the tolerance series he was given food.
- Cover was aiming to get Peter to ASSOCIATE pleasure with the rabbit.
- She was trying to use classical conditioning to reverse the phobia.
- Peter also had daily play sessions with 3 children and the rabbit (the others weren’t scared of the rabbit). He saw the other children being happy around the rabbit, and being praised. (SLT)
- New situations were used to get Peter closer to the rabbit.
- The changes in Peter’s behavior were not steady or continuous or equally spaced in time (see graph below).
- Peter’s behavior improved and worsened e.g. when he was scratched by the rabbit.
- The tolerance series were created by six people’s descriptions of the improvement in Peter’s behavior.
- The other children acted as role models which helped Peter move closer to the rabbit.
- He also lost his fear of cotton, the coat and feathers.
- He also accepted new animals such as frogs, worms and a mouse.
- Both classical conditioning and social learning helped to decondition Peter.
- The deconditioning also reduced generalized fears and helped Peter to cope with new animals.
- Detailed observations over a long period. These showed Peter’s progress.
- Jones asked other people to order the tolerance series so avoided bias.
- Used different ways to help Peter.
- The gaps between sessions were variable so progress could be due to time rather than deconditioning.
- Jones used two different techniques…