Phobias and Addictions Paper

Topics: Classical conditioning, Operant conditioning, Extinction Pages: 4 (1247 words) Published: January 29, 2012
Individual Phobias and Addictions Paper

Fear. Primitive response. Addiction. Uncontrollable urge. Unquenchable need. What do these two common words have in common besides being apart of everyday life? How they come about. Both fear and addiction are formed from either classical or operant conditioning. Just like with anything we come in contact with in our daily lives, the outcomes of both classical and operant conditionings can come to an end. This end is known as extinction.

Ivan Pavlov is credited with being the father of classical conditioning. While studying the digestive systems of dogs, he came across the phenomenon we now know as classical conditioning. In his experiment, he noticed dogs would salivate when presented with meat, which is a reflex. Pavlov noticed that if stimuli, in Pavlov’s case a ringing bell, was associated with the presentation of meat, the dogs would associate the ringing bell with being fed and therefore, began to salivate every time a bell was rung (Kowalski & Westen, 2009, p. 158). To break it down using Pavlov’s experiment, the meat is known as the unconditioned stimulus (UCS), the dog’s salivating is known as the unconditioned response (UCR), and the bell is known as the neutral stimulus (NS) to start. During conditioning, the NS is paired with the UCS to get the UCR, until an association is made. Once the association is made, the NS becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS). Once the CS is presented, a conditioned response (CR) is created from that point on.

How does classical conditioning create a phobia? The best answer to this question can be seen in the “Little Albert” experiment done by John Watson and Rosalie Rayner. In the experiment, Watson and Rayner presented nine-month old Albert with a white rat, among other things (Kowalski & Westen, 2009, p. 160). After a while, when they presented Albert with the rat, they would strike a steel bar that would make a loud sound, scaring Albert (Kowalski & Westen, 2009, p. 160)....
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