Phobias and Addictions Through Conditioning

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Phobias and Addictions Through Conditioning
Kristie Daniel
April 4, 2011
Gerry Ann Juchniewicz

Phobias and Addictions Through Conditioning
Conditioning can be used to develop or eliminate emotional difficulties in subjects. There are two types of conditioning that can and have been distinguished between. These two types are classified as operant and classical. Phobias can and have been purposely developed by using classical conditioning in subjects using fear tactics. Addictions can be developed or removed by using operant conditioning in subjects. Despite operant and classical conditioning being used to develop phobias and addictions, extinction can be used in both to remove the current conditionings. The operant and classical conditioning are two types of behavioral conditioning. Conditioning is actually a type of learning. First, one must distinguish between the two types to gain essential understanding when discussing how they can be used. Classical conditioning, as described by Ivan Pavlov, is where an unnatural stimulus can cause a natural reaction or reflex. His study introduced a bell when food was presented to a dog to produce the saliva reflex [ (Kowalski, 2009) ]. Later he used the bell without presenting the food and still received the salivation reflex [ (Kowalski, 2009) ]. The dog had learned to associate the sound of the bell with meal time. In essence, classical conditioning or learning is learning based on an outside stimulus. Operant conditioning, as described by Edward Thorndike, is where a spontaneous event leads to a desired result. Thorndike put a hungry cat in a latched box with food in its sight [ (Kowalski, 2009) ]. As the cat moved around the cage, it spontaneously tripped the latch to release the lock to release it, and then it could eat [ (Kowalski, 2009) ]. When placed in the same situation later on the cat could repeat the result faster than before [ (Kowalski, 2009) ]. The cat had learned that it could do...
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