Phobias and Addictions

Topics: Classical conditioning, Behaviorism, Operant conditioning Pages: 2 (715 words) Published: September 23, 2013


Phobias and Addictions

PSY 300

Phobias and Addictions
Phobias and addictions are emotional issues that many people have to deal with on a daily basis. Phobias are an irrational fear of something. An addiction is a need that is difficult for the person to control. Phobias can be formed through classical conditioning. Addictions can be formed through operant conditioning. Classical conditioning and operant conditioning are both ways that we learn through experience. These forms of conditioning are very different from each other, but both can lead to a process known as extinction, where a connection or response is broken or weakened (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). Classical conditioning occurs when a neutral stimulus is consistently added to an event and becomes associated with that event and causes a response (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). This can be illustrated by Pavlov’s Model (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). In the model, a bell was rung every time dinner was given to a dog. Because the dog began to salivate with the presentation of dinner, the bell soon caused salivation as well due to classical conditioning. Operant conditioning occurs with the connection of something positive or negative after an event (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). An example of this can be found when shaping a child’s behavior. If the child is rewarded for good behavior, the reward will be connected with the good behavior, which will then more likely to continue. However, if bad behavior is connected to punishment, the bad behavior is less likely to occur (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). Phobias can be found as a result of classical conditioning. If an individual associates something bad with an object, such as a spider, a phobia can form (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). A phobia is an irrational fear of an object or event. If a person experiences a negative event, which includes a spider, that individual may develop a fear of spiders. This can also happen over time (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). If a...
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