Phobias and Addictions

Topics: Classical conditioning, Behaviorism, Operant conditioning Pages: 6 (1053 words) Published: June 3, 2014


Phobias and Addictions

Psy 300
05/19/14
Angelique Grady

Classical conditioning and operant conditioning are both related by one's behavior whether it is a condition that comes naturally or is one that has to be learned. There are two emotional difficulties which are linked to these types of conditioning. They are called phobias and addictions. Once these behaviors are reinforced anymore, it will lead to extinction. Classical conditioning is a procedure by which a previously neutral stimulus comes to elicit a response after it is paired with a stimulus that automatically elicits that response, the first type of learning to be systematically studied (Kowalski & Weston, 2011, pg. 164). The unconditional stimulus (UCS) comes naturally, but the conditional stimulus (CS) has learned to associate with the UCS. The unconditional response (UCR) does not have to be learned but a conditional response (CR) has to be learned. Like in Pavlov's dog experiment; the neutral stimulus is the bell, the UCS is the food, CR is salivation and the CS likes the bell to the food to salivation (Kowalski & Weston, 2011, pg. 164-165). Operant conditioning is learning that results when an organism associates a response that occurs spontaneously with a particular environmental effect also called instrumental conditioning. Like in Thorndike's cat experiment, he placed a cat in a box with a mechanical latch and placed food outside the box so that the cat could see it. As the cat meowed, paced back and forth and rubbed the walls of the box, it tripped the latch. This opened the door of the box and the cat was able to access the food. After repeating this experiment, the continuous repetition allowed the cat to become more adept to tripping the latch (Kowalski & Weston, 2011, pg. 174). Several differences are classical conditioning involves placing a neutral signal before a reflex. It focuses on involuntary or automatic behaviors and has no enticements. Operant conditioning involves applying reinforcement or punishment after a behavior. It focuses on strengthening or weakening voluntary behaviors. It's the behaviors and the consequences of that behavior. Operant conditioning is like being rewarded with incentives or positive reinforcements (Kowalski & Weston, 2011, pg. 174). Phobias can be developed through classical conditioning. A phobia is a fear that is so irrational that the amount of fear is not warranted by cause and it interferes with the daily functioning of the sufferer (Antczak, 2011). Classical conditioning leads to phobias by way of learning. An example of a phobia is seeing a needle and fainting. You may have had a bad experience with getting a shot so once you see the needle it may cause you to have a reaction to just the sight of it (Kowalski & Weston, 2011). You know as an adult that it is painless, but the phobia kicks in and may even cause you to faint. Another example of a phobia could be to sound. If you hear a car horn honk or tires screech, followed by a crash, you then may associate every honk or screech to a car accident and you will probably stay away from that part of the road in the future to avoid these feelings. Addictions can be developed through operant conditioning. Addiction links the association between pleasure and pain. Addiction is the continued repetition of the behavior despite adverse consequences or a neurological impairment leading to such behaviors (Antczak, 2011). If it makes you feel good and takes away the pain it is an addiction. Addictions are not only physical beings but can also be mental emotions. Several examples of addiction are drugs. People may take drugs for pleasure and to feel good about themselves or help them forget about a thought or memory. Drugs cloud your judgment and only eliminate the problem for a short period of time until they wear off. Then this will lead to pain. Going through withdraw off of drugs is a difficult process. The body and...


References: Antczak, A. (2011). Classical and Operant Conditioning: Phobias and Addictions: A Discussion of Associative Learning. http://voices.yahoo.com/classical-operant-conditioning-phobias-addictions-10159457.html
Kowalski, R., & Westen, D. (2011). Psychology (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons
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