Outline and Evaluate the Behavioural Model of Abnormality

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The behavioural model of abnormality assumes that all behaviour apart from instinctive reflexes are learnt, when an infant is born they are born with essentially a ‘clean slate’. According to the behavioural model; learning occurs within an environment, which can be either real or built. For the first few years of a persons life this will mainly be family, gradually expanding to include friends and school and eventually to influences such as the media. In accordance with the Behavioural Model of Abnormality; abnormal behaviour is not a symptom of an illness or underlying cause, in contrast to what the Biological Model of Abnormality suggests, it is simply learnt. This Behavioural Model classifies three different learning processes: classical conditioning - learning through association, operant conditioning - learning through reinforcement and the social learning theory - learning through observing and imitating others. Behaviour that is learnt through any of these three processes can be either maladaptive or adaptive.

Classical conditioning is a basic form of learning which involves associating conditioned and unconditioned stimuli by pairing them together. Pavlov first demonstrated the use of classical conditioning in 1927 with the example of a dog’s salivation reflex. While taking accurate measurements from the dog about how much it was salivating; Pavlov noticed that the dog would salivate at the sight of food as well as tasting it. Due to this; he carried out an experiment which sought to discover whether he could connect the dogs response to food to a neutral stimulus. To do this Pavlov presented the dog with a neutral stimulus, in this case a bell which Pavlov rung and to which the dog did not salivate to; he then presented the dog with both the ringing bell and a bowl of food, the unconditioned stimulus, this is repeated until the dog connects the ringing of the bell with the neutral stimulus which becomes the stimulus, the unconditioned stimulus can...

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  • Submitted by:
  • on March 26, 2009
  • Category: Psychology
  • Length: 1,137 words
  • Views: 2379
  • Popularity Rank: 20432
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