Phobias and Addictions Essay

1592 WordsDec 17, 20127 Pages
Running Head: PHOBIAS AND ADDICTIONS Phobias and Addictions Paper Psych 300 November 25, 2012 Phobias and Addictions Phobias and addictions plague the human mind, creating quality of life issues. Estimates state that 12.5 percent of the population will cope with a phobia at some point in their lives (D’ Angelo, 2012). According to psychological models, “Addiction is moderated by a number of interrelated psychological factors such as emotion, attention, learning, and memory” (Millar, 2011, Approaches to Understanding Addiction, para. 2). Whether phobia or addiction, most agree that these behaviors come about as a result of learned conditioning, such as classical and operant conditioning. Phobias and Classical Conditioning Authors Scemes, Wielenska, Savoia, and Bernik (2009) explain that one learns phobic behavior patterns through classical and operant conditioning mechanisms. Author McLeod (2008, 2012) explains that, “Classical conditioning theory involves learning a new behavior via the process of association” (Classical Conditioning Examples, para. 1). In other words, linking two stimuli produces a new learned response in the person or animal. The Little Albert experiment shows how classical conditioning led to a rat phobia in a small child. The experiment began when the child was only nine months old. Behaviorist John B. Watson and graduate student Rosalie Raynor (1920) believed they could instill a fear of rats in the child by teaching the child to associate the rat with a loud clanging noise which startled the child. The child would then associate the startling noise with the rat, and cry whenever presented with the rat expecting the loud scary noise. Author McLeod (2008, 2012) explains further: When "Little Albert" was just over 11 months old the white rat was presented and seconds later the hammer was struck against the

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