Phobias and Addictions

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Phobias and Addictions Psch 300 March 31, 2013 Mr. Avery Phobias and Addictions Phobias can be developed through classical conditioning and addictions can be developed through operant conditioning. Classical and Operant conditioning are learning styles that differ. “Phobias are an intense, irrational, and persistent fear of a specific object, activity, person, or situation.” (Sullivan, 2009, p. 381). “Addiction refers to a condition in which a person has difficulty abstaining from a habitual behavior even when recognizing that it causes problematic consequences for the addict and other people.”(Sulkunen, P. 2011, pp6-8). Phobias and Classical Conditioning Phobias can develop through classical conditioning. This happens when two stimuli are paired, which changes the reflex response of the first stimulus (Kowalski & Westen, 2011). If a person has an irrational fear of spiders, he fears spiders will attack and kill him; this may lead one to accompany spiders with fear and anxiety. The sight of a spider in person or even on television can lead to fear and anxiety. “John B. Watson and his assistant Rosalie Rayner provided the first empirical evidence that fears can be acquired through classical conditioning.” (Escoba, 2008, pp 1-300). The experiment was with an 11-month old child named Albert. Albert was allowed to play with a white rat (conditioned stimuli). While he was playing with the rat, a loud noise (unconditioned stimuli) took place in the background. Albert was frightened and cried when the loud noise took place in the background (unconditioned response). After many conditioning stimuli and unconditioned stimuli pairings, Albert was given the rat and no noise took place in the background. Albert cried and tried to run from the rat, which would be the fear. This fear response was seen also when he was given other stimuli that resembled the
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