Phobias and Addictions
July 12, 2010
The purpose of this paper is to explore how phobias can be developed through classical conditioning, explore how addictions can be developed through operant conditioning, to distinguish between classical and operant conditioning, and to explain what extinction means and how it is achieved in both classical and operant conditioning.
Phobias and Addictions are two very emotional learning difficulties. Phobias are defined as being an enduring, abnormal, and unfounded fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, regardless of the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous. Addictions are defined as conditions of being consistently or compulsively occupied with or involved in something.
Classical Conditioning is defined as a process of behavior variation by which one comes to respond in a preferred manner to a previously neutral stimulus that has been repetitively presented along with an unconditioned stimulus that elicits the desired response. (Dictionary.com, 2010)
Fear of heights, spiders, closed spaces (claustrophobia) and other specific or simple phobias are sometimes caused by a type of learning known as classical conditioning. (DeLuca, 2009) Precise phobias or simple phobias are thought to be caused or predisposed by genetics and/ or childhood disturbance. These phobias can be learned through the learning type of classical conditioning.
Ivan Pavlov is quite known for his theory of classical conditioning. He is well known for his experiment of the dogs that salivated to the ring of a bell regardless if there was dog food present. The dogs became conditioned to salivate at the sound of the bell. It is believed that some fears and phobias...