Phobias and Addiction Essay

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Phobias and Addictions

Phobias and Addictions Phobias can be developed through classical conditioning and addictions can be developed through operant conditioning because phobias is an emotion that can be brought out by certain trauma or bad experience and addictions is an emotion that is created through rewards or punishments. Classical conditioning was discovered by Ivan Pavlov and is sometimes referred to as Pavlovian. Classical conditioning is a response that is involuntary when a certain kind of stimulus is present. For example when Pavlov discovered the classical conditioning he used dogs in the experiment. He would ring the bell every time he feed the dogs. The dogs would associate the ringing of the bell as it is time to eat and would salivate. Operant conditioning was discovered by B.F. Skinner. It is when the behavior of a person is followed by a consequence or a reward. There are four contexts of operant conditioning: positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, positive punishment, and negative punishment. Positive reinforcement is when a reward is brought on by an individual’s behavior. For example, if a child does something that is good and they receive a piece of candy for their behavior it is more than likely that the child will repeat that same good behavior again. Negative reinforcement is a behavior that removes something that is unwanted. An example of this is going to work every day and being on time to avoid getting fired or getting into trouble with your supervisor. Positive punishment is the consequence of an individual’s behavior that will decrease the chances of the behavior occurring again. For example, when a child does something that is wrong and they are put on punishment it is more than likely that the child would not repeat the behavior again. Negative punishment is the removal of something due to an individual’s behavior. An example of this form of punishment is when a child is acting out and a toy is being taken away from them it is likely that the child will not repeat that same behavior again. Phobias are brought on by fear whether it is a fear of animals, the dark or even humans. This can be developed through classical conditioning because there could be traumatic events that happen that could cause this fear. For example, if a child is being attacked by an animal more than likely the child will have a phobia of that particular animal even going into adulthood. “Studies since Watson and Rayner’s time have proposed classical conditioning as an explanation for some human phobias (Ost, 1991; Wolpe, 1958). For example, through exposure to injections in childhood, many people develop severe emotional reactions (including fainting) to hypodermic needles. Knowing as an adult that injections are necessary and relatively painless usually has little impact on the fear, which is elicited automatically. Athletes such as football players often amuse nurses in student health centers with their combination of fearlessness on the field and fainting at the sight of a tiny needle. Many such fears are acquired and elicited through the activation of subcortical neural pathways (pathways below the level of the cortex; Chapter

) between the visual system and the amygdala (Le Doux, 1995). Adult knowledge maybe of little use in counteracting them…