The world of psychology is an interesting one, especially when one examines current behaviours and the sort of conditioning that creates things such as phobias and addictions. Both phobias and addictions have been linked to certain conditioning theories which have been laid out by psychologist using the scientific methods. Phobias have been explained to stem from a classical conditioning whereas addictions seem to develop from an operant conditioning. Both classical conditioning and operant conditioning are styles acknowledged by scientists to create behaviours but both are equally different in techniques achieved. However, both styles can be erased in as sense through the method of extinction.
In terms of the general society, phobias have become a pretty common anxiety stress disorder. Phobias typically are irrational or adverse fears of an object, situation or activity. Individuals will usually take the extra step necessary to avoid this particular phobia at any cost so as to not face the fear or deal with the stressor at question According to Yates (2012) study, a “specific phobia is characterized by extreme and persistent fear of specific objects or situations that present little or no real threat” (p. 1). Often times an individual’s phobias are no relation to real danger and such is where the irrational portion of the fear comes into play in the equation. However, though the danger is not usually present, phobias may have a tendency to interfere with the daily living routine, thus creating a high anxiety level for that particular individual. Generally, scientists have come to the conclusion that phobias derive mostly from classical conditioning. Classical conditioning is the pairing of two stimuli that creates and outcome which changes the reflex response of the first stimulus. For example, if one has an irrational fear of spiders, whereas the individual thinks the spider will attack, this can lead one to associate spiders with fear and anxiety. This phobia could have been from an adverse stimulus with a spider but from that point on, or until the phobia is conquered, that individual will suffer from fear and anxiety from seeing spiders anywhere even if it is just on the television. On the other hand, addictions unlike phobias are more developed through behaviours and operant conditioning. Addictions have been described best as dependencies on substances (such as food,alcohol,drugs.etc) or behaviors (gambling, gaming, or sex). Addictions can occur, when one uses a particular substance or partakes in a particular activity and at some point cannot stop the need and want from recreating the feeling of the experience. Some substance use and engaging in activities can be enjoyable and so one has to remind themselves that it is not always classified as an addition just because an individual partakes in the actions described above in parentheses. However, when the behaviour or usage is continued use or continued activity has become compulsive and interferes with daily living, health, and mental focus is when this behaviour has become an addiction for that individual. Most scientists have attributed addictions developing from the style of operant conditioning. Like operant conditioning, addictions result when an individual associates a reaction (in general a positive reaction) that that is a direct result or occurring at the same time of engaging in a repeated activity. Hence, addictions arise through operant conditioning because of the frequent reaction an individual feels from the use of a substance or activity. This continual necessity that addiction creates sources an individual to keep recreating the feeling by repeating the activity over and over again. One can examine this behaviour and operanct conditioning through a nicotine addiction. Nicotine stimulates the brain in a gratifying way, which causes one to experience a sensation that becomes continually desired or needed.