Essay on Phobias and Addictions

893 Words 4 Pages
Phobias and Addictions
Ashlee D. Niland
October 22, 2012
Dr. Erickson

Phobias and Addictions

“According to Kowalski and Westen, the concept that learning shapes behavior, forms the fundamental concepts of the behaviorist perspective. Known together as associative learning, classical and operant conditioning are common, yet distinct ways in which humans learn behavior”(Kowalski & Weston, 2009, p. 157) Classical conditioning, also known as Pavlovian conditioning or respondent conditioning, is like having a bell that rings every time a dog gets his food. The dog then learns that the sound of that bell means food is there. The learning of the bell and food correlating to one another is classical conditioning. Operant
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Phobias can be attained through operant conditioning by reinforcing your actions. “Phobias can be learned through operant conditioning by repeatedly reinforcing avoidance of a mildly fearful situation” (Phobias, YYYY). For example, say a person has a slight fear of flying and his or her significant other agrees to take the car instead of flying in a plane, the person’s fear of flying has then been reinforced and possibly may then develop into a phobia being flying. Phobias can be maintained by negative reinforcement. Extinction can come to play when the man happened to take a few flights and see that nothing bad is going happened. Every time he or she were to fly and nothing scary happened then his fear, phobia of flying may cease.
Addictions and classical conditioning is like the stick of a needle for the use of getting “high”. Every time that addict puts the needle in his arm he feels the drug moving up his veins, creating his “high”, and then releasing him to the world of the drug. When you use classical conditioning for this example you can take that same person and place them in the hospital for say, a kidney infection. The doctor comes to the addict and goes to put an IV in his arm; the feeling that the man or woman, addict felt every time he used the needle for drugs now comes back to him as the doctor pricks him with the needle even though it is not the drug but saline to hydrate him.

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