The Cause of Phobias Essay
721 Words3 Pages
The Cause of Phobias
We are not born with phobias – a phobia is learnt because it has become associated with an object or an experience that is unpleasant.
According to the behaviourist, a phobia has to be learnt. This can happen in one of two ways: classical or operant conditioning.
Classical conditioning is where an object/experience becomes associated with something unpleasant or causes pain/fear. J Watson and R Rayner tested this in a controversial experiment in 1920, in the case of little Albert.
The stimulus may be all kinds of things, an object, a person or a sound. By itself it has no effect but once it has become associated with the UCS (unconditional stimulus)…show more content…
By not going to the pool the unpleasant experience is avoided, this is negative reinforcement.
Some areas where classical conditioning could be criticised are the ethics involved with the experiments. The person who is to be conditioned would experience an enormous amount of upset and discomfort. It is said that a phobia can be unlearned; this process is called extinction. I believe that for extinction to take place it would be a longer and be even more traumatic process for the participant than the original conditioning. This may well be the reason why little Albert was removed from the experiment before extinction took place.
In operant conditioning, no consideration is given to the possibility of there being a valid reason for the person to be upset by a certain stimulus or place. If the problem was addressed then perhaps phobia development could be avoided and the experience or object could become bearable or perhaps even enjoyable.
Anti-Thesis: A phobia develops after we have had a bad experience, perhaps as a child, which we have repressed. Or what if we have watched the fear that a stimulus triggers in someone else – will this cause a fear in us? Or perhaps some of us are indeed born with a phobia that has evolved through the ages?
E.g. a child is out with an older sibling being taken for a walk
Phobias: Effects and Treatments of Phobias Essay
1534 Words7 Pages
Imagine, five-year-old Carrie walks into her classroom at school and stops dead in her tracks. Today is show-and-tell day, and Jimmy brought his pet Tarantula, Rex, in to share it the class. This is the third time Rex has visited the class this month. The first time Jimmy brought Rex in, Carrie was not fearful of the ugly, hairy creature, so without fear to hold her back Carrie ventures to take a closer look at the strange new arachnid. As Carrie stared down at the arachnid from the open lid of its container, the spider jumped toward her. She cried out in fear and sought comfort in her teacher’s arms. All that week Jimmy talked about how he would bring Rex for show-and-tell again, and all the while Carrie is listening and dreading the…show more content…
A phobia is an irrational fear of an object or situation (“PhobiaFacts – Phobias”). Every fear is a phobia though there may not be an official name for that particular fear. For example, the fear of spiders is called Arachnophobia, but there is no official name for having a fear of birds that fly in the shape of a ‘V’. In other words, Arachnophobia is a recognized and understood phobia on both a scientific and literal level whereas the fear of birds flying in the shape of a ‘V’ does not yet have an official title. A question arises: is there a similar phobia title given in order to help the girl who is afraid of birds that fly in the shape of a ‘V’? There is an infinite range of phobias. A phobia can be very broad and encompass many things or it can be very specific about what the victim is afraid of. An example of a specific fear is Paraskavedekatriaphobia, the fear of Friday the 13th (“Top 10 Bizarre Phobias”). Friday the 13th is a day like any other day, but for someone with Paraskavedekatriaphobia, it is terrifying. Out of all phobias, the three most common phobias are: Arachnophobia, Social Phobia, and Aerophobia (Heering). Arachnophobia is the most common phobia because it affects half of all women and ten percent of all men. There are symptoms, that one who is experiencing a phobia might have; panic, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and trembling. ("Phobias: MedlinePlus"). Certain phobias can cause only minor distress, while