Phobias & Addictions Essay

981 words - 4 pages

Phobias & Addictions

Psy/300

05/21/2014
Phobias & Addictions
According to the Merriam – Webster Dictionary a “phobia” is an irrational persistent fear or dread of something. Phobias are disorders humans possess that are triggered by subconscious fears they may have about something directly or indirectly related to their particular phobia. Phobias are more operant conditions rather than classical conditions; meaning they are more dictated because of environment or other factors surrounding oneself than occurring without any sort of studied behavior. Phobias and addictions are two emotional difficulties which learning theorists can account for. Addiction is both a physiological ...view middle of the document...

Then, someone brings in some fresh flowers. The smell of those flowers may trigger the person’s desire
to have a smoke again and thus relapse. This is just one example of how operant conditioning plays a huge role in addiction, although there are plenty others.
Classical and operant conditioning are similar in that they link an environmental stimulus to a behavioral response from the organism or subject. Where classical and operant conditioning differ is in the order of presentation. In classical conditioning, there is a stimulus from the environment and that stimulus elicits a response from the organism/subject. A prime example of classical conditioning can be found in the behavior of pets. A cat learns to associate the sound of a can opener with getting fed cat food and eventually will come running to the kitchen whenever the can opener makes noise, even if it is not time for them to eat. In this example, the sound the can opener makes is the conditioned stimulus and it influences the behavior of the cat. Operant conditioning is different in that the behavior of the organism comes before the stimulus. In operant conditioning, the organism/subject displays a behavior. That behavior is random and is not linked to a circumstance or stimulus. However, the behavior leads to a favorable (or unfavorable) change in the environment. If the connection between the two is reinforced, operant conditioning can occur. Superstitious behavior is a good example of operant conditioning. Not washing your socks before a big game has no real effect on whether or not your team wins in the playoffs. But if your team wins after you happened not to wash your socks, you may be more likely to not wash your socks before big games. If you keep not washing your socks and your team keeps winning, you would likely be conditioned to think that your socks control how well your team does in the playoffs. In operant conditioning, the behavior of the subject is dictated by the consequence of those actions.
Extinction, in classical...

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