Examples Of Phobias And Addictions

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Phobias and Addictions Phobias and Addictions often occur as a result of both classical and operant conditioning. In this paper I will discuss each of these types of conditioning, how they relate to phobias and addictions, as well as extinctions and how they relate to these conditionings as well. The first type of conditioning is classical conditioning. Classical conditioning is a mode of training behavior where a naturally occurring environmental stimulus that produces an unconditional response is paired with a neutral stimulus (Malaka). As we learned with Pavlov’s dogs, after this is done one or more times, the neutral stimulus will become a conditioned stimulus in that it will produce the same response as the naturally occurring unconditional stimulus. Classical conditioning can also cause phobias. Phobia is defined by Webster as an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation. A phobia is a fear that is so irrational that the amount of fear is not warranted by the cause, and it interferes with the daily functioning of the sufferer (Malaka). If one were to see and hear something that naturally produces a great deal of fear they may develop a phobia to similar sights and sounds. For example, if someone hears a car honking and then sees and hears crashing at an intersection they might develop an irrational fear of car horns or crosswalks. Even though we all would say that we should use caution in a crosswalk; if someone is so afraid to use one that they go completely out of their way to avoid it or change their plans all together so they don’t have to use it, this would be considered a phobia because the level of fear is so irrational that it hinders the persons nor... ... middle of paper ... ...en by the development of phobias through classical conditioning when a frightening event happens simultaneously with another event (Iverson). This can also be seen in the development of addictions through operant conditioning when a user learns that ingesting a chemical substance or performing certain acts will either lead to pleasure or prevent pain. Both types of conditioning can be reinforced or punished; and lack of reinforcement in either technique can lead to extinction (Iverson). It is apparent that both classical and operant conditioning can have both positive and negative affects. If properly used they can be a good tool in behavioral conditioning but if not they can cause phobias and addictions as explained. Just as in most behavioral tools of psychology they must be used carefully and skillfully in order to be successful and beneficial.

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