Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Psychology, Behavior, Therapy, Education, Sleep, Cigarettes, Smoking, Learning

Pages: 2

Words: 550

Published: 2020/11/18

Aversion therapy conditions an individual to avoid unwanted behavior. That happens when the individual learns to associate new negative responses to harmful stimuli that would trigger unwanted behavior in a person. Although aversion therapies have been effective, they are not widely adopted because they are not acceptable to some clinicians and patients (Pastorino & Doyle-Portillo, 2011).

Study- Nov 2014

Olfactory Aversive Conditioning during Sleep Reduces Cigarette-Smoking Behavior
According to a study titled ‘Olfactory Aversive Conditioning during sleep Reduces Cigarette-Smoking Behavior’, that was carried out by Anat Arzi, Yael Holtzman, Perry Samnon, Edo Harel and Noam Sobel of Weizmann Institute of Science, Department of Neurobiology in Rehovot, Israel, a single night of olfactory aversive conditioning during sleep significantly reduced cigarette smoking behavior. Sleep is highly beneficial for the memory and learning with the consolidation and reactivation of memories (Arzi et al., 2014). It can be useful in dealing with unwanted behavior. The main purpose of the study was to test whether implicit associative learning during a person’s sleep can alter the long-term ensuing behavior and, therefore, the olfactory aversive conditioning was applied to sleeping smokers. The smell of cigarettes and aversive odors during sleep were paired for over seven days. Cigarette smoking was identified to provide a recurring behavior, and that made it easy for the researchers to monitor any behavioral change over time. That was one of the study’s greatest strengths. About 76 otherwise healthy smokers who wished to quit smoking participated in the research. The study aimed to enable a comparison of the sniff response between sleep and use the odor to influence the learning, which gets influenced by the brain during sleep. The procedure involved each subject completing a smoking diary and on the experimental night in their sleep, unpleasant odors would be reinforced. Cigarette filters in the test were neutralized of the smoke odor and had a different odor induced through a simple chemical process.
Aversion therapy is based primarily on the principle of conditioning, which is a process of behavioral modification in which the subject associates a desired behavior with a previously unrelated stimulus. In the study explained above, classical conditioning and contingency principles were incorporated.
Classical conditioning is learning that ensues when a neutral stimulus is continually paired with another unconditioned stimulus with the same power. In the test, absolving the cigarette odor from the used filter, and the use of a different odor was the main point that influenced the learning. Contingency is the degree to which the reliability signals are going to be presented. The limited information that is given to the patients and the consistency of the test and administration of the odor influenced the subjects more precisely and influenced the learning after seven days. The test was a counterconditioning technique whereby the cigarette filters were available only that the odor was neutralized, and a different odor induced. The fear-evoking stimuli of cigarette odor were made ineffective in this case and therefore lost their significance and thus aided in the therapy.
Aversive therapy is effective in dealing with unwanted behavior as far as the results of the study are concerned because, over time, it diminishes the habit of smoking. Also, its involvement with the brain and sensory and not necessarily the physical aspects of the body is another effective quality of the therapy. Problematic or unwanted behavior is sometimes under the control of variables to which therapists do not have ready access and ideally, the cognitive effects of aversive therapy act effectively (Sheldon, 2011). Classical conditioning is, therefore, useful for behavioral change and quite harmless to the individual and does not require any compelling and involuntary commitments. That makes it a good alternative for victims who have resisted or felt uncomfortable with other forms of therapy.
Aversive therapy also exhibits some disadvantages and weaknesses. There are modern day unwanted behavioral problems that may require a more complex approach that go beyond understanding the cognitive factors (Weiten, Dunn, & Hammer, 2011). First, there are doubts about the therapy’s long-term effectiveness and from earlier researchers; it is believed that some of the victims treated got back to their old behavior afterward. Ethical concerns have been raised in some instances concerning aversive therapy, which has been inconveniencing or undermining to a group or the subjects (Eysenck, 2013).
In general, aversive therapy works, and only more research will improve its certainty and effectiveness (Hadley, 2012).


Arzi, A., Holtzman, Y., Samnon, P., Eshel, N., Harel, E., & Sobel, N. (2014). Olfactory Aversive Conditioning during Sleep Reduces Cigarette-Smoking Behavior. The Journal of neuroscience, 34(46), 15382-15392. Retrieved from http://www.weizmann-usa.org/docs/default-source/article-pdfs/the-journal-of-neuroscience_11-12-14.pdf?sfvrsn=2
Eysenck, H. J. (Ed.). (2013). Experiments in Behavior Therapy. New York: Pergamon Press Ltd.
Hadley, N. H. (2012). Foundations of Aversion Therapy. Lancaster, England: Spectrum Publications Inc.
Pastorino, E., & Doyle-Portillo, S. (2011). What is Psychology? Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.
Sheldon, B. (2011). Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: Research and Practice in Health and Social Care (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.
Weiten, W., Dunn, D., & Hammer, E. (2011). Psychology Applied to Modern Life: Adjustment in the 21st Century. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

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Aversion Therapy Essay Example. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/aversion-therapy-essay-example/. Published Nov 18, 2020. Accessed March 02, 2024.

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