Good Report About Phobias And Addictions

Type of paper: Report

Topic: Behavior, Stimulus, Addiction, Operant Conditioning, Extinction, Time, People, Learning

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/10/21

The majority of the human race have an irrational fear or two and quite often these fears are negligible. However, these fears can become severe and are capable of causing major anxiety attacks that will interfere with the day-to-day existence of an individual. The deep fear of something that in reality results in no actual danger is referred to as a phobia. Common phobias noticed among the populations are fears of snakes, heights, needles, different races of people and sometimes even failure.
Watson (1913), was of the opinion that the process of classical conditioning, as per the observations of Pavlov, had the ability to explain all the aspects of the psychology of man. He observed that almost everything from speech to emotions was just simple patterns of stimuli and response. He believed that there was no presence of the human mind or consciousness and thus all responses are based on different learning experiences.
Learning of new responses by the process of correlation and association is what makes the classical conditioning theory relevant. It simply means two stimuli are tied together to produce a new learned response in an individual or animal. The theory involves three stages where each stage; the stimuli and responses acquire new professional and technical names.
Before Conditioning, which is the first stage, an unconditioned response (UCR), is produced by a stimulus that is not in any way conditioned by a person or an animal. That is simplified to mean that, the stimulus has been produced in an environment, and it has not been learned. It is a natural process that has not been previously taught, and no new behavior has yet been learned. Neutral stimulus (NS) is another response that has no effect on a person or animal. The neutral stimulus when applied in classical conditioning, only produces a response when paired with the unconditional response.
The second stage is known as conditioning where a neutral stimulus that does not produce any response correlates with the unconditioned stimulus. That phenomenon results in the process being known as the conditioned stimulus or simply CS. The UCS, in this stage, has to be associated with the CS for meaningful learning to take place. An exception exists where trial learning can, at certain occasions, take place when it is unnecessary for an association being reinforced over time.
In the third stage, after conditioning, the stimulus that has been conditioned mainly correlates with the similarly unconditioned response for a new response that is conditioned to be created.
Operant conditioning occurs due to the cause-and-effect relationship between the behavior and its eventual consequences to a person. Operant conditioning is based on the general use of common sense to perform some actions. The repeat of a behavior increases whenever it is being rewarded and decreases when its consequences are punishment. A behavior can become very addictive if its consequences are sweet by rewards or pleasure. We can say that, addiction is a learned behavior because the very first stages of the behavior had been rewarded with pleasure or enjoyment. Research shows that whenever a behavior is being immediately rewarded, people tend to learn it more quickly. The evidence explains why in a majority of the addiction cases, most addictive substances or activities usually replace other healthier sources of reward. The process goes on until and addiction progresses and the result are strained relationships and increased social bitterness (Skinner, 1956). An addiction cycle is created when people become more dependent on the activities that bring them pleasure. Punishing an already learned behavior has been proven to end addictions completely. Whenever there is early significant punishment, then the addiction might not happen.
The main feature of operant conditioning is reinforcement but looking at classical conditioning, we learn that it is about the correlation between stimuli and responses. Operant conditioning’s foundation is on voluntary behavior while classical conditioning’s foundation is majorly on reflexive behavior that is not voluntary. Classical conditioning involves correlating the stimuli and the correlations that result between the two. The action is then later rewarded or punished to either encourage or discourage the behavior making the theory effective to end certain behaviors among people.
Extinction can be referred to as the weakening of a conditioned response slowly over time resulting in the decrease or disappearance of the behavior. In classical conditioning, this occurs when a conditioned stimulus has stopped being put together with a stimulus that is not conditioned. In operant conditioning, the process of extinction can occur if the behavior that had been learned has ceased being strengthened or if the strengthening used is not rewarding. In classical conditioning, when a conditioned stimulus without an unconditioned stimulus has been put forward, the conditioned response eventually fades off (Skinner, 1956).
When studying classical conditioning, Pavlov (1902), found that when extinction occurs, the subject never returns to a state that has not been conditioned. After a response has been stopped, then allowing some time to pass can lead to the spontaneous recovery of the response. On operant conditioning, Skinner (1956), discovered that how a behavior is resistant to extinction is influenced by how and when the behavior had been strengthened. He also learned that a small part of the strengthening schedule had been influenced by an equally small time in reducing the chances of extinction.


Skinner, B. F. (1956). A case history in scientific method. American Psychologist, 11, 221-233.
Pavlov, I. P. (1902). The Work of the Digestive Glands. London: Griffin.
Watson, J. B. (1913). Psychology as the Behaviorist Views It. Psychological Review, 20, 158–177.

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