Fundamentals_of_Abnormal_Psychology_6e_Ch04

121009 111615 am chapter 4 university of st andrewspa

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: taught to fear objects ComFun6e_Ch04_C!.indd 109 •social phobia•A severe and persistent fear of social or performance situations in which embarrassment may occur. •classical conditioning•A process of learning in which two events that repeatedly occur close together in time become tied together in a person’s mind and so produce the same response. •modeling•A process of learning in which a person observes and then imitates others. Also, a therapy approach based on the same principle. •stimulus generalization•A phenom- enon in which responses to one stimulus are also produced by similar stimuli. 12/10/09 11:16:15 AM ://CHAPTER 4 University of St Andrews/PA Wire 110 Monkey see, monkey do? A chimpanzee interacts with and models behaviors for her young offspring. Although humans may acquire phobias by either classical conditioning or modeling, research indicates that chimpanzees are more likely to acquire such fears (or other kinds of behaviors and reactions) through modeling. through classical conditioning (Miller, 1948; Mowrer, 1947, 1939). In one famous report, psychologists John B.Watson and Rosalie Rayner (1920) described how they taught a baby boy called Little Albert to fear white rats. For weeks Albert was allowed to play with a white rat and appeared to enjoy doing so. One time when Albert reached for the rat, however, the experimenter struck a steel bar with a hammer, making a very loud noise that frightened Albert. The next several times that Albert reached for the rat, the experimenter again made the loud noise. Albert acquired a fear and avoidance response to the rat. Research has also supported the behavioral position that fears can be acquired through modeling. Psychologists Albert Bandura and Theodore Rosenthal (1966), for example, had human research participants observe a person apparently being shocked by electricity whenever a buzzer sounded.The victim was actually the experimenter’s accomplice—in research terminology, a confederate—who pretended to experience pain by twitching and yelling whenever the buzzer went on. After the unsuspecting participants had observed several such episodes, they themselves experienced a fear reaction whenever they heard the buzzer. Although these studies support behaviorists’ explanations of phobias, other research has called those explanations into question (Ressler & Davis, 2003). Several laboratory studies with children and adults have failed to condition fear reactions. In addition, although most case studies trace phobias to incidents of classical conditioning or modeling, quite a few fail to do so. So, although it appears that a phobia can be acquired by classical conditioning or modeling, researchers have not established that the disorder is ordinarily acquired in this way. A Behavioral-Evolutionary Explanation Some phobias are much more common than others. Phobic reactions to animals, heights, and darkness are more common than phobic reactions to meat, grass, and houses. Theori...
View Full Document

Ask a homework question - tutors are online