3223 Extinction and Spontaneous Recovery When a conditioned stimulus is

3223 extinction and spontaneous recovery when a

This preview shows page 108 - 110 out of 261 pages.

require that these limits be exceeded, extreme stress may be induced. 3.2.2.3 Extinction and Spontaneous Recovery When a conditioned stimulus is repeatedly presented but is never followed by the unconditioned stimulus with which it was formerly associated, its ability to elicit conditioned response gradually decreases, and may fade completely. This phenomenon is known as extinction. But if the same extinguished stimulus is then presented again at a later time, its capacity to evoke the response is found to reappear. This phenomenon is termed spontaneous recovery. Extinction of conditioned response is also very important for the development of normal personality. If we lack some mechanism for getting rid of useless reactions to stimuli which no longer serve as reliable cues for the occurrence of such events, we would become a walking bundle of useless conditioned responses. 3.2.3 Principles of Behaviour Modification The principles of classical conditioning are found to be very useful for the modification of behaviour The principles of classical conditioning have also been applied in the treatment of neurosis and phobias. Rather than focusing on the root of the problem like a traditional psychopathologist, a behaviourist could focus on eliminating the symptom by bringing classical conditioning into play. By reinforcing the extinction of the symptom, the psychopathological illness of the patient could be eliminated (Schwartz & Lacy, 1982). For example, the therapeutic technique, known as flooding which is used to treat phobias relies on the principles of extinction. Systematic desensitisation is still another important technique successfully in dealing with a wide range of mal-adaptive behaviours, including examination anxiety, phobias, nightmares, stuttering, depression, obsession, impotence, and anorexia nervosa, based on the principles of extinction 3.2.4 Process of Behaviour Modification The process of classical conditioning was also found useful for treating alcoholism and nicotine addiction. According to Pavlovian principles, addiction occurs
Image of page 108
45 Learning Thoery of Personality (Pavlov and Skinner) because of both the pleasurable physiological effects of nicotine and alcohol, unconditioned stimuli, and the taste of nicotine and alcohol, conditioned stimuli. When one stops ingesting the substance, as in traditional treatment procedures, it is extremely easy to become addicted again. After all, “simply not presenting a conditioned stimulus does not eliminate the relation between it and the unconditioned stimuli” (Schwartz & Lacy, 1982). With just one use, the taste and unconditioned pleasurable effects become associated with each other again. However, if the taste of nicotine or alcohol, the conditioned response, is paired with a new unpleasant effect such as nausea and vomiting, the result will be a negative aversion to the substances in question.
Image of page 109
Image of page 110

You've reached the end of your free preview.

Want to read all 261 pages?

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture