Traditional conditioning organized desensitization

“Use time-honored conditioning rules to explain the development of phobias, and describe how systematic desensitization can be used to conquer fears and phobias. Illustrate with examples.  This kind of essay is exploring the techniques of traditional conditioning and systematic desensitization in relation to fears and concerns. John Watson proposed that the process of classical conditioning could ”explain most aspects of human psychology”. Classical conditioning is a form of learning in which a single stimulus can be paired with one other so that the organism learns a relationship between stimuli.

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Systematic desensitization, also known as graduated exposure therapy is a type of behaviour therapy used to support overcome fears and other anxiety disorders. There are several stages of systematic desensitization: first the identity of an anxiety has to be found which encourages stimulus hierarchy. The other step is a learning of relaxation or coping ways to help them through the anxiety.

When the individual have been taught these techniques and skills, they are then utilized in the third step to react towards and overcome circumstances in the established hierarchy of fears.

The target of these steps is good for the individual to master how to cope with, and overcome the fear of the pecking order. Phobias can be acquired through classical conditioning by simply pairing a neutral stimulus with something that really triggers pain. One of the famous samples of classical health was Watson and Rayner (1920) test in which a fear response was conditioned in a young youngster known as ‘Little Albert’. The child initially revealed no anxiety about a white-colored rat. Yet , any time that Albert attended touch the creature, a researcher minted a metallic bar with a hammer making a loud sound causing Albert to weep. This partnering was repeated several times and by the end the child would weep when the rat was present with or perhaps without the noises.

Albert revealed intense fear the moment the rat arrived to view. This kind of led him to exhibit fear of other wooly animals e. g. Albert would begin to cry at any time a bunny (which was newly introduced to the experiment) went close to him. This experiment showed that time-honored conditioning can establish solid fearful reactions. This try things out also offered insight into just how some other phobias develop. This kind of experiment reveals how anxieties can form through classical health. In many cases, a single pairing of any neutral incitement and a frightening experience can cause a lasting terror. For example in the event the neutral stimulation was a dog and thefrightening experience was the subject staying bit by the dog, then the subject could maintain a lasting phobia and turn scared of dogs.

Compare a spider for example (as by using a dog may possibly confuse) to the bell in Pavlov’s time-honored conditioning style with the canines. The spider does not cause anxiety or fear in a person in a similar manner that bells do not cause dogs to salivate. Nevertheless , when the spider is associated with afearful thought that all it may nip and destroy the person; subsequently the person will gain details about to fear the spider due to irrational thought that is now quickly associated with the eyesight or even thought of spiders. The spider is actually paired with the thought that causes anxiousness and dread. Just as integrating the bell with the meals taught the dogs to salivate if they heard the bell. The sight in the spider will continue to trigger anxiety before the person can disassociate the fearful illogical thought while using sight or perhaps thought of the spider which can be done through means of graduated exposure. Phobia responses can easily remain everlasting unless the consumer is exposed to the annihilation process.

This is how systematic desensitisation comes to the forefront in the essay. Methodical desensitisation can be described as therapeutic intervention that decreases the established link between anxiety and objects or perhaps situations that are typically fear-producing. Systematic desensitisation consists of two compounds, counterconditioning and direct exposure. Counterconditioning is competing together with the response to dread e. g. deep muscle mass relaxation to sooth the. Exposure is a extinction of effect of dreaded stimulus which can be systematic very safe exposure to object of dread. Therefore Methodical desensitisation is additionally known as progressive exposure because said above. Most common concerns treated with Systematic Desensitisation include fear of public speaking, anxiety about flying, stage fright and animal phobic disorders. To demonstrate the anxiety hierarchy we will require a anxiety about injections such as.

The subject will be carefully led through this hierarchy in stage by simply stage structure. First they are shown an image of a needle, and then they will probably be taken to the waiting space of the doctors/hospital followed by the consulting place. Once the subject matter is relaxed in the talking to room, they shall be shown the needle in the distance or perhaps the health professional holding the needle and the more comfortable this issue is, the closer the needle will start to go towards them. Once the patient gets to this stage of the pecking order the fear is almost gone and the real facet of receiving the needle becomes lessfearful. In facing more strong situations and developing a integrating of relaxation with the feared object, leisure rather than anxiety becomes linked to the source of their particular anxiety.

Therefore , a gradual desensitisation occurs, with relaxation replacing alert. However , because of the potential high risk for extreme stress reactions to happen which could actually increase the terror, the approach needs to be carried out by a qualified professional. Desensitisation is an effective form of therapy. All those who have00 suffered from worries and fears now have great responses and are also now capable to resume day to day activities that may have already been previously prevented before. In 1998 Capafons, Sosa & Avero demonstrated that Systematic Desensitisation was successful in overcoming anxiety about flying. Those men at first had been taught to relax and imagine about traveling by air. After, the hierarchy pertaining to travelling by simply plane was set up and after that was provided along with the concentrate on stopping negative thoughts.

The success of the project was measured by simply self-report, interview and documenting biological elements and the twenty individuals confirmed significantly decreased fear. Systematic Desensitization can be described as slow procedure. Although, study suggests that the longer the technique takes the more effective it is. Nevertheless , it simply treats the symptoms of the disorder, not the underlying cause. By using classical health and fitness it is easy to start to see the development of phobias from connecting certain stimuli to specific responses. It is also interesting to analyze and find out about systematic desensitisation. It is successful when the is actually a learned anxiety of specific objects/situations. To conclude even though classical conditioning can be used to make clear the development of anxieties and fears it can also be cancelled out by means of systematic desensitisation.


Gleitman. L, Gross. J, Reisberg. D ”Psychology 9th edition” Norton, (London 2011)

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