GCSE Psychology Topic D

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1 GCSE Psychology Topic D Why do we have phobias? 1) Classical conditioning and phobias Classical conditioning A learning process which builds up an association between the two stimuli through repeated pairings. Association The link between the neutral stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus that make the neutral stimulus cause the same response. Generalisation When a conditioned response is produced to stimuli that are similar to the conditioned stimulus. Phobia Extinction An intense fear that prevents normal living in some way. The loss of a classically conditioned response when the conditioned stimulus is repeated many times without the unconditioned stimulus. Classical conditioning and phobias revision notes: Pavlov was studying eating in dogs by measuring their saliva. He noticed that some of the dogs started to salivate (a response) before their food arrived. He thought this was because they could hear the footsteps (a stimulus) of the person carrying the food. Pavlov tested his idea using a dog that had a tube through its cheek to measure its saliva. First he rang a bell it didn t salivate. Then he rang the bell and gave the dog some food. This was the conditioning process which, after being repeated many times leads to the dog salivating at the sound of the bell alone. The dog had learned to associate the bell and the food it had become conditioned to salivate to the bell. This process has become known as classical or Pavlovian conditioning. Learning happens in this way because an association forms between the neutral stimulus (NS) and the unconditioned stimulus (UCS). It usually takes many pairings or trials. During these pairings the neutral stimulus (NS) becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS) which can cause a conditioned response (CR).

2 With regard to phobias if a real fear is triggered by something when a harmless stimulus is present, an association may be made between the two things. This can cause a phobia. E.g. a little girl is playing on the beach in shallow water. She catches her flip-flop on a stone, trips, and hurts herself. Her dad picks her up but she is wet and frightened. When the girl gets home she is afraid of taking a bath because she has generalized her fear of the sea to a fear of all water. Task 1: Complete the following flow chart Before conditioning NS (water) UCS ( ) UCR During conditioning: NS (water) + UCS (UC ) After conditioning: ( ) (CR) Watson and Raynor (1920) conditioned Little Albert to be phobic of a white rat. Each time a white rat was shown to Albert, a loud noise was made with a steal bar behind him. The noise frightened him and he associated his fear with the rat. Albert s fear generalisaed to other white, fluffy things such as cotton wool and a Father Christmas mask. Conditioned responses often take many trials to learn but if the conditioned stimulus is repeated many times without the unconditioned stimulus, the conditioned response is lost. This is called extinction. However, extinction doesn t happen very easily. Once a phobia has been learned, it is very hard to lose. e.g. if a child gets bitten by a dog, they might become afraid of dogs. Even though dogs don t often bite and the child is never bitten again, it may be hard to overcome the fear. Phobias are generally learned from one event this is called one-trial learning. e.g. a person may be afraid of driving after having one bad car accident. Task 2: When Lola was younger she had a little puppy. Lola s puppy was obsessed with buttons. When Lola used to button up her coat the dog used to jump up and try and bite the buttons. A couple of times Lola s hand got bitten. To this day she is afraid of buttons! Name the: UCS = UCR = NS = CS = CR = Task 3: Jimmy visited the zoo and was looking at the elephants. One of his mates came up behind him and creamed in his ear. Since then Jimmy has been petrified of elephants. Use classical conditioning to explain Jimmy s fear of elephants.

3 2) Social learning theory and phobias Key terminology: Vicarious reinforcement Learning through the positive consequences of other people s actions rather than first-hand we are more likely to copy if they are rewarded. Modelling Imitating the behaviour of someone. Revision notes: SLT involves gaining new behaviours by watching n imitating a role model same-sex role models are more likely to be imitated. If the role model is rewarded then the observer is more likely to imitate them vicarious reinforcement. o ATTENTION (IDENTIFICATION) o MEMORY o REPRODUCTION o MOTIVATION = VICARIOUS REINFORCEMENT Animals also learn from observing each other e.g. Coombes et al 91980) let two rats drink from a spout. One rat had been given an injection to make it sick so later both rats avoided drinking from the spout. The rat which hadn t been sick had learned not to drink from the spout because it had seen the other rat being sick. Learning to avoid something unpleasant is similar to learning a fear. Social learning applies to emotions as well as behaviours. Mineka et al (1984) found that their laboratory monkeys that had grown up in the wild were afraid of snakes. The ones born in captivity were not afraid. The lab-born monkeys learned to be afraid of snakes through watching the wild-born monkeys being afraid of snakes. This shows that the fear of snakes can be through social learning. When blackbirds see a predator they give a warning call. Curio (1988) showed that social learning could explain how blackbirds could learn to give predator alarms to a non-predator. Why do phobias sometimes run in families? Children could be observing and imitating their parents fears. e.g. if parents are anxious about dentists, so are their children. Task 4: Ellie has a fear of fur. Every time she s near it she cries, gets very anxious until her mother comforts her. Ellie s younger brother Scott also has a fear of fur.

4 How can vicarious learning explain Scott s fear? Identify the four steps explaining Scott s fear using SLT Can you also explain Scott s fear using preparedness? Task 5: Answer the following exam style question: Ben is a toddler in nursery. He bites other children and gets their toys. Other children see this and start biting other children. Use SLT to explain why this happens. 3) Phobias and preparedness Key terminology: Preparedness The tendency to learn some associations more easily, quickly and permanently than others. Revision notes: According to the theory of evolution, if two animals were living in a forest and encountered a forest fire, the one who ran away would be more likely to survive. This shows some behaviours are adaptive and being fearful can be useful. In this example, fear makes sense because fires are deadly. Sometimes we have irrational fears of objects or situations that are not dangerous. We learn links between some things more easily than others, as evolution has prepared us to learn about things that are threatening.

5 Many phobias are not random people are afraid of thunder because being struck by lightning was a real risk for early humans. This explains why some phobias are more common than others. e.g. we are more likely to be scared of snakes (could have been a predator) than clothes. One-trial learning learning to be afraid of something dangerous immediately will keep you alive. Task 6: According to the idea of preparedness, write in the box on the right which objects a child would be more likely to be afraid of: Item More afraid of? Why? rat dog slugs car houses bikes Task 7: Rokib was carrying out a survey investigating phobias in his school. He found the following results: 2 people afraid of the cotton buds 12 people afraid of dogs 1 person afraid of balloons 1 person afraid of flying Describe how preparedness would explain his set of results Why can t preparedness explain all of the phobias found in Rokib s survey? Identify an alternative way of explaining the fear of balloons, and explain how that person may have got that phobia 4) The nature-nurture debate Key terminology: Nature What we are born with. Nurture What we learn from the way we are raised. Revision notes: Nature genes can control some physical features but control by single genes doesn t happen with psychological characteristics as far as we know. Many genes act together to affect our development.

6 Parents with phobias may have children with phobias because they pass on genes that make them more prepared to be afraid. Nurture do our experiences and our opportunities to learn make us who we are? SLT says that our behaviour changes because we observe models in or environment. Classical conditioning says we learn by associating two stimuli that are repeated together. A tendency to learn phobias might be genetic as people evolve those who have inherited the ability to learn to avoid danger would be more likely to survive. SLT would say that if a parent has a phobia, the child will see the way the parent behaves as they are role models to their children. Children will observe and imitate the fear displayed by their parents. Evidence for the nature argument Preparedness there is a genetic influence on the kinds of things we learn to fear. Bennett-Levy and Marteau showed that more people are afraid of animals with certain characteristics. Slater and Shield (1969) found that identical twins were more similar in their phobias than nonidentical twins. Evidence for the nurture argument Mineka et al (1984) found that monkeys learn fears through social learning. As monkeys and people are very similar, it is likely that we can learn fears too. Watson and Raynor (1920) used classical conditioning to make Little Albert frightened of a white rat. This shows the environment can produce phobias. What does the above evidence tell us? Both nature and nurture seem to be important. They may even act together. Parents may pass on genes that make their children more likely to learn to be afraid. Task 8: Answer the following exam style question: Several dogs live on the same street as Muhammed and Aisha, who are both phobic of dogs. Every time they are approached by a dog (even a friendly one) they become hysterical. Muhammed and Aisha have three children who are also dog phobic. Explain why Muhammed and Aisha s children have a phobia of dogs using the nature argument. Explain why Muhammed and Aisha s children have a phobia of dogs using the nurture argument.

7 5) Questionnaires Key terminology: Questionnaires Open (-ended) question Closed question Likert-style question Rank-style question Standardised instructions Response bias Social desirability bias A research method using written questions. Question that asks for description and detail. Simple question with few possible answers. Question using statements with five choices from strongly agree to strongly disagree. Question with points either in order that can be chosen or that can be put in order. Guidance for participants that is the same for everyone. The patterns that participants fall into when answering a questionnaire, for example always saying yes or trying to guess the aim. When participants give the answers they think will be acceptable to other people, to make themselves look better. Revision notes: Questionnaires are sets of questions that are written down and given to participants to answer. They involve 3 types of questions: Closed questions these have a fixed number of possible answers, and participants often just tick a box. E.g. are you afraid of spiders? Yes/No Open questions these ask for more detailed answers, participants are asked for a description. E.g. how do you feel when you see a spider? Rank-style questions these ask the participant to say how much more or less things are. E.g. give each animal a number from 1 (most scary) to 4 (least scary): Cat, Fish, Spider, and Hamster. Likert style questions - these are a type of rank question that gives a statement and you have to say whether you agree/disagree. Task 9: Complete the box below containing strengths and weaknesses of questionnaires. Strengths of Questionnaires Weaknesses of Questionnaires Can use standardised instructions: meaning Response biases means This happens due to Allow for informed consent: because Social desirability biases means This happens due to

8 Allow for the right to withdraw: because Deception is a problem because you need to hide the aims due to Can be valid represent real life when Task 10: You have been asked to investigate the eating habits of those in your psychology class. Give two examples of each type of question you would ask on your questionnaire: Closed question 1) 2) Open question 1) 2) Rank-style question 1) 2) Likert-style question 1) 2) 6) Ethical Issues Experiments using animals When experimenting with animals it is important to consider the following ethical issues: minimising the amount of pain and fear caused, avoiding social isolation, using the smallest number of animals possible and using a species that will suffer the least. When absolutely essential, only cause minimum pain and fear possible. Making social animals (dogs, rate, monkeys) be on their own may cause them distress, so time kept alone should be kept to a minimum. Need to use only as few animals as they can. Different species find different things distressing. E.g. A social animal will find social isolation more distressing than an animal that lives alone. Revision notes: Strengths of animal experiments Humans and animals are similar Animal behaviour is often simpler than human behaviour Can use animals for experiments involving deprivation Weaknesses of animal experiments Although humans and animals are similar, there are important differences, e.g. humans have bigger brains and are more complex.

9 as humans are not likely to volunteer Interesting to find out about animals behaviour, regardless of whether it is useful for understanding people Task 11: Jamila wants to carry out an experiment to find out if large doses caffeine affect behaviour. She plans to use 12 dogs. One group of 6 will be caged and fed caffeine over 3 days, while the other group will be fed water over 3 days. She plans to observe and record their behaviour and compare. Explain any ethical or practical issues you can think of with this experiment: Jones (1924): Curing a boy s phobia Aim: To investigate whether a phobia in a little boy could be deconditioned and whether this would generalize to other objects. KEY STUDY Procedure: Peter was 2yrs 10mths old when Jones started the observations. She watched Peter playing with beads in his cot while the experimenter showed him a white rat. Peter screamed and moved away. When the rat touched Peter s beads he protested but didn t when another child touched his beads. Next day Peter s reaction to different objects was observed which showed that his fear of the rat had generalized to other objects. Peter was also shown a rabbit and was more afraid of this than the rat so a rabbit was used for deconditioning. The therapy: Cover used both CLASSICAL CONDITIONING & SOCIAL LEARNING THEORY to help cure Peter s phobia. Cover developed a TOLERANCE SERIES whereby Peter would gradually get closer to the rabbit. Food gave Peter pleasure and he felt relaxed (UCS (food) UCR (pleasure)) As he took steps to moving along the tolerance series he was given food. Cover was aiming to get Peter to ASSOCIATE pleasure with the rabbit. She was trying to use classical conditioning to reverse the phobia. Peter also had daily play sessions with 3 children and the rabbit (the others weren t scared of the rabbit). He saw the other children being happy around the rabbit, and being praised. (SLT) New situations were used to get Peter closer to the rabbit. Results: The changes in Peter s behaviour were not steady or continuous or equally spaced in time (see graph below). Peter s behaviour improved and worsened e.g. when he was scratched by the rabbit. The tolerance series were created by six people s descriptions of the improvement in Peter s behaviour. The other children acted as role models which helped Peter move closer to the

10 rabbit. He also lost his fear of cotton, the coat and feathers. He also accepted new animals such as frogs, worms and a mouse. Conclusion: Both classical conditioning and social learning helped to decondition Peter. The deconditioning also reduced generalized fears and helped Peter to cope with new animals. Evaluation: Strengths: Detailed observations over a long period. These showed Peter s progress. Jones asked other people to order the tolerance series so avoided bias. Used different ways to help Peter. Weaknesses: The gaps between sessions were variable so progress could be due to time rather than deconditioning. Jones used two different techniques (CC and SL), as well as other people who made Peter feel confident. This makes it difficult to tell which was most effective. Can you use GRAVE to evaluate this key study? G R A V E Task 12:Complete the following gap fill: A..: To investigate whether a.. in a little boy could be and whether this would. to other objects.

11 Procedure:.... was.. years and months old when began observing him. He was in his cot playing with An showed him a white The boy.. and was removed from the cot, leaving his.. behind. What happened when the touched his toys in the cot: What happened when another child touched his toys in the cot? What else was afraid of?.. had daily sessions with other children and a.. (which the other children were not afraid of). His reactions to the. ranged in severity. Conclusion: Both and. helped to. Peter. The also reduced. fears and helped Peter to cope with new Bennett-Levy and Marteau (1984): fear of animals Aim: To see whether we are more afraid of, or avoid, animals that move quickly, move suddenly and look very different from people. KEY STUDY Procedure: They used two questionnaires both asked questions about the same 29 animals. They were told that none of the animals were dangerous. Questionnaire 1 fear scale 1= not afraid, 3 = very afraid and nearness scale (1-5) where 1 = enjoy picking it up, and 5= move more than 2 metres away. Questionnaire 2 how the participants felt about each animal rated on a 3-point scale for each of the following ugliness, sliminess, speediness and how sudden they moved. 30 men and 34 women answered the questionnaires. Some participants were also interviewed. Results: The most feared animals were: rat, cockroach, jellyfish, spider, slug etc. Some animals were rated as more ugly and these were quite different in structure from humans. (e.g. cockroaches have antennae, spiders have 8 legs and are hairy all over). They found that people were more afraid of some animals and less likely to get near them. When interviewed, participants described ugly animals as slimy, hairy and dirty, with antennae, eyes in odd places and a strange number of legs. Men and women judged ugliness in similar ways. Women were less likely to approach many of the animals. Overall, people were less likely to approach ugly or slimy, speedy or suddenly moving animals. They were afraid of ugly, slimy, speedy or suddenly moving animals. People thought that speedy animals moved suddenly.

12 Conclusion: The features of ugliness, sliminess, speediness and sudden movement all make animals move frightening. Ugliness is judged by how different an animal is from a human. Many animals which cause phobias are ugly, slimy, speedy or sudden movers, which supports the idea that preparedness relates to an animal s features. Evaluation: Strengths Different participants answered the two questionnaires. This helped to make sure they didn t know what the study was about. They used men and women as their phobias are different, so the findings apply to both genders. The participants did not see the animals so they weren t frightened by them, thus avoiding ethical problems. The findings are useful as they can explain why fears are not always linked to actual experiences with animals. Few people are scared of rabbits yet lots of people are bitten by rabbits when they are young. This is because rabbits do not have scary features. Weaknesses The participants were told the animals were not dangerous but still many thought the rats were harmful, so the instruction was not very successful. The questionnaires only asked about 6 factors. In the interviews, the participants said other things about what makes an animal scary. Only a few people were interviewed, this should have been added to the questionnaire. Can you use GRAVE to evaluate this key study? G R A V E 7) How to treat phobias? Key terminology: Anxiety A state of fear or worry. Hierarchy of fears A list of fears that are arranged from most to least feared. Revision notes: There are a number of possible therapies for treating phobias. We look at 2: flooding and systematic desensitisation. Flooding an extreme therapy based on classical conditioning. It involves confronting your fear directly, as being near the thing you are scared of can help you overcome it. It causes anxiety to begin with, and the participant eventually starts to calm down. Participants learn to associate their fear or phobia with this feeling of relaxation. It has been criticised for not being very ethical. It is also not always effective, as far as studies have shown Systematic desensitisation is similar to flooding, but less stressful. Participant is still exposed to their fear, but it is done in a more gradual way. e.g. If someone is scared of spiders, they might first be exposed to a picture of a spider, then a video, then a toy spider, then a real spider (small), then a tarantula.

13 Hierarchy of fear for flying Situation Rating of fear Turbulence whilst on a plane High Taking off and landing Getting on the plane Checking in Moderate Getting to the airport Packing the luggage Booking the flight Looking at holidays abroad Low 8) The ethics of therapies used to treat phobias Key terminology: Distressing When a person is suffering physically or psychologically. They may feel harm, embarrassment or pain. Right to withdraw The ability of a person to remove himself or herself from the situation. Revision notes: Flooding is the most traumatic of therapies used to treat phobias because patients are forcibly exposed to their fears. They are not allowed to withdraw from the situation because this could make their phobia worse in the long run. Systematic desensitisation is less extreme than flooding because the patient has more control over when they move on to the next level. They decide if they are relaxed enough to be confronted with a more stressful situation, unlike flooding, where they cannot (it would be harmful to) withdraw at all. Both flooding and systematic desensitization are therapies that produce distress. Flooding creates an enormous amount of distress. We must also remember that patients are aware of the therapy they are undertaking, the therapies are only used for the most serious of phobias and the patients have to be clearly distressed or unable to carry on with normal activities to access these therapies. Because of the ethical issues of distress and right to withdraw, systematic desensitisation is much more popular therapy than flooding, which is rarely used today.! Remember as a psychologist all ethical guidelines must be followed at all times. Obtaining full informed consent would include letting the patient know that they will not have the right to withdraw from flooding with an explanation as to what will happen to them and why. Task 13: Robert Pattinson is afraid of horses! Design two different therapies for him to choose from if he would like to try to overcome his phobia. Remember to include ethical issues and show as a therapies which ethical guidelines you will be following.

14 9) The job of a clinical psychologist revision notes Clinical psychologists work with people who have mental health problems e.g. anxiety, depression, behavioural problems. They work with people who are stressed and distressed. They also help people with mood disorders, fears, phobias, problems in coping with a disability. They often work in a team and focus on one client. There might be community involvement and other agencies, such as social services may be involved. ClinPsycs make an assessment of a client s needs, plans interventions (putting forward a solution), trains others and research. At the end they evaluate the intervention. ClinPsycs gather as much evidence as they can through such methods as listening and discussing with clients, observations, psychometric testing and standardised testing. The solutions can involve therapy, counselling or advice. They keep a record of assessments and interventions which are kept safely to maintain confidentiality. The practicalities of being a ClinPsych may mean that they are under-funded, which make their working conditions difficult. Time with the ClinPsyc is often limited due to cost. ClinPsycs also train others or undergo research. They become chartered and have to maintain Continuing Professional Development. This is usually done online and must be up-to-date through the year addressing issues of furthering their own training and working ethically. Becoming a clinical psychologist revision notes ClinPsyc is the most popular career choice for Psyc graduates if they plan to be a psychologist. Most work for the NHS or private practises. Some work in private practice or in universities they can earn between 30,000 and 70,000 a year. You will need a degree in psychology recognised by the BPS. You will have to undertake relevant work experience. You will also need a 3 year full time doctorate course in clinical psychology. You must be able to listen, understand and reflect on the situation of others and help with solutions. You must have an understanding of diversity. You will need to learn to ask open questions. It is also useful to be able to look at yourself and your own experiences and how these affect others. Other skills include an ability to search for solutions that are not obvious, good communication skills with both clients, their families and other professionals. Clinical psychology and phobias revision notes ClinPsychs use a range of methods to treat phobias. This booklet has already explained flooding and systematic desensitisation but there are others. Hypnotherapy This involves helping the client to get into a relaxed state, called an altered state of awareness. In this state, they are not concerned by everyday problems but can instead have a heightened sense of awareness where they can accept suggestions from the hypnotherapist about overcoming the phobia. CBT Cognitive behavioural therapy. Cognitive means thoughts.

15 Involves identifying negative automatic thoughts and trying to replace them with less negative thoughts. Exposure-based CBT involves changing the client s thinking patterns as well as lowering the fear response to the situations that are feared. Psychodynamic-based therapies These are not often used by ClinPsycs as they feel that the psychodynamic theory is not scientifically tested and should not be used as a therapy. 10) Culture and phobias Key terminology: Custom A longstanding practice of a particular group of people. Tradition A practice that has been handed down through generations. Social norm A behaviour or belief that is expected and accepted in a particular culture. Collectivist Describes a culture that encourages group dependence, cooperation and group identity, e.g. Japan. People rely on each other to achieve together. Individualistic Describes a culture that encourages independence, personal achievement, competition and individuality. E.g. the USA. Heinrichs et al (2005): Cultural differences in fears Social anxiety is a fear someone has of social situations they might worry about meeting people, public speaking, being watched, being teased. KEY STUDY Heinrichs thought that people in a collectivist countries might suffer greater social anxiety, because if people in collectivist countries break a social norm, they will experience greater punishment (as the behaviour of individuals affects the whole group) which in turn makes them more anxious. Aim: To see if being brought up in different cultures affected social anxiety and fear of blushing. Procedure: 909 university students were the pps (they volunteered). They were from 8 different universities in 8 different countries.they were divided into two groups collectivist or individualist cultures, based on the cultures they lived in. They were shown a short description of a social situation and asked to say how they would react. If the participants said they would speak up, this would be a low social anxiety answer. If they said they would do nothing, this was a high social anxiety answer. They also completed a social anxiety and blushing questionnaire which measured their individual fear of social situations and interaction with other people and their fear of embarrassment. Results: Participants from collectivist cultures often responded to the descriptions in a way that showed high social anxiety they gave answers that avoided public interaction or speaking. They were also more fearful of blushing.

16 Highest Social Anxiety Lowest Social Anxiety Japan Korea Spain USA Canada Australia The Netherlands Germany Conclusions: Collectivist cultures show greater social anxiety and fear of blushing than individualistic cultures. People in collectivist cultures will hold back through fear of letting the group down if they are wrong. Social norms are important for collectivist cultures as the behaviour of an individual affects the whole group. In individualistic cultures it is important to stand out from the crowd and shyness could actually be a burden. The nature-nurture debate This study relates to the development of fears and phobias. It is clear that phobias of snakes and spiders probably originate from classical conditioning or evolutionary preparedness, this study suggests a link to culture. Culture determines how we think and act; family and friends teach us social norms. Culture can make us confident or anxious in social situations this supports the nurture side of the debate. Task 14: After reading Heinrichs study answer the following questions: 1. Would you expect social anxiety to be higher or lower in China? 2. Why? 3. What was Heinrich s independent variable? 4. What was the dependent variable? 5. How did he measure the dependent variable? 6. Which experimental design did they use? 7. Which type of research method was used? 8. Is this study RELIABLE? Why? 9. Does this study have useful applications? Why? 10. Is this type of data considered valid? Why? 11. One strength of this study is that it is ethical. Can you explain why?

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