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DISORDERS
a.
b.
c.
G543
Clinical Characteristics
Explanations
Treatments
HEALTH & CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY
3. Treatments for Phobia
a.
b.
c.
Biological: Ohman
Behavioural: Watson & Rayner
Cognitive: DiNardo
EXAM STYLE QUESTIONS (ESQ)
Treatments
BIOLOGICAL
June 2010
a. Outline how the biological approach would explain one of the following disorders:
affective, anxiety, psychotic. (10 marks)
b. Evaluate the explanations of the disorder you referred to in part (a). (15 marks)
BEHAVIOURAL
January 2011
a. Outline a behavioural explanation of one disorder (affective, anxiety or psychotic). (10
marks)
b. Compare explanations of the disorder you referred to in part (a). (15 marks)
COGNTIVE
Example
a. How might cognitive psychologists explain phobia? [10]
b. Assess the appropriateness of different explanations of phobia [15]
Resources:
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Information Booklet
PowerPoint
Essay Help Booklet
Exam Style Questions (ESQ)
Activity 1
Worksheet 1: KEY WORDS

Complete the key terms related to this topic

You can use the resources and internet to help

Each definition should be at least two sentences long
You should use these terms where appropriate in your
essays

Activity 2
Worksheet 2: Summary Notes
Complete summary notes for each section
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a.
b.
c.
Biological Approach
Behavioural Perspective
Cognitive Approach
You can use the resources and internet to help
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Biological Approach
Biological Approach
Explanation
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Disorders have a biological cause
Mental disorders are the same as physical disorders
Genetics: Families are pre-disposed
Evolution: Phobia has an evolutionary purpose (biological
preparedness)
Mental disorders can be treated in the same way as
physical disorders e.g. drugs, surgery
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Biological explanations of
PHOBIAS - Evolution
The Theory - Biological Preparedness Seligman (1971) Fear of harmful animals and
situations would provide an evolutionary advantage and therefore be passed on by
natural selection.
The Evidence – Most people rate as most fearful those animals which move
unpredictably and are slimy.
Cook & Mineka (1990) found it easier to condition monkeys to fear toy snakes than
cuddly teddies.
Ohman (1996) found it easier to condition
than flowers.
humans to fear snakes rather
Biological explanations of
PHOBIAS - Genetics
Theory – Genetics could explain why some individuals inherit the condition. Specific (but
not Social) phobias seem to run in families to some existent but this behaviour could be
learnt by imitation.
Twin Studies could separate nature from nurture. Shields & Slater (1969)
showed concordance rates of MZ (identical) twins to be higher (49%) than
that of DZ (fraternal) twins (4%). Only 45 pairs of twins!
Evaluation: Concordance rate would have to be 100% if entirely
genetic. Also identical twins could be emotionally closer than nonidentical.
Biological Approach
Evaluation of Explanation
These theories are all compatible and are supported by
evidence but …
• The evidence is subject to alternate explanations and can be criticised methodologically
(lack ecological validity etc)
• The theory does not explain why individual people develop a phobia of particular
objects / situations.
• Does not work so well with Social Phobias and Agoraphobia – what is the evolutionary
advantage?
• However it does explain why phobias persist even when unhelpful, evolution need
thousands of years to work.
2a. Summary Questions: BIOLOGICAL
OHMAN, 1975
Aims
Method & Procedures
What was the aim of this study?
What research method was used in this
study?
What type of design was used?
What is the DV? What measurements were
taken?
What happened to the experimental
groups?
What happened in the control group?
What happened?
Background
What would evolutionary psychology
predict?
What is at the heart of human behaviour?
Sample
Results
What are the details of the sample?
Total sample, age range
Outline the skin conductance
rates between the groups.
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Behavioural Perspective
Behavioural Perspective
Explanations
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Classical Conditioning (CC)
 Association
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Operant Conditioning (OC)
 Reward/Punishment
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Social Learning Theory (SLT)
 Observation
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Behavioural Study: Watson & Rayner (1920)
Condition Emotional Reaction
Little Albert
Behavioural Perspective Classical
Conditioning
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•
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Association
UCS
NS
UCR
CS
CR
Behavioural explanations of PHOBIAS
1
– Classical Conditioning
The Theory – Watson (1920) claimed that most emotional responses including fear of
objects are learnt by C.C.
The Evidence – He demonstrated a “rat phobia” in little Albert by
pairing a loud bang (UCS) with a white rat (CS) the fear response was
generalised to similar stimuli – ??
Evaluation – Does not show that “real life” phobias happen this way. DiNardo (1988)
found over half of “dog phobic's” could recall being bitten (but what about the rest?) but
over half of those who reported been bitten did not go onto develop a phobia of dogs.
Behavioural explanations of PHOBIAS
3 – Social Learning Theory
Bandura (1986) showed that modelling and observational learning provides a better
explanation for many behaviours.
Mineka (1984) found that monkeys could develop snake phobias just by watching another
monkeys fear.
Could explain children learning to fear some objects from their parents or role models but
in most cases of phobias there is little evidence of this.
Despite this emphasis on behaviour to understand
phobias in humans we need to what is going on their
minds.
Behavioural Explanation
Evaluation
Strengths
 Operationalised concepts
 Falsifiable
 Importance of rewards
supported by research
 Individual differences
 Selective reinforcement
 Context dependent learning
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Effects of direct and indirect
reinforcement
Cognitive factors
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Social influence
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Gender and cultural differences
Limitations
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Non-human animal research
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At best a partial account
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Emotions, expectations, higher
level motivation not included
Reductionist, prevents
investigating other explanations
Determinist, encourage lack of
personal responsibility
Other factors
Reinforcements not sufficiently
consistent
2a. Summary Questions: BEHAVIOURAL
WATSON & RAYNER, 1920
Aims
What were the four aims of Watson
and Rayner’s research on Little
Albert?
Background
What did Watson & Rayner want to find
out about?
What theory did Watson and Rayner
support?
Sample
What are the details of the
sample?
Method & Procedures
What research method was used in this study?
Identify the conditioned and unconditioned
stimulus and the conditioned and unconditioned
response?
What happened?
What is meant by the term generalization in this
study?
Results
What happened in the first few weeks?
What other objects was the phobia
transferred to?
How was Albert calmed down?
Why were Watson and Rayner unable
to test the last question?
2b. Summary Information: BEHAVIOURAL
WATSON & RAYNER, 1920
Aim
To see if a conditioned fear response could be
created in a previously normal child by using classical
conditioning. Would the fear transfer to other objects
and what would happen over time? Could the fear
later be removed?
Background
Watson & Rayner wanted to find out how simple
emotional responses in childhood such as fear, rage,
and love became the more complete adult range of
behaviours and believed that classical conditioning
had role to play.
Sample
A nine-month-old child, Albert, who has was the son of
a wet-nurse employed at the hospital where Watson
worked. He was described as ‘stolid’ which means
calm and unemotional.
2b. Summary Information: BEHAVIOURAL
WATSON & RAYNER, 1920
Method
A controlled experiment conducted as a case study.
Procedure
First fear response was discovered in Albert which was the
sound of a mental bar being struck close to the child. Then
this feared sound was paired with the presentation of a
white rate which the child had previously played happily
with. This process was repeated over approximately six
weeks with variations.
Results &
Conclusion
Within the first week, Albert showed fear towards the rate
and this got worse over seven session so that just the rat with
no noise produced a strong response. The fear then
transferred to a rabbit, a dog, a seal-fur coat, some cotton
wool, Watson’s hair and a Santa Claus mask to varying
degrees. Building blocks were used as a neutral stimulus and
they had the effect of calming Albert between the stressful
presentations. He was removed from the hospital before
they could test whether they could remove the fear.
Cognitive Approach
Cognitive explanations of PHOBIAS
Cognitive Bias
(Beck 1985)
The Emotions we feel are the result of our interpretations of our experiences according to
our existing SCHEMAS.
Phobic's are likely to
i)
over exaggerate the negative consequences
It’s poisonous !
ii) under estimate their ability to cope.
I can’t escape !
iii) show “Catastrophic Misinterpretation”
I’m going to die !
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Cognitive explanations of PHOBIAS
Evaluation
Better at explaining how phobias are maintained than how and why they appeared in
the first place.
Can be applied to Social Phobia and Agoraphobia because
of the emphasis on negative thinking about expectations.
Treatments based on this approach (eg: cognitive
restructuring) have proved to be very effective.
Combined with the two process theory this provides best explanation
yet but still weak on why some people develop phobias when others
in similar situations do not.
They will all
laugh at me!
2c.Summary Questions: COGNITIVE
DiNardo, 1998
Aims
Method & Procedures
What was the aim of this study?
What research method was used in this
study?
What was were administered to each
group?
What happened?
How was data collected?
Background
What did DiNardo want to find?
Sample
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What are the details of the
sample? Total sample, average
age
How many had GAD?
Results
•What was the top symptom
suffered by most patients?
•What did GAD patients report?
2c.Summary Questions: COGNITIVE
DiNardo, 1998
Aim
To see if excessive worry was a reliable symptom of
Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and could be
included in the revision of the DSM-III to version IV.
Background
When the diagnostic systems are revised, a lot of debate
takes place over the experimental evidence available to
include particular symptoms which will reliably distinguish
one disorder from another. DiNardo wanted to find
additional reliability for the inclusion of excessive worry in
GAD.
The total sample was 145 patients, of whom 53 had GAD.
Sample
2c.Summary Questions: COGNITIVE
DiNardo, 1998
Method/
Procedure
This was a quasi-experiment on patients attending one of
three clinics in Eastern USA. Two independent interviews
were administered to each patient using the Anxiety
Disorders Interview Schedule or the Structured Clinical
Interview for DSM-III-R. Where interviewers agreed on a
diagnosis of GAD after the interviews, correlation
coefficients were calculated for reliability of agreement of
the patient’s symptoms across the three clinics. The answers
to two questions about excessive worry were separately
examined.
Results &
Conclusion
The top symptoms suffered by most patients across the three
clinics were irritability, tension fatigue and feeling keyed up,
GAD patients reported worry during a significantly higher
percentage of the day (59.1%) than non-GAD patients
(41.7%). Very few people with GAD said they did not
worry excessively about minor matters.
Activity 3
Worksheet 3: Evaluation
Part 1: Evaluation & Debates
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* Write/type up your responses. Elaborate your responses fully.
Part 2: EVALUATION GRID
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3a. Evaluation Questions: BIOLOGICAL
 Identify strengths and weakness of the biological
explanation for phobia
 Is the sample in Ohman’s study representative?
 Evaluate the research method used?
 Is there any other support for this approach (other research)?
 s there an alternative way to explain phobia?
 Is there any other support for this approach?
 Is there an alternative way to explain phobia?
 Explain whether this fits in with the situational or individual
debate?
3a. Debate Questions: BIOLOGICAL
Nature/nurture debate. Contrast this study
with Waston & Rayner’s study of Little Albert.
Usefulness – the study offers the possibility of
providing an experimental means of testing
different methods of treatment.
Reductionism
3a. Evaluation & Debates: BIOLOGICAL
There is a strong expectancy effect here with the control
group showing a strong response with no shock being
given. If you take that away from the response of the
experimental group, the results are less impressive. The
method is reliable but probably lacks a lot of
ecological validity because it is so artificial.
Nature/nurture debate. Contrast this study with Waston &
Rayner’s study of Little Albert.
Usefulness – the study offers the possibility of providing an
experimental means of testing different methods of treatment.
3b. Evaluation Questions: BEHAVIOURAL
Identify strengths and weakness of the behavioural explanation
for phobia
Is the little Albert study by Watson & Rayner ethical? Explain your
answer
Does the behavioural approach suggest the roll of nature or
nurture as an influence for our behaviour?
Based on the behavioural approach can we explain behaviour as
dependent on the situation or the individual?
How can understanding the cause of phobia be useful?
Is there any other support for this approach?
Is there an alternative way to explain phobia?
3b. Debate Questions: BEHAVIOURAL
Does this research show the influence of nature
or nurture?
Is phobia related to individual factors or
situational factors?
Could systematic desensitization offer a cure
for phobias?
3b. Evaluation & Debates: BEHAVIOURAL
Watson justified the stress on the child by saying
sooner or later this sort of thing would happen to him in
real life.
The study showed how powerful classical conditioning
can be in explaining phobias.
Nature/Nurture debate could be used here. Watson’s work is clearly on the
nurture side of this debate. Contrast with the evolutionary perspective of
‘preparedness’
Situational vs. Dispositional explanations of behaviour could also be discussed.
Was Albert’s behaviour the results of his situation or his personality?
Usefulness – provides an explanation and through systematic desensitisation – a
cure for phobia.
3c. Evaluation Questions: COGNITIVE
Reliability?
Assess the sample?
Is the methodology used in DiNardo good?
3c. Debate Questions: COGNITIVE
Does this research offer support for the role of
nature or nurture?
Usefulness: Is this approach useful?
Ethnocentricism: Exactly what is excessive worry and
would this be defined similarly elsewhere?
Free Will vs Determinism – Are our thoughts under
conscious control?
Reductionism – How is behaviour oversimplified by
this approach?
3a. Evaluation & Debates: BIOLOGICAL
Good agreement between three samples suggest high
reliability in the method. The quasi-experimental design
is high validity. The responses to the interviews may
have shown desirability bias but they were structured.
Psychology as a science? Once again the issue of accurate
diagnosis is raised and the use of interview data opens up questions
of experimenter effects and possible bias. Ethnocentricism – exactly
what is excessive worry and would this be defined similarly
everywhere? Usefulness – it helped to find criteria that could
discriminate GAD from other anxiety disorders and contributed to
increasing the reliability of the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria.
Activity 4
Worksheet 4: Essay Plans

10 Mark Questions

15 Mark Questions
EXAM STYLE QUESTIONS (ESQ)
Treatments
BIOLOGICAL
June 2010
a. Outline how the biological approach would explain one of the following disorders:
affective, anxiety, psychotic. (10 marks)
b. Evaluate the explanations of the disorder you referred to in part (a). (15 marks)
BEHAVIOURAL
January 2011
a. Outline a behavioural explanation of one disorder (affective, anxiety or psychotic). (10
marks)
b. Compare explanations of the disorder you referred to in part (a). (15 marks)
COGNTIVE
Example
a. How might cognitive psychologists explain phobia? [10]
b. Assess the appropriateness of different explanations of phobia [15]
Biological Treatment [10]
Introduction:
Explanation:
Conclusion:
Ohman:
Behavioural Perspective [10]
Introduction:
Explanation:
Conclusion:
Watson & Rayner:
Cognitive Approach [10]
Introduction:
Explanation:
Conclusion:
DiNardo:

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