Phobia's and Addiction Relating to Classical and Operant Conditioning Essay

PSY/300 General Psychology Erika Rich “Phobia’s and Addiction’s Relating to Classical and Operant Conditioning” June 7, 2010 Corey Vigdor Phobia’s with Classical Conditioning A phobia can be developed in classical conditioning when you produce a fear tactic with it. Like the example with Little Albert. At the age he was he wasn’t afraid of the rabbit, dog, or any of the other things they put in front of him. When they kept hitting the pole behind him scaring him over and over he then associated that scary sound with the object in front of him.

He also turned on anything that looked like that object. I don’t think that you are born with a phobia of anything. You have to have some sort of negative contact with a certain something to have it develop. Now on the other hand you do have those people that worry over everything and just hearing about something that is scary will trigger with them the feeling of a phobia. I know that I get scared of things that I hear about. Things like a robbery, or the end of the world, or car accidents. I fear what has never happened to me but I get scared that one day what if it does.

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When watch scary movies I start to feel that I am in the movie and that is my life. It takes me a long time to tell myself that everything is okay and that it is not my life. I try to stay away from scary movies. That example goes back from when I was a child and we watched a scary movie with my father he thought it was funny to scare us late at night. I guess he didn’t see the harm in it but to this day I still get very scared watching a scary movie. I will also tell you that when I was 27 I went to Island of Adventures Halloween Horror Night, in Orlando.

I was there for 15 minutes and was so scared that I peed on myself. That is a true story. Every one of my phobias was right there in front of me. I couldn’t handle it. That is because the scary movies that I watched as a child when my dad scared us was right there that night. Jason, Freddy Crouger and Michael Myers, also Chucky! The same feeling that I get just watching a movie thinking that I am in the movie, I was! Addiction’s with Operant Conditioning Operant condition is something that you develop over time. When we are discussing about addiction that does not happen overnight.

There are hundreds of things that you can be addicted to but they all start from that first time you did it. You felt a feeling that you liked and there for the addiction begins. I am not just talking drugs, it could be shopping, sex, texting, internet surfing. Whatever you have tried before and really liked it you become addicted. With an addiction like drugs or alcohol it is very difficult to just “say no” after you have done it for so long. A lot of people think oh if I try this once I won’t become addicted to it. They are wrong. You feel that feeling that the drug gives you and you are hooked.

I am personally scared to even try it. I know the effects that it has on you and I cannot see myself walking down that path. Alcoholism runs in my family. My mother, my grandmother and my grandfather are alcoholics. I chose a long time ago not to follow them! I will have a drink, but only when I go out somewhere like at a party. I also live by the rule of not in front of my kids. I also do not keep any alcohol in my house. If I ever came home one day from a hard day at work and opened a can of beer… I just don’t know what I would do. Therefore I don’t keep it in my house.

I would think though that this would be a more of a classical conditioning example. I watched my mother and family while I was growing up be so messed up all the time and be very abusive. I swore a long time ago that I would never put my kids through that. Addiction’s like the sex and texting or the internet I think are very minor compared to the other two that I mentioned. They are addictions and can be developed with the operant conditioning through use of time. Like I have said before people like what they like and they try it see the reward that it brings to them and they will continue to do it.

I only went on a cruise one time in my life. It was just a weekend cruise. My husband and I went in the summer of 2007. I have only been on one. I am ADDICTED!!! I do not understand why everyone is not on a cruise right now? I cannot wait until I can go back on another cruise. If you haven’t been, do yourself a favor and go! Classical vs. Operant Conditioning Classical conditioning is when you learn that one thing equals something in return. Pavlov’s dog heard the bell and then he knew it was time for food. Before he even saw the food his mouth was watering.

I have set a bedtime for my kids since they were babies, 8:00pm. That is bedtime for them in my house, at around 7:30pm they start getting sleepy and yawning. Operant conditioning is when you do something and get a reward of either positive or a negative. This sort of learning is the most common for most people who are older. When your children are babies I feel that the classical teaching is more appropriate. Operant is used for teaching, parenting and for work environments. Unfortunately the way people are is I am not doing anything unless I get some sort of reward to.

Kind of like “What is in it for me? ” That is when the whole operant comes into play. Children want money = get good grades. Adults want a promotion = great work ethics. These are just a few examples of operant. Extinction Extinction is used with classical and operant conditioning because no matter what you have learned it can be erased. You can learn a different way to be; just because you have a phobia of spiders does not mean you cannot retrain yourself to not fear them. Even with an addiction, you can simply decide to not drink, smoke, use drugs, coffee, etc and just stop.

I am not saying that it is going to be easy. As easy as it was to pick up the addiction. But it can be done. Once you wrap your brain around what you are addicted to and know that you can overcome it then poof it is extinct! My own personal story is my addiction to coffee. I wasn’t just a coffee drinker I was a COFFEE drinker! First, I do not like making my own coffee. I also do not like hot coffee, only iced. Every morning I would wake up my kids and I 20 minutes early just so I would have enough time to get to Dunkin Donuts and get my large iced vanilla coffee. I started drinking this in 1998.

My daughter was two at the time and just because I took her to Dunkin Donut’s. When I got in there I said “Let me try one of your coffees. ” The girl looked at me and said which one? At this point in time I had never drunk coffee before and didn’t know that there was a difference. I did know that I had tried my friends iced coffee a long time ago and liked it. I told her your iced coffee. She said do you want a flavor? I was like sure vanilla! That was it for me! All it took was that first one and I was hooked. I was going through a rough time with my husband at that time and I was in a really bad mood that day.

But when I took that first sip of my coffee I was all of a sudden in a GREAT mood!! I went back every day to them! I started with just one 32 oz of Iced vanilla coffee a day, and then worked my way up to three 32 oz of coffee a day. I kid you not! I was drinking three 32 oz of coffee a day and was in the best mood all day! That was my “alcohol” I guess you can say. As of July 15, 2008 I stopped drinking coffee. Yes for ten years I drank 96 oz of coffee a day. What woke me up (and this is where the extinction comes in) is I was watching a home movie of me and my family.

Well, I saw this person in the kitchen but I didn’t see the head I just saw the back. I thought this person was my husband. He is a big guy, but it wasn’t him…. it was me! I looked at my family and cried! I was mortified. I said “Why didn’t you tell me I was this big? ” My husband said “Maybe it is all the coffee you drink. ” The next day I stopped drinking it and haven’t looked back. I have lost a total of 50 pounds! I started at a size 22 waist and am now in a size 12! I know I still have more to lose but I am really happy with my weight being what it is.

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