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Fear that cannot be controlled and sometimes said to be irrational is called a phobia. This fear is very unreasonable and not linked to the cause in any way yet it interferes with the how the victim functions on daily basis. Among other ways, phobia develops through classical conditioning. This happens when an impartial stimulus is paired along with something that causes pain. Exposing people to natural sounds that instill fear in them may lead to the development of phobia among the same persons. Responses that arise from phobia turn out to be permanent in the life of an organism. This can only be avoided if a living organism gets extinct. In such a case, the unconditioned stimulus comes into play to help the organism to face fear during the process of extinction.
Another way of dousing phobia is using the counter conditioning process. This method entails pairing the pairing an amusing stimulus with the conditioned stimulus. Psychologists like Watson have proved these two methods (Ormrod 2003). Watson for instance used the Little Albert and the white rats. Counter conditioning in this case would have used things such as food as a pleasant stimulus. In the extinction process, the phobia in Little Albert would have been extinguished by avoiding the loud bangs. Classical conditioning results into phobia through association of two stimuli.
Addictions and operant conditioning
Operant conditioning, which is linked to addiction, involves an association between a particular behavior and an outcome. The consequences relating to operant conditioning are four. They include that something bad can begin in one way or the other. Similarly, something good can be presented in addition to something to something bad coming to an end. Good things can as well end. They are the same characteristic behaviors that make operant conditioning to be associated with addiction. The pain pleasure and pleasure stimuli systems are naturally occurring mechanisms that help animals to survive (Pavlov 1927). The nervous systems with its neurones attached in the brain initiate the pain and pleasure that is felt by animals.
Actions that increase chances of animal survival lead to pleasure whereas those actions that fight against reduced chances of survival cause pain. Communication that effects these changes is transmitted via the neurotransmitters. Extinctions of a conditioned behavior occur when the said response keeps on diminishing due to reduced reinforcement. Strengthening of the behavior is a process that takes place either consciously or unconsciously. Undesirable behavior in the animal could also lead to the extinction of the behavior.
Differences between operant and classical conditioning
Operant and classical conditioning are two behavioral concepts whose product is learning. The paths that the two concepts follow are very different. The first distinction comes from the proponents of the two concepts. Whereas classical conditioning was first described by a Russian physiologist called Ivan Pavlov the operant conditioning was stated by Skinner an American physiologist. Classical conditioning is a process that entails having a neutral pointer before a reflex. On the other hand, operant conditioning involves the use of reinforcement after a stated behavior. Furthermore, operant conditioning as a concept deals with the strengths and weaknesses that surround voluntary behaviors. This is different from classical conditioning as it focuses on behaviors that are automatic and instinctive.
The process of classical conditioning encompasses an association between a behavior that is involuntary and a stimulus. This process sharply differs with that of operant conditioning where the association is between voluntary behavior and a consequence. While there are no motivational incentives in classical conditioning, operant has rewards in its process to encourage the learning process. This difference makes operant conditioning a more participatory exercise to the learner and classical conditioning appears more of a passive process. In spite of all these differences, both concepts of classical and operant conditioning are helpful in the modern society. Some of the professionals who use these concepts include among others trainers, who deal animals, teachers, psychologists, health practitioners, counselors, and parents.
Extinction refers to behavior reducing over a particular period. Extinction is a process that happens either consciously or unconsciously and may take long duration. The two concepts of classical and operant conditioning associate with extinction. The long time it takes to occur is a result of the said fear being recurrent. Two factors can lead to extinction. It can take place because of lack of reinforcement of the fear and therefore it dies a natural death (Ricker 2011). It might also occur because when the fear turns out to become irrelevant and hence the conditioned behavior is no longer needed. This is especially common in operant conditioning. This behavior means that the animal looks back to its original behavior. Extinction processes are different and always are confined to specific people. Many times however, the process of extinction takes a reversed direction. This means that the person with a particular bad behavior increases the same. This would look like going against the norm where he or she is expected to shed of the bad tag. Such scenarios are dealt with in the other method other than extinction. This is referred to as counter conditioning.
Ormrod, E (2003). Lifespan Development and Learning. Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing.
Pavlov, IP. (1927). Conditioned reflexes. London: Oxford University Press.
Ricker, J (2011). Can classical conditioning cause phobia? Oxford: Oxford University Press.