BIOL 1010 Lecture Notes - Token Economy, Systematic Desensitization, Attention Seeking
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feelings by applying in a clinical context the methods used and the discoveries made by experimental
psychologists in their study of both normal and abnormal behaviour.
Counter-conditioning and exposure:
because learning paradigms assume that behaviour is the result of learning, treatment often involves
relearning a new, more adaptive response.
counter-conditioning is relearning achieved by eliciting a new response in the presence of a particular
stimulus. A response to a given stimulus can be eliminated by eliciting a new response in the presence of
- A person who suffers from anxiety works with the therapist to compile a list of feared situations,
starting with those that arouse minimal anxiety and progressing to the most frightening.
- The person is also taught to relax deeply
- Step-by-step, while relaxed, the person imagines the graded series of anxiety-provoking
- The relaxation tends to inhibit any anxiety that might otherwise be elicited by the imagined
- The fearful person becomes able to tolerate increasingly more difficult imagined situations as he
climbs the hierarchy over a number of therapy sessions.
aversive conditioning: a stimulus attractive to the patient is paired with an unpleasant event, such as
a drug that produces nausea, in the hope of endowing it with negative properties.
Several behavioural procedures derive from operant conditioning.
Problem behaviour is thought to have four possible consequences; attention seeking, escape from
tasks, the generation of sensory reinforcement and accessing tangible items or other reinforcers.
Treatment typically consists of altering the consequences of the problem behaviour. For example, by
time-out; where the person is banished for a period of time to a dreary location with no positive
Making positive reinforcers contingent on behaviour is used to increase the frequency of desirable
Brief-case example; women always wore excessive amounts of clothing. The average weight of her
clothing at the beginning of treatment was 25 pounds.