Psychology 101 Review
Anxiety is both a feeling and a cognition, a doubt-laden appraisal of one’s safety or social skill. Freud
proposed that anxiety can develop because of the childhood memory that was repressed and is submerged
mental energy that is developed as anxiety. Today’s psychologist have turned to two perspectives –
learning and biological.
The learning perspective – fear conditioning : When bad events happen uncontrollably and unpredictably,
the anxiety develops. Through conditioning, the short list of naturally painful and frightening events can
multiply into a long list of human fears. Two specific learning processes can contribute to such anxiety.
Firstly, stimulus generalization occurs for example, when you were beaten by a dog, later you are scared
of all dogs. The other one is reinforcement, that when you have phobia on something, you release your
anxiety by avoiding that, but your phobia gets deeper as you avoid that thing.
Observational learning is you get anxiety/phobia by looking at other people getting something, so it’s
indirect. For example, if you see other person beaten by a dog you are scared of dog later. Parents
transmit the anxiety to their kids by observational learning.
The Biological perspective – this explains why we get anxiety/phobia after traumatic experience which is
kinda ironic for me cause it’s because of the environmental factor. Natural selection is one of the factors,
which is the biologically prepared fear threats faced by our ancestors, such as very common phobias like
snake, spider, rats etc. Gene is another factor. Pair a traumatic event with a sensitive, high-strung
temperament and the result may be a new phobia. Identical twins may develop same phobia, even if they
were raised separately. Interestingly, there is an anxiety gene that affects brain levels of serotonin that
affects sleep and mood.
The brain – Generalized anxiety, panic attacks, and even obsessions and compulsions are manifested
biologically as an overarousal of brain areas involved in impulse control and habitual behaviours. The
anterior cingulate cortex a brain region that monitors our actions and check the errors, seems especially
likely to be hyperactive in those with OCD(obsessive-compulsive disorder). Fear-learning experiences
that traumatize the brain can also create fear circuits within the amygdala.
According to learning view, compulsive behaviours are reinforced because they reduce the anxiety
created by obsessive thoughts. Rashid’s obsession concerns failing, and his desk arranging compulsive
behaviours apparently help him control these thoughts.
Hypocondriasis – Mental disorder that a person worries that the individual has serious illness.
Conversion disorder – Neurological disorder that has numbness, blindness, paralysis, etc.
Dissociative Identity disorder(DID) is also known as multiple personality disorder is an extremely rare
disorder that has at lease two distinct and relatively enduring identities in one person. The psychoanalytic explanation is that dissociative disorders are a manifestation of incompletely
repressed impulses over which the person is anxious.According to the learning perspective, the troubled
behaviours that result from these disorders have been reinforced by anxiety reduction.
Somatoform disorder is the disorder that a patient has pain that can’t be traced to any body part, for
example when a soldier’s injured and cut his arm, he still feel hurts on his arm even though he doesn’t
have arm anymore.
- Most depression is often preceded by depressing life events such as divorce, loss of family, etc.
Important :At least two neurotransmitters act roles in mood disorders. They are norepinephrine, which
increases arousal and boosts mood, is scarce during depression and overabundant during mania. (drugs
that alleviate mania reduce norepinephrine) Most people with history of depression also have a history of
habitual smoking. Inhaling nicotine can temporarily increase norepinephrine and boost mood. The second
neurotransmitter is a serotonin, is also lack during depression. Therefore, drugs that relieve depression are
increased norepinephrine and serotonin by blocking either their reuptake or their chemical breakdown.