Is a Phobia Just Classic Conditioning?

Is a Phobia Just Classic Conditioning?

This week the Guardian.com ask what is the rationale behind phobias?

Phobics are scared of spiders, open places, closed places, mirrors, staying alive and dying, to be honest everything can become a phobia to someone. These fears seem to the fearless irrational, but how do we even develop a fear that is by definition irrational? The guardian suggest that one explanation is classical conditioning; Conditioning works by, in the case of a phobic, associating a bad feeling (fear or anxiety) to a thing.

Your brain is very clever and learns through observation. If a child for example, sees the fear in their parents faces when they see a spider, the child will then learn to be a phobic of spiders too. You can even become anxious at a situation and every-time you remember this negative memory the fear/anxiety increases creating at some point a phobic reaction.

althred hitchcock

Horror films condition people to become phobics, every time someone goes into the woods the strange scary music sounds, the camera angles distort what you though you seen. Before long your heart is pumping, you leave the cinema never to enter the woods again. Scientist believe that phobias are inbuilt to keep us safe. When our ancestors were hunters and gatherers we need away to ourselves from  poking around things that might kill us,  by making you a spider phobic stopped you from approaching spiders which decreases the like-hood of you getting bitten by a poisonous spider.

Read the full story here: Phobias Irrational or rational fear? 

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