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Outline and evaluate the behavioural explanation of psychopathology

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´╗┐Outline and evaluate the behavioural explanation of psychopathology The essence of the behavioural approach to psychopathology is that adaptive and maladaptive behaviours are learned by the same procedures. This is true for the actions that we typically display when faced with an examination situation. The behavioural model concentrates only on behaviours and the responses a person makes to their environment, these can be external or internal. Behaviourists have tended to focus their attention on the role of external events and behaviours as these are more observable and therefore make gaining results easier. This means that not all aspects of abnormality are considered. Classical conditioning is where learning occurs through association and is a process that applies to emotional learning as well as behaviours. ...read more.


This means that such behaviours may be functional for the individual, at least at the time they are learned. For example if a child finds that he or she gets more attention from a parents when they have a panic attack, these attacks may well become more frequency until they become difficult to stop. This could lead to the same behaviour with their partner in later life. Behaviours are learned by seeing others rewarded and punished and this is called social learning. An individual's social context is important when considering the origins of abnormal behaviours, as this provides many opportunities for behaviour to be observed and imitated. When researchers report that some disorders, such as anxiety disorders run in families, it is difficult to separate the effects of genetics from the effects of social learning. ...read more.


Also research on the behavioural approach has not always supported its claims. For example, conditioning theories of the acquisition of fear would have a problem explaining why many people are unable to identify an incident in their past which led to the traumatic conditioning, nor even to recall any contact with their feared object. Another limitation is to gain a full understanding of behaviour all features would have to be monitored. It is easy for patients to show demand characteristics when being observed, especially if only external behaviours are studied. Strengths of the approach include Little Albert. The case study of Little Albert support the behavioural approach as its finding show that they were able to create a conditioned fear response in the baby. ...read more.

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