Explain two specific behaviors using psychological perspectives

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BTEC Nat-Dip Health and Social Care        Sherin Shaji

Unit 29 – Applied Psychology Perspectives

P4 - Explain two specific behaviors using psychological perspectives

P5 - Use examples to explain the contribution of psychological perspectives to the management and treatment of two specific behaviors

M3 - Analyze the role of psychological perspectives in understanding the two specific behaviors


In this assignment I will be explaining two specific behaviors using psychological perspectives. In this part I will be talking about phobias and fears, and OCD.  

Every behavior of an individual has an explanation with psychological perspectives which makes us understand the behavior in more depth and why the individual is behaving accordingly. There are quite a few psychological perspectives that I have learnt about throughout my lessons. These are behaviorist, social learning theory, psychodynamic, humanistic, cognitive, developmental and biological. All of these perspectives explain a certain behavior in a unique way to others, however some can be explained together and others on their own.

Phobia and fears

This is my first specific behavior which I will explain by giving three psychological perspectives. Phobia is an excessive fear or unreasonable irrational fear. However a fear is an unpleasant reaction when face-to-face with real danger. It could be towards someone, object, place, situation etc. there are many types of phobias which are towards all sorts of things for e.g. agoraphobia (phobia of crowded places) Phobias are very common, but as there are many types, not all has to be common. Phobias follow on from traumas. Normally phobias occur for an individual due to their past experiences. For e.g. if an individual gets a bite from a dog, they may be scared to go near dogs again. They have now developed a phobia for dogs. Normally these phobias occur in childhood. If the individual is to face the phobic object, they will be seen as uncomfortable straight away.

There are many types of phobias which can occur in individuals. These specific phobias are animal, natural environment, blood or injury, situational and others such as choking, vomiting etc. Animal and insect phobias are when the individuals are scared of for e.g. dogs, worms’ etc. natural environment phobias are when the individual is scared of water, heights etc. Blood phobias are when the individual is scared of blood and may faint. Situational phobias are when the individual fears a certain situation and tries to avoid it for e.g. flying on a plane. Other phobias are where an individual might throw up of they smell or see someone else throwing up.

Certain phobias are common out of the specific ones I have named. Phobias are most common in women rather than men. The statistics show that females are prone to irrational fears than male.

According to Phobia-Help website, “nearly 4.25% of the population” suffers from phobias and fears. According to Mental Health Foundation, “Women are more likely to have been treated for a mental health problem than men (29% compared to 17%)”. This may be that women are more likely to visit their GPs than men, so they are more likely to be diagnosed with problems.

Some phobias occur due to previous experiences that have happened to the individual in their childhood or their early life stage. According to Counseling Directory, there can be many factors that cause an individual to have a phobia, which could anxiety and depression running in the family, drugs, illnesses etc. Some of the symptoms can be that they are avoiding certain places, panic attacks, sweating, shaking, fast heart beat etc. These are the common symptoms that and individual will experience when they are facing their fears and phobic’s.

I will be explaining phobias with three psychological perspectives. There are two ways in biological explanation which are used to explain phobias; these are genetic explanations and chemical explanations. Biological psychologists see an individual anxiety behavior is cause by the activity in the nervous system, especially the brain. They say that there can be a specific gene that release more serotonin levels than recommended making them anxiety. Serotonin is a chemical that transmit nerve signals. Too much of serotonin levels can cause anxiety, a bit low than that can cause stress, lower than this is normal and lower than normal can cause depression. Explanations to phobias are that the individual may have inherited the gene from their parents. This can be right because if an individual with phobia is more likely to have someone of their family member to have phobias too. However individual without a phobia is less likely to have relatives with phobias. An example for this could be that normally everyone is scared of dangerous animals and insects, but if an infant is placed near this dangerous animal, the chances of it running away scared is slim because the animal/insect will be neutral to the infant. This is because the child hasn’t had any bad experiences from the animal; therefore it sees the animal/insect as a new thing and tries to explore more. The child may later on develop fears for this animal/insect depending on its family. So parents may teach the child that certain animals/insects are dangerous, therefore the child may have a fear if the animal/insect approaches towards them. However this supports Social Learning Theory, where the individual is observing and learning from their primary social group. The child learns everything from their primary and secondary socialization groups’ imitation. An example of this could be that children may learn to wash their hands after toilet because they have seen other children doing it. They observe them and perform the action (Observational Learning). If they are explained well, why they need to wash their hands every time they come out the toilet, then there is more chance they will remember to wash their hands to avoid getting infections etc. if they are too worried about germs, then washing hands constantly can turn out to be a fear or phobia. Another example would be that if the child’s mother had a phobia of public spaces (agoraphobia) then there is more chances of the child learning this behavior. “A child might become arachnophobia because they grow up watching a parent scream every time they see a spider” this shows that most of the phobias could be learnt from their family member and friends. This paragraph was used from BTEC National Health and Social Care Book 2 and my own knowledge. 

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Chemical explanations suggest that phobias are caused by hormonal changes. These explanations suggest that some individuals Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) jumps more quickly than others. So these individuals are more likely to develop phobias than the ones that don’t jumpy easily. Behaviorism is another theory which could be used to explain phobias. This can also be linked with social learning theory because behaviorists also say that phobias can be learned. They say that phobias can occur with classical conditioning. As fear is a conditioned response to a conditioned stimulus, previous occasion would have been paired with an unconditional stimulus. When ...

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

This is an excellent essay that demonstrates the writer has done their research and applied it to two conditions. It was a pleasure to read it. There are a few areas that could be enhanced such as linking theories into the treatments but it is actually a very good essay as it is. *****