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Flashcards in A - Learning Approach Deck (11):

What does the social learning theory suggest regarding initiation?

An addiction begins when people see role models (relatives or parents) engaging in a behaviour and being reinforced for it (vicarious reinforcement)


What does the operant theory suggest regarding initiation?

Behaviours that are positively rewarded will increase
These rewards can be physical (release of dopamine) or psychological (winning money)
Positive effect does not occur every time


What does the operant theory suggest regarding maintenance and relapse?

Positive reinforcement can maintain a behaviour
Negative reinforcement - after repeated engagement in an addictive behaviour, unpleasant symptoms occur if the behaviour is stopped
These unpleasant symptoms can be stopped by continuing the addictive behaviour


What does classical conditioning - feelings of pleasure suggest regarding maintenance and relapse?

Cues that occur at the same time or just before the addictive stimulus may become associate with the addictive behaviour and therefore cause the same response, such as the feeling of pleasure from the release of dopamine

These act as prompts, creating a craving for the behaviour leading to maintenance and relapse


What does classical conditioning - withdrawal symptoms suggest regarding maintenance and relapse?

Cues become associated with the addictive behaviour

Cues cause the body to prepare in anticipation of the effects of the addictive behaviour

If the addictive behaviour is not carried out, the body is thrown into a state of disequilibrium (withdrawal symptoms)

Therefore, the addict is motivated to repeat the behaviour as quickly as possible to restore the equilibrium


Apply the initiation explanations to smoking

May see parents smoking, parents get pleasure from doing so (vicarious reinforcement)

Adolescent has their first cigarette and feels the reward (dopamine rush) – direct reinforcement and leads to the behaviour being repeated

First few cigarettes are not pleasurable/the reward may not happen every time


Apply the maintenance and relapse explanations to smoking

If smoker doesn’t have a cigarette for a while, they may have withdrawal symptoms and then would crave one

Withdrawal symptoms = unpleasant = smoker strives to remove them = smokes another cigarette

Cues (seeing a cigarette packet) can act as an association


Apply the initiation explanations to gambling

May see parents gambling – parents get pleasure from doing so (vicarious reinforcement)

Child then tries it – direct reinforcement occurs as the new gambler gets their own reward of winning money or the excitement of the anticipation for the lottery numbers

Reward doesn’t have to occur every time


Apply the maintenance and relapse explanations to gambling

If the buzz/reward stops, there is a negative feeling which the gambler is motivated to remove

Cues such as TV adds, passing a shop that sells lottery tickets etc can trigger the response

Withdrawal symptoms occur when the ‘high; does not come, gamblers act to remove them


What is a problem with the learning theory?

Punishment should reduce a particular behaviour
Learning explanation contradicts itself, when people smoke their first cigarette it is not a pleasant experience so why would they repeat the behaviour? If the first attempt at gambling results in a loss of money why would the behaviour be repeated research shows that gamblers lose more money than they win


Why is learning theory not a completely satisfactory explanation?

Might better explain maintenance than initiation/relapse
Doesn't explain individual differences - many people play the lottery but only a small proportion become addicts
Learning theory is not enough on its own
Instead, maybe a predisposition is needed via vulnerability (brain reward system) and appropriate cues and reinforcement