11.07.2019 in Psychology

Learning Experience Essay

Acrophobic is a person who experiences unreasonable fear when he/she is on an elevated spot. Fear of heights is a common encounter which is appropriate at times as the brain develops emotions of fear to help avert a potential danger. A threatening situation or object results into feelings of fear that are manifested through enhanced body tension; and heightened blood pressure, breathing rate, and heart rate. These manifestations produce varying behavioral patterns with different people because people perceive dangerous situations differently. However, it becomes a phobic disorder when a person feel frightened while in safe environments like in a sky scraper. The disorder can be corrected through stratified exposure therapy. There are various theories involved in a learning experience, for example, behaviorism and cognitive theories. Behaviorism theory of learning focuses on observable behaviors. Behaviorism is a developmental theory which measures behaviors as a result of response to a stimulus. For an acrophobic person, the stimulus is great height. However, when a person get used to heights, the fear is eroded ensuring that the person in question does not wrongly perceive danger when in a safe elevated position. Behaviorism reduces a complex behavior to a simple cause and effect.

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Cognitive theory explicates behavior through the understanding of thinking processes (Edmund, 2001). This means that, for example, individuals are able to evaluate the probabilities of great heights resulting into dangers, helping them to make sensible decisions like avoidance of precarious elevated positions. Merging the two into the cognitive-behavioral theory enhances the achievement of individuals’ goals like attending to engagements at great heights in a precautious manner. Learning through experience follows the Principle of Perceptual Organisation, where a person organizes sensory stimuli into effective experiences through cognition. Cognition is an arranged mental activity which involves knowing, remembering, and thinking. Experience and knowledge helps a person be consciously aware of great heights to his sensory system. The knowledge makes them to be aware of the danger involved which then leads to fear necessitating a person to avoid such locations. Classical conditioning is where a person’s instinctive response to sensory stimulus carries-over to some other stimulus (Norman, 1963). A person may become acrophobic following unconditioned stimulus such as occasional falls or illusion of falls whenever he/she ascends to great heights. The person then makes a causal connection between heights and falls, which makes him/her fearful of heights. The causal connection between the two then becomes the conditioned stimuli which evokes the conditioned response such as fear.

Such behavior may come as a result of operant conditioning, which involves enhancing behavior through reinforcing or reducing it through punishment. An acrophobic may have learnt such behavior during childhood following several occasions of punishment by a guardian whenever he/she ascended to great heights. Behavior is a psychological response that defines the way that a person responds to a certain set of stimulus, for example, fear when a person ascends to great heights. The heightened heart beat and blood pressure are the consequences of this fear. In such a situation, an example of reinforcement could be the rewarding of the person whenever he avoids great heights. The reinforcement is meant to enhance the rate of a certain conduct as a response to a stimulus. Whenever a consequence fails to follow a targeted result, the response effectiveness is reduced with time. For example, if the acrophobic rises to heights on several occasions without falling, his response to heights with fear reduces. Nevertheless, learning to avoid heights would be difficult reinforcements are sporadic and easy when reinforcement follows a highly ordered schedule (Edmund, 2001). Minus reinforcement schedules lead to avoidance learning. However, if the falling is consistent every time a person climbs up, then the response to heights with fear increases. A person may also become acrophobic after observing other people’s experiences, having considerable media influences, and due to social interactions. This is referred to as cognitive-social learning. Finally, the main learning processes are the cognitive-social learning, classical conditioning, and operant conditioning. The three contrast with regard to how they result into behavioral acquisition in an individual. Classical conditioning is where a person’s instinctive response to sensory stimulus carries-over to some other stimulus. For effective classical conditioning, the two stimuli must be paired severally such that a person ultimately makes a causal connection between the two. On the other hand, operant conditioning involves enhancing behavior through reinforcing or reducing it through punishment. This conditioning requires the learner to act in the intended manner, which is in contradiction to classical conditioning where the unconditioned or conditioned stimuli are awarded in spite of the learners efforts. Lastly, cognitive-social learning is where an individual’s learning is a direct relation after observing other people within the setting of experiences, media influences, and social interaction.  

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