International Handbook of Behavior Modification and Therapy by Alan E. Kazdin (auth.), Alan S. Bellack, Michel Hersen, Alan

By Alan E. Kazdin (auth.), Alan S. Bellack, Michel Hersen, Alan E. Kazdin (eds.)

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The reactions of laboratory animals to various methods of inducing "neuroses" vary, depending on the species, but they often include avoidance; withdrawal; accelerated pulse, heart, and respiration rates; irritability; and other reactions that bear some resemblance to human anxiety (see Hunt, 1964). Initial demonstrations of experimental neuroses developed as part of the research in Pavlov's laboratory on differentiation in conditioning dogs. In separate investigations in 1912 and 1913, investigators in Pavlov's laboratory found that when animals were required to make subtle discriminations in the conditioned stimulus, all previously trained conditioned reactions were lost.

Mowrer reasoned that initially, fear is established through Pavlovian conditioning. Fear develops in the organism and is reduced by escaping from the situation through Thorndikean learning. The development of this two-factor theory was important in the history of behavior modification because it provided an account of an important problem in human behavior, namely, avoidance reactions. Hence, there were immediate implications for extending learning conceptualizations to account for maladaptive avoidance behavior and perhaps to develop treatments based on learning.

The impact is readily apparent because the principles of operant conditioning developed in laboratory research have been widely extrapolated to applied settings. In the first few decades of the nineteenth century, the distinction between Pavlovian and Thorndike an learning was not always clear. Fundamental differences between the research paradigms were obscured because of the different types of responses that were studied and the investigation of combined learning paradigms in which both operant and respondent conditioning were intertwined.

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