There are many ways with operant conditioning in which you can treat an addiction, there is always the replacement of another conditioned stimulus. Instead of smoking you can replace it with a new conditioned stimulus, for example a piece of candy.
Friday, June 3, 2011
I found the concept of operant conditioning to be the most comparable to real life situations. I find it best to be explained when dealing with addictions. People associate their habits with other habits in the case that they have a hard time with extinction of that bad habit. For example a person who is a drinker is also a smoker, and when they drink they always smoke. It is usually very difficult to quit either if they are still doing the other habit. When they are drinking they want the cigarette, or if they are smoking they need a drink. Separately they are neutral stimulus's but when they are paired together one becomes the conditioned response. The most effective way to quit would be to remove the conditioned stimulus so that there is no craving for the conditioned response. Another way of trying to eliminate the conditioned response would be to associate the conditioned stimulus with an aversive stimulus, this is know as aversion therapy. This form of behavior therapy attempts to reduce the attractiveness of a desired event.