I have always found the concept of phobias to be highly intriguing; so when I saw the “Understanding Phobias” in big, bold letters in the text, I got immediately excited. Powell et al. (2009) begins the chapter on phobias by explaining that classical conditioning lends way to a person’s “development of fears and anxieties” (p. 182). Powell et al. explains, “A conditioned fear response can be elicited by a previously neutral stimulus that has been associated with an aversive stimulus” (p. 182). For example, if a person were to see a bee and then get stung by said bee, they will most likely begin to fear and avoid bees in order to not be stung again; however, as Powell et al. (2009) affirms, these fears sometimes become extreme, and cause “irrational fear reactions” to objects that are seemingly innocent (p. 183). For example, it is completely rational to fear a bee that has stung you; however, it is irrational to fear a bee that had never stung you due to an “overgeneralization” – which is “a conditioned response to one has become overgeneralized to other harmless events” (Powell et al., 2009, p. 183).
This video demonstrates a strange fear a young woman has of pickles.