Blog Post 3 (Phobias)

Each and every person you pass on the street, in the hall, at work or at the park most likely has a phobia. A phobia is an extreme fear of something, somewhere or a specific situation. The most common phobias include fears of spiders, heights, car accidents, blood or even thunderstorms. As well as fear, most people begin having anxiety when thinking about or encountering their phobia. In most cases phobias begin due to correlating fear from one event with another harmless event. Majority of phobias are brought on during childhood or adolescence and stick with a person for most of their life. 

Phobias can be brought on through classical conditioning as well. As discussed in the first blog post, classical conditioning was essentially able to train a dog how to have a reaction to a stimulus. Psychologists Watson and Raynor used classical conditioning during the experiment called the Little Albert Experiment. This experiment was performed on a 9-month-old baby who was believed to show no emotion. Albert was shown a rat, a bunny, a monkey and several different masks to which he had shown no fear. The only time he had been scared and cried was when a hammer was slammed against a metal bar behind him. Two months later, he was shown the rat and quickly after the metal bar was hit with the hammer causing the loud noise which again startled him. After several sessions with making the loud noise and showing Albert the rat, he would be scared and cry at the sight of the rat without the noise. After this, Little Albert was also becoming afraid of things that he associated with the rat such as a fur coat and a family dog. 

Phobias can be extremely life altering for some and for others they may not be as serious. I can definitely say I do have a few phobias that give me anxiety when I cross paths with them, but I do not change my lifestyle due to them. Within this experiment, Little Albert was originally not scared of any of the stimuli but by reiterating the loud noise with other stimuli he became scared easily which I see a lot more often than not. I’m a beach lifeguard during the summer and there are handfuls of children and young kids who become terrified of the ocean after getting caught in a rip current or even being knocked over by a wave. These children become scared of the water because of bad experiencing that they associate with the beach.  

McLeod, S. A. (2018, October 08). Pavlov's dogs. Simply Psychology.


  1. I can totally relate and agree to your post. Your example is spot on for me. When I was younger I got caught up in waves knocking me down and now I am not a fan of the ocean and will only stick my feet in.

  2. I really enjoyed liked your post and I am curious about how certain phobias develop since I have a fear of heights, but I don't remember any event or experience that could have influenced that. However, because of that fear I don't enjoy being on ladders and scenes in movies where the characters are up high give me a little anxiety.


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