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FEARS

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Do you fear anything?


Do they cause you any problems?
Are your fears totally irrational or not?
How did you manage to overcome them?
What physically and mentally happens to people when theyre afraid?

1. Phobias
cancer
beards
confined spaces
being stared at
death
crossing bridges
flying
food
heart disease
ghosts
heights
marriage
open spaces
mirrors
people and social situations
newness
spiders
number 13
thunderstorms
responsibility

2. Childhood fears
To demonstrate how fears and phobias are acquired, two psychologists
deliberately established a rat phobia in a placid 11-month-old boy named Albert.
When given a furry white rat to play with, Albert was initially delighted. However,
like most children, Albert was afraid of loud noises. Whenever a steel bar behind
Alberts head was struck with a hammer, Albert would jump and fall sideways onto
the mattress he was sitting on. The noise was an unconditioned stimulus for the
unconditioned response of fear.
Having established that Albert liked rats, the experimenters set about
teaching him to fear them. Once again they offered him a rat, but this time, as
Albert reached for it, one of the researchers struck a steel bar. Startled, Albert fell
onto to whimper and tremble. Finally, the rat was offered alone, without the noise.
The rat had become a conditioned stimulus for fear. Further tests showed that
Alberts fear generalized to other hairy or furry objects, including white rabbits,
cotton wool, a Santa Claus mask, and the experimenters hair.
a. What were you afraid of as a child? Have any of these fears persisted into
adulthood? Do you now have any rational fears (e.g. of not being able to
pass tests and exams?)
b. Assuming such experiments as the one with Albert are useful, should
individuals be sacrificed for the progress of science/mankind?
c. Can you think of any other cases where conditioning is used? Can you
resist conditioning?

3. Dirt
In a fanatic pursuit of cleanliness, a 49-year-old Australian housewife
uses up more than 225 bars of soap on herself every month, wears rubber
gloves even to switch on a light and makes her husband sleep alone so that
she wont be contaminated by him.
Every month, Mrs. X goes through 400 pairs of surgical gloves, 4,000
plastic bags which she wears in multiple numbers over the gloves and 360
rolls of paper towels.
She goes through dozens of boxes of laundry detergent every month
because she washes her clothes six or seven times before wearing them.
She cant bear to walk on the floors outside her bedroom. She spreads
newspapers ahead of her as she walks through the house. But she cant
stand leaving them lying on the floor so she leaves a room by walking
backward and picking up the papers in her gloved hand. She is terrified of
encountering dirt. Whenever she feels particularly uneasy about dirt, she
washes her hands. Once she started, she cant stop until she has used the
entire bar. That usually takes about 90 minutes.
4. Manias
Some peoples insecurities manifest themselves in obsessive behaviors. A
dipsomaniac, for example, has an abnormal and insatiable craving for
alcohol. Those afflicted with kleptomania have a compulsive desire to steal
things they dont actually need. More dangerous are pyromaniacs who feel
compelled to start destructive fires. Other kinds of manias involve strange
rituals to be performed when doing certain things.
People who have
developed rhythmmania, for example, give themselves a rhythm while
doing something. This means that they will pace themselves to the door
saying one, two, three, one, two, three until they reach the door, and again
when they open it. This procedure is repeated for everything they do and if
they get interrupted in the middle, they have to go back and start again.
1. Analyze the implications of the four manias in the text, both for the people
afflicted, their immediate family and society in general.
2. Do you know of any other kinds of mania?
3. What would be the consequences of having any of the following manias?
a. Anglomania: exaggerated liking for and imitation of English customs,
manners, institutions?
b. Callomania: the delusion that one is beautiful
c. Chronomania: perfectionism in time keeping
d. Metromania: obsession for composing verse or poetry
e. Dromomania: wandering

f.

Hypomania: being always on the go

g. Monomania: compulsively telling lies and believing them


h. Nostomania: excessive nostalgia
i.

Sophomania: belief in ones own wisdom