Fears and Fear Reduction

Assignment 6

A. Fears and Fear Reduction

Erin works at a daycare for preschoolers in a lovely wooded space by the edge of a ravine. There are many woodland creatures who regularly visit including deer, rabbits, many small birds, ravens and crows. The children adore these creatures and have spent much time feeding them and observing them. However, in May and June, it is breeding and nesting time for the crows and ravens. During this time, it is not uncommon for them to swoop down and painfully pluck hair from both the teachers and the students. On one occasion a raven miscalculated and actually caused a one inch lesion on the forehead of one of the teachers (and yes, this really happened). Justin is one of the students this year. He has not shown any fear toward the crows or ravens since Fall. However, three times in one day Justin had his hair painfully plucked from his head by a crow/raven. Since then he has been terrified of crows and ravens, and the fear has generalized to the sight of crows/ravens, pictures, stories, even the mention of a crow or raven will have him running away and crying. He refuses to go outdoors during play time and will only come in and out of the daycare if he is using an umbrella.

1. Diagram the initial fear conditioning using the respondent conditioning paradigm.

(US UR)


(CS -CR)

2. Diagram a potential escape and avoidance procedure operating on Justin, keeping his fear going (should identify 2 different procedures – one escape and one avoidance, and identify the antecedent, behaviour and consequence for each)

3. Show how the respondents and operants work together.

4. Outline a desensitization procedure (choose either systematic desensitization or in vivo

desensitization) they could use to help him get rid of his fear. Be specific, outline each of the steps,

and provide a rationale for your answer.


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