Hmm... this circle stuff is missing me a bit. Indulge me for a
The Ader & Cohen material on Pavlovian conditioning can apply to a
lot of areas - the diabetics, the hungry and the alcoholic. However,
it works the other way for the depressed. The biological account
posits that low levels of serotonin is a cause for depression. But
antidepressants, which raise serotonin levels very quickly, do no
"work" for 10-14 days. Also, the drugs stop boosting
neurotransmitter levels after a few days, when serotonin levels drop
back to normal. Yet mood lifts a week or so later.
The fact that, in the Ader & Cohen expt, the effects of saccharin
decay after 4 or 5 trials without the UCS can be explained by normal
extinction, as identified by Pavlov. Presumably, similar phenomenon
such as spontaneous recovery would also occur. The reason this would
not work as an alternative to therapy is that the CR fades over time,
such that it may not be effective at a time when CS treatment becomes
The use of counterconditioning and desensitisation may be effective,
although I'm curious: does the exploitation of extinction itself
extinguish (i.e. will there be a spontaneous recovery of the phobia)?
This still does not explain the anomalous depression results
explained above - any ideas?
Desperately trying to relate this to circles now. Perhaps by
relating it to established research, we avoid falling into this
circle, which is essentially just a version of cognitive lockup (that
Sherlock Holmes thing again - fitting facts to theory rather than the
other way round). This is not a new idea - anyone (apart from
Psych/Law students) heard of the cognititive interview?
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