stimulus (CS). So it is far from a simple mechanical reaction. That
huge brain wasn't added to your spinal cord for nothing.
Since many experiences and thoughts will influence how we
cognitively evaluate the UCS, and, in turn, change our CR, it is
possible that Campbell, Sanderson & Laverty could have reduced the
medical students' fear response to the light by administering the
paralyzing drug (UCS) 100 times (instead of the CS--the light) so that
the subjects would become less frightened by the drug's paralyzing
effects. Perhaps, if the subjects had been told and shown that it was
impossible for the drug to be administered again, the fear response to
the light would have declined rapidly. Perhaps, if the subjects had
been told that they could overcome the fear reaction to the light and
given training for doing so (with the light being left on while they
"talked themselves down"), their response to the light would have
become less intense. Also, if the light had been presented many times
before the drug was administered, the reaction to the light may have
been easier to extinguish. Science is just beginning to learn more
about how cognitions interact with conditioning. Cognitive methods are
a new tool for expanding self-control in many areas. Some fears are
unreasonable and harmful, some are reasonable and helpful, e.g. the
anorexic's totally unreasonable fear of food making her fat and the
heart attack victim's reasonable and helpful fear of high fat food. In
time, the anorexic can change her mind about her body and the
person with a heart condition can forget to watch his diet.
There are many other mysteries about fears. New conditioning
theories help explain these things. Question: How do some people
become phobic without ever having a painful or traumatic experience?
Many people are afraid of snakes or mice but have never been bitten.
Almost no one who is afraid of flying has been hurt in a plane crash.
Lazarus (1974) reported that only 3 percent of his phobic patients
could recall an actual event that might have caused their fear. Rimm,
et al. (1977) found 50%. Actually, persons who are physiologically
unable to feel pain still become anxious and fearful just like the rest of
us (Derlega & Janda, 1981); why is this? Answer: Davey provides this
example of a fear of public transportation developing without obvious
trauma: you see an unknown person die of a heart attack on a city
bus, so the connection is made but it has no effect on you until much
later when your father dies of a heart attack, after which you become
very afraid of riding the bus. Research also confirms that simply
thinking about all the horrible things that could happen in a scary
situation, say giving a speech, can increase your fear response.
Similarly, as we will see in a later section, you can learn fears from
models or family traits and never have any painful experience
yourself; these vicarious experiences presumably change your
Question: Why do many people have a truly traumatic experience,
like a very painful dental treatment, but never get phobic about going
to the dentist? Answer: If you went to the dentist several times before
experiencing serious pain, that might prevent a CR of fear. Also, a fear