Observational Conditioning of Fear to Fear-Relevant Versus Fear-Irrelevant Stimuli in Rhesus Monkeys

Michael Cook, Susan Mineka*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

202 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two experiments examined whether superior observational conditioning of fear occurs in observer rhesus monkeys that watch model monkeys exhibit an intense fear of fear-relevant, as compared with fear-irrelevant, stimuli. In both experiments, videotapes of model monkeys behaving fearfully were spliced so that it appeared that the models were reacting fearfully either to fear-relevant stimuli (toy snakes or a toy crocodile), or to fear-irrelevant stimuli (flowers or a toy rabbit). Observer groups watched one of four kinds of videotapes for 12 sessions. Results indicated that observers acquired a fear of fear-relevant stimuli (toy snakes and toy crocodile), but not of fear-irrelevant stimuli (flowers and toy rabbit). Implications of the present results for the preparedness theory of phobias are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)448-459
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Volume98
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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