Strengths and weaknesses of aversion therapy

Essay by shafiqUniversity, Master'sF, March 2004

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*Many cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy that nauseate them develop food aversions. As a result, they suffer a loss of appetite and malnutrition. Fortunately, thanks to Bernstein's lifesaver experiment there are many procedures in chemotherapy which allow patients to eat a lifesaver (sweet) to serve as a scapegoat. This protects the patients diet from becoming aversive.

*Flavor aversion can be used to protect endangered species. For examples. In America conditioned flavour aversions are used against predators such as snakes, foxes and hawks to stop them destroying the eggs of endangered species such as the burrel owl


*There are doubts about the long-term effectiveness of aversion therapy. A person's ability to discriminate between the aversive conditioning situation and all other situations can reduce the treatment effectiveness of aversion therapy. E.G., alcoholics know that outside the therapist's office they can drink without fear of nausea. Another example, which puts doubts about the long-term effectiveness of aversion therapy, was conducted by Nicolas et al who found that adult raccoons that had conditioned aversions to chickens did not teach their offspring to avoid chickens.

In fact, after seeing the young raccoons kill and eat chickens, the adults overcame their aversive and began preying on chickens again.

*Ethical issues - is it right it interfere with nature. Some ethical groups say that it is wrong to use flavor aversion on animals as it is having a direct impact on wildlife. For. Example, farmers which use flavor aversion of coyotes and wolves are giving a direct impact on other animals such as rabbits and birds who are now the main targets of coyotes and wolves.