Counter Conditioning and Aversive Conditioning

What is the difference between Counter Conditioning and Aversive Conditioning?

Counter Conditioning is the conditioning of an unwanted behaviour or response to a stimulus into a wanted behaviour or response by the association of positive actions with the stimulus. It is an aspect of behaviour therapy that involves weakening or eliminating an undesired response by introducing and strengthening a second response that is incompatible with it. In simple terms, it means to re-teach someone to have a pleasant feeling and reaction toward something that he once feared or disliked. For example, when training a dog, a person can create a positive response by petting or calming the dog, when the dog reacts anxiously or nervously to a stimulus. The dog will associate the positive response with the stimulus.

Aversive condition is a type of counter conditioning, which makes a particular behaviour less appealing by pairing it with an unpleasant stimulus. Aversive conditioning has been used in adults to break addictions to substances such as tobacco and alcohol. Alcoholics are sometimes given an alcoholic drink together with a drug that induces nausea to weaken the positive feelings they associate with drinking.

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