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counter conditioning

Pairing stimuli that evoke one response with an opposite response, so that the stimulus now evokes the new response. Counter conditioning is typically used to eliminate phobias. Thus, a child might be given a food treat while the feared object is gradually moved closer and closer to the child. At the first sign of fear, the object is be removed. The procedure is be repeated until the child no longer shows a fear response. The child then associates pleasure with the stimulus that previously evoked fear.

Definition adapted with permission from the work of psychologist Jeanette J Chen, PhD.

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