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Lecture

Integrative Approach to Psychopathology Lecture and reading notes (Chapter 2) that covers one dimensional and multidimensional models; genetic contributions to psychopathology; neuroscience and psychopathology and the structure of the brain; behavioural a

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYCH 257
Professor
Uzma Rehman
Semester
Winter

Description
Integrative Approach to Psychopathology January-12-11 4:03 PM One Dimensional and Multidimensional Models One dimensional models attempt to trace origins of a behaviour to a single cause o Ex. Linear causal model would trace schizophrenia to a chemical imbalance and nothing else. Multidimensional perspective is more common and more accurate, believes abnormal behaviour results from multiple influences. o Feedback loop may have independent inputs at different times, but when each input enters the system it can no longer be independent. o Perspective on causality is systemic - implies that any influence contributing to psychopathology cannot be considered out of context o Context is biology, behaviour, cognitive, emotional, social and cultural environment because one component affects all the others Factors influencing psychopathology o Behaviour - learned reactions o Biological - genetics, physiology, neurobiology o Emotional - emotional regulation, emotions can affect physiological responses o Social - social support, loneliness o Cultural - environment we were brought up in o Developmental - passage of time, react different depending on our age, developmental critical period (more or less reactive to a given situation or influence than at other times) Genetic Contributions to Psychopathology Genes: long molecules of DNA at various locations on chromosomes in the cell nucleus. Understand that physical characteristics like hair and eye colour are strongly influenced by genetics thanks to the work of Gregor Mendel Normal human cells have 46 chromosomes arranged in 23 pairs. In each pair, one chromosome comes from the mom and one from the dad. o First 22 pairs of chromosomes provide programs for development of body and brain. The last chromosome pair is called the sex chromosome because it determines an individual's sex. Females have XX while males have XY DNA molecules that contain genes have the double helix structure (shape of a spiral staircase). On the double helix are simple molecules bound together and arranged in different orders (X chromosome has roughly 160million base pairs). Ordering of base pairs determines how the body develops and works. o If something is wrong in the ordering of the base pairs it will result in a defective gene. May or may not lead to problems. o Dominant gene is one of a pair that determines a particular trait. Recessive gene must be paired with another recessive gene to determine a trait. Dominant genes, using Mendelian law, can be used to accurately predict how many offspring will develop a certain trait, characteristic or disorder. o Polygenic - influenced by many genes, each contributing a small effect o Quantitative genetics: sum up all the small effects across many genes without saying which genes are responsible for which effects. 50% of personality traits and cognitive abilities come from genetics. Genetic factors contribute less than 50% to psychological disorders Some people with severe mental retardation (childhood disorder involving significantly below average intelligence and adaptive functioning) have identifiable genetic disorders involving a single gene o Fragile X syndrome: one genetic cause of mental retardation. Due to mutation on tip of the X chromosome, affects males. Likely that specific genes or small groups of genes may be associated with certain psychological disorders. However, effect on psychological disorders mostly polygenic Interaction of Genetic and Environmental Effects o Eric Kandel - speculated that the process of learning affects more than behaviour, suggested that genetic structure of cells may change as a result of learning, genes that were inactive or dormant can become can interact with the environment to become active. May lead to changes in the number of receptors at the end of a neuron which would affect biochemical functioning in the brain o Idea is that the brain and its functions are plastic, subject to continual change in response to the environment o Diathesis-stress model: Individuals inherit, from multiple genes, tendencies to express certain traits or behaviours which may then be activated under conditions of stress. Each inherited tendency is a diathesis, makes the person susceptible to developing a disorder Tendency to express certain behaviour is the vulnerability (tendency to develop a disorder) The stress of an event, situation or thought activates the genetic tendency to express certain behaviours, leading to a psychological disorder. The greater underlying vulnerability, the less stress needed to trigger a disorder o Reciprocal Gene Environment Model: people with a genetic predisposition for a disorder also have a genetic tendency to create environmental risk factors that promote the disorder Idea that genes may increase the probability that an individual will experience stressful life events. People with a genetic vulnerability to develop a disorder, like blood-injury- injection phobia, may also have a personality trait that makes them more likely to be in minor accidents that involve seeing blood. May have genetically determined tendency to create the environmental risk factor that triggers a genetic vulnerability. Whether or not genetic factors are involved depend on the type of trauma. Both genetic and environmental affected whether or not people were exposed to assaultive traumas; only environmental factors influence whether or not people were exposed to nonassaultive traumas. o Nongenomic Inheritance of Behaviour McGill's Michael Meaney "cross fostering": took rats born or fearful and easily stressed mothers and placed them with calm mothers. Demonstrated that calm and supportive behaviour could be passed down through generations of rats independent of genetic influences; rats born of fearful mothers and raised by calm ones were calmer than their counterparts. Environmental effects of early parenting seem to override genetic contribution to behaviour (Suomi and rhesus monkeys). Cultural, Social and Interpersonal Factors Fright disorder: exaggerated startle responses.o Susto: anxiety based symptoms (insomnia, irritability, phobias). Caused by 'black magic'. Called the 'evil eye' in some culture. What we fear is strongly influenced by our social environment and cultural context. Gender o Likelihood of having a particular phobia influenced by gender. Also difference in rates of mood disorders. o Could have something to do with our gender roles: not acceptable for men to show or admit fear in our culture. More acceptable to women to acknowledge fearfulness and so a phobia develops. Social Effects on Health and Behaviour o Greater number and frequency of social contacts, the longer you will live o More likely to catch a cold if social ties are minimal o Some believe that interpersonal relationships give meaning to life and those with something to live for can overcome physical difficulties and delay death o Possible that social relationships facilitate health promoting behaviours Influences on the Elderly o Expression of physical and psychological disorders differ with age o Over 65, those with few meaningful contacts and less social support have highly levels of depression and more reports of unsatisfactory quality of life Stigma o Psychological disorders carry a stigma in our society. Can make it hard for people
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