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Abnormal Behaviour in Historical Context Notes from the first lecture as well as the assigned reading (Chapter 1). Covers the introduction to abnormal behaviour and psychological disorders, the science of Psychopathology and the many models of psychology

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Uzma Rehman

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Abnormal Behaviour in Historical Context January-04-11 1:39 PM Psychological disorder: behavioural, emotional or cognitive dysfunctions within an individual associated with distress or impairment in functioning and a response that is not typical or culturally expected. Phobia: disorder characterized by marked and persistent fear of an object or situation What is a psychological disorder?  Defined by psychological dysfunction, personal distress, and atypical/not culturally expected responses. All criteria must be met for a psychological disorder o Psychological dysfunction; breakdown in cognitive, emotional or behavioural functioning. o Personal distress: individual must be extremely upset, interfering with everyday activities (boy who faints at the sight of blood=disorder). However, some disorders are characterized by a lack of distress o Atypical/not culturally expected responses: the greater the deviation from the norm, the more abnormal it is. Violation of social norms can also constitute abnormal behaviour. Must be culturally atypical; trance-like states and possessions atypical in Western culture, but is acceptable in other societies. Must pay attention to what is functional or dysfunctional in a given society.  The three Ds: o Deviance: different, extreme, unusual o Distress: unpleasant and upsetting o Dysfunction: causes interference with life  Statistical deviance: behaviour that does not appear frequently. However, this does not define as all infrequent behaviour would be considered deviant. Also many psychological disorders are fairly frequent  Distress: behaviour must be personally distressing before it can be labelled abnormal. Manic episodes provide great positive feelings for the individual, and not distressing to the individual. However, it is labelled as part of a psychological disorder. Same with psychopaths who do things socially unacceptable but that they do not see as problematic.  Most psychological disorders are extreme expressions of otherwise normal emotions, behaviours and cognitive processes.  Not easy to decide what represents a dysfunction or disorder; consider how they match up to the typical profile or prototype.  Szasz: believed mental illness was a myth and practice of labelling mental illnesses should be stopped. Argued that the criteria used for determining mental illnesses are subjective judgements whereas diagnoses for physical diseases are objective.  Albee: criticized the concept of 'mental disease' and use of the medical model and diagnoses in conceptualizing abnormal behaviour.  Definition of abnormal behaviour: breakdown in cognitive, emotional or behavioural functioning. Schizophrenics sometimes see or hear things (cognitive), individuals with mood disorders show emotional breakdown. Distress or impairment common for most disorders; the breakdown is usually accompanied by distress. Difficulty performing appropriate and expected roles; impairment is set in the context of a person's background, how was the person doing before the problem began (benchmark for how the disorder is affecting their life). Atypical or unexpected cultural responses. Science of Psychopathology  Psychopathology: scientific study of psychological disorders  Clinical psychologists typically get a PhD; prepares them to conduct research into causes and treatments of psychological disorders and to diagnose, assess and treat these disorders. Can also get a PsyD which has more emphasis on the clinical practice and less on the research training.  Psychologists with other specialty training concentrate on investigating determinants of behaviour, but do not assess o
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