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Lecture 2

PSYCH257 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Kerry Jang, Eric Kandel, Psychopathology

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Uzma Rehman

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Psych 257 lecture 2
Chapter 2: An Integrative Approach to Psychopathology
Multidimensional Models of Abnormal Behaviour
Biological factors - genetics, physiology, neurobiology
Learning factors - conditioning, modeling
Emotional factors
Cognitive factors
Social factors
Cultural factors
Generic Contributions to Psychopathology
Available data suggest that genetic factors contribute to almost all psychological disorders but
account for less than half of this explanation this number is a really rough estimation because
different disorders have higher heritable factors such as schizophrenia while others have low
heritable factors such as phobias and eating disorders.
Most disorders are influenced by multiple genes, not caused by a single gene. You’re not going
to find one gene in one disorder - exception is Down syndrome.
Important to focus on the interaction between genetic and environmental influences
The Interaction of Genetic and Environmental Effects
Eric Kandel and gene-environment interactions
- Process of learning affects more than behavior
- Environment may turn on certain genes
- Brain and its functions are subject to change depending on the environment
The Diathesis-Stress Model
- Individuals inherit the tendencies to express certain traits or behaviors which may be
activated under conditions of stress
- Inherited tendency = diathesis or vulnerability which is a condition that makes a person
susceptible to developing a disorder
- When the right event comes (i.e., a stressor) the disorder develops
Reciprocal Gene-Environment Model
- Genes play an important role in determining stress to individuals
- E.g.: a person who has genetic vulnerability to develop a certain disorder such as blood
injury injection phobia may also have impulsiveness which might more likely get him
involved in accidents because of his tendency on rushing in to things.
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- Possibly, genes contribute on how we create our own environment
- Genes influence inherited personality traits such as impulsiveness that cause people to
enter dangerous situations
Non-Genomic Inheritance of Behaviour
- Genes are not the whole story
- Genetic influences are a lot less powerful than what is usually thought of
- The environment can still hold or mold the biological interactions that shape who we are
The Diathesis-Stress Model Evidence
Caspi et. al. 2003
A study conducted in New Zealand with 800 samples. They’ve followed individuals in 3 years.
The Rs wanted to show how genetics and environmental factors interact.
Ps drew blood. Looked for a vulnerability of particular genetic thing, presence of a serotonin
LL alleles cope better with stress; SS alleles cope less with stress
Individuals have s/s with maltreatment experiences were more likely to be depressed twice than
people with LL alleles
Evidence for the Reciprocal Gene- Environment Model
Genetic influences may increase the probability that an individual will experience stressful life
A study by Kerry Jang and his colleagues:
- Only environmental factors influence non-assaultive traumas like motor accidents
- Both genetic and environmental factors influence assaulted traumas such as robbery
OCD can often be treated by understanding
When we worry, a part of our brain detects the mistake and the anterior** makes you anxious
until it was corrected and finally the caudate
Steps: 1. Step back and realize that his experience is not a dangerous attack of germs but a
dangerous attack of OCD; Step 2: Reattribute the fear for what your brain is doing; Step 3:
Destruct yourself whenever something is bothering you, do something different; Step 4: when
you realize your OCD, you think that it’s not you, it’s OCD and you don’t have to do it over again.
Mindfulness an effective therapy for OCD
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