PSY240H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Nudity, Substance Abuse, Dsm-5

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14 Jan 2017
PSY240 Abnormal Psychology
Lecture 1 January 11, 2016
Defining abnormal
What is abnormal? What is normal? Several definitions we can’t agree on.
Is it abnormal or is it pathological?
Psychopathology: mental illness, easy to recognize, difficult to define.
- DSM is a system in which people who are experts in this field have agreed, that’s what it
is. We recognize it. When asked to define, there are too many different things we can’t
agree on.
- Symptom overlap, this is true for medicine as well
- Psychology has less definitive tests (medicine has blood tests and such that are more
- DSM-4 said it had to be a sad affect over a long period of time (weeks)
- DSM-5 said it doesn’t have to be a long period of time but it has to be really intense,
reason for change = treat it sooner rather than later
- Being sad is normal.
Abnormal = single incidence of behaviour, or over a long period of time
- Single incident: Suicide attempt
- Over a long period of time: Have to wash hands 20 times a day
Four Criteria for Abnormal Behaviour
1. Statistical criteria
o To measure and quantify behaviour using numbers
o Applying number to behaviour, scale of 1-10 how anxious are you however
problem = subjective bias
o Behaviour that deviates statistically from the norm/usual behaviour
o Mean, median, mode
o Variable (things that change): everything is variable
o Behaviour is very variable, making it difficult to measure and difficult to predict
o Favorable vs unfavorable behaviours (people participate in both anyway, despite
them being abnormal… i.e., drug abuse)
o Must be persistent, significant, and not typical for the person’s age (2 standard
2. Cultural norms
o Certain behaviours that are distinctive and severe enough to be considered
abnormal in most cultures (e.g. schizophrenia some cultures encourage
delusions and hallucinations however you have trouble interacting with other
people, have relationships or be productive making them abnormal to most
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