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Lecture 1 on intro to abnormal psych

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Konstantine Zakzanis

 Statistical infrequency starts to fall apart and we cannot rely on it all the time. We can’t define abnormality as being statistically infrequent because in some cases it is a positive abnormality ( remembering 15 digits)  Statistical infrequency falls apart when we don’t have any actual epidemiological evidence or statistics about certain things (i.e. playing with feces)  Violation of norms is also another way to prove abnormality  Distress and disability can also be used  Distress and disability when it is unexpected is a big hint towards abnormality  There is no one way to diagnose abnormal behaviour, no single definition  Every patient is different  In the beginning: people got rid of ‘abnormalities’ with demonology, exorcism, trepanning (make a whole in the skull by hitting it with a rock)  Persecution of ‘witches’ was also very common in Dark Ages  Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828) noticed that some students were better at some things than others.  Basic tenets of Gall’s system were: o The brain is the organ of the mind. Brain was responsible for behaviours o The mind is composed of multiple distinct, innate faculties. Certain parts of the brain are responsible for separate behaviours o Because they are distinct, each faculty must have a separate seat or ‘organ’ in the brain o The size of an organ, other things being equal, is a measure of its power o The shape of the brain is determined by the development of the various organs o As the skull takes its shape from the brain, the surface of the skull can be read as an accurate index of psychological aptitudes and tendencies  He was the originator of what later became phrenology  Felt around his students skulls and took detailed notes and tried to localize behaviours  Meanwhile, patients were housed in asylums, in deplorable conditions and some asylums would charge admission for people to come and see these ‘animals’  Paul Brocca: met a patient named “tan”. Tan could understand Brocca, but could not formulate speech other than ‘tan’. Brocca inspected his brain after tan died. Found a lesion in left lower front lobes Brocca’s area. This syndrome called Brocca's aphasia
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