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History & Theories of Abnormality

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University of Toronto St. George

Lecture 1History and Theories of AbnormalityWhat is abnormalWhat is normal in one culturesociety may not be normal in another culturesociety what is normal is usual defined by the standards and norms of a particular culturesociety Behaviour that deviates from the expectedCONTEXT is CRITICALRosenhan experiment 1973Highly education pplwhen to different mental institutionsall presented themselves in the same way hear voices in their head all were admitted All diagnosed with a psychological disorderNone of the staff thought the ppl were fake patients but the actual patients were onto them really quickly Had no problem getting in but had a harder time getting outeverything that they did was interpreted in the view of being a On avg took 19 days to be release Shows that if label someone or something as abnormaldetrimental to the personCulture relativismsocial norms definition of abnormal allows for more acceptance also kind of shows that all of our behaviour is motivated by culture differences Disadvantage leads to stereotyping every body does that inmen arent allowed to cry hard to diagnosewould have to know the culturebackground influences completely accepting societies definitions of normal ie a lot of ppl smoke in toronto a lot of people are obesethat doesnt mean its good though Shouldnt accept itUnusualnessStatistical Deviation ie statistical states transvestites etc Disadvantages would be that would have to define the experiences in terms of a mathematical formula which is not practicaleasy also where do you draw the line Just because are not statistically average doesnt mean are abnormal Advantage would be that the numbers cant really be wrong statistic is significant or notthere is a place to draw a lineDiscomfort Advantage sometimes ppl can be down for a wk or two but doesnt meant that they have depressiondepends on the person might reduce overpathologing certain behaviours some people might be really shy but its not harmful to them so dont need to pathologizeit this is the reason why homosexuality was stopped being defined as abnormal becaue the gay community was like you know what I dont feel bad I dont want to change my sexual orientation you dont need to diagnose me hard to know if someone is lying about the way they feel some people might be in denial result inDisadvantage
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