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Lecture 1

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Lecture 1 Introduction to Abnormal Psychology Context is CriticalRosenhan study done to highlight the importance of context in behaviour and labelling things as abnormalhe and 7 other friends went to 7 different institutions in 5 different states and all presented themselves in the same way gave fake names but gave the same symptomssaid they heard voices and each was admitted and quickly diagnosed with a disorderno other symptoms mentioned at time of admissiondiagnosis just changed once they were let out didnt say they were fine Context that people do these assessments judges if behaviour is normal or abnormal How is Abnormality DefinedCultural relativism and social norms y There are no universal standards for labelling a behaviour as abnormal y What is perceived as normal differs between cultures religious groups age groups and genders and varies across time and contextex sleeping in same bed with family members creating a shrine in ones house getting tattoos spiritual fasting etc y Advantagesallows for more acceptance can make a diagnosis in that context ex in that certain culture a lot of behaviour is motivated by culturesocial influences y Disadvantagesleads to stereotyping and prejudice may be diagnosed for something that another doesnt acceptbelieve may have completely accepting societys definition of whats normal ex obesity is normal in western culturesjust because everyone does it in society should we just accept itfemale circumcisionbecause its their culture we should just accept itUnusualness or statistical deviation y What is normal can be defined statistically be what is average behaviour therefore what is abnormal can be defined by what is rare in the populationanorexia is considered abnormal because its in one of the lower percentiles of the weight chart y Advantagesallows us to diagnose people by their behaviourDiscomfort y Subjectively perceived feelings of distressdifficulty coping with lifes demandsy Advantagesthese feelings give an opportunity to diagnosis may reduce overpathologizing if you feel sad for a little while we wont diagnose that y Disadvantagespeople could fabricate symptoms some are not good at explaining how they feel difficult for one making the diagnosis wheres the line of normal and abnormal y Some people may not experience distress during this time theyre ecstatic happiest in the worldcomes up with substance abuse eating disorders psychotic states Mental illness y Abnormality is the result of a mental illness or disease y Assumes theres a clear identifiable physical process that differs from health
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