Psychology 1000 Lecture Notes - Schizotypal Personality Disorder

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My Thoughts on the Columbine Shooting Video
In response to the Columbine Shooting video, I believe that each one of the psychological perspectives
discussed in chapter 1 played a role in the violent and aggressive behaviour of the shooters.
First of all, the biological perspective is one of the major perspectives in psychology and focuses on the
idea that behaviors have biological causes. The biological approach studies behaviour by focusing on
things like the effects of child abuse on future actions, how head injuries can affect behaviour, and most
importantly whether or not genetics can explain criminal behaviour. The biological perspective
emphasizes the role of the brain, and biochemical factors and hormones that can influence ones
behaviour and actions. When looking at the Columbine Shooting it is clearly evident that Dylan and Eric
had an inclination to perform violent and aggressive actions. This type of behaviour can be influenced by
an imbalance in certain hormones or biochemical's which in turn caused them to display aggressive and
violent behaviours. For example, adrenalin can be described as the aggression hormone and an
increased production of adrenalin can cause rage, violence, and aggression. It has also been found that
too low a level of cholesterol can cause aggressive behaviour as well. There is a good possibility that the
criminals had an increased production of these hormones or other aggression hormones and that is one
of the factors that led to their violent actions. Another factor that we can consider is if either one of the
shooters had experienced any form of child abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, neglect, bullying, etc)
earlier on in life. There have been many studies done that reveal that individuals who are subjected to
any form of abuse as children are most likely to connect to violent and aggressive behaviours later on in
life. Therefore, it is a reasonable assumption to make that the violent actions of Dylan and Eric could
have also been caused by any previous experiences of abuse.
The psychodynamic perspective searches for the causes of behaviour within the inner workings of our
personality, emphasizing the role of unconscious processes and unresolved conflicts from the past. A
psychodynamic perspective focuses on the idea that experiences, often in childhood, shaped who
people are and how they think today. In Dylan and Eric's situation, it is possible that this aggressive
behaviour came from some sort of traumatic experiences which they experienced much earlier on in
life. Dylan and Eric may have experienced some sort of abuse or parental rejection as a child and that
influenced their decision to take the lives of many innocent people. Dylan and Eric may not have known
about these experiences and it was their unconscious which caused these individuals to commit the
violent acts that they did.
The cognitive perspective of psychology focuses on studying mental processes. It basically studies how
individuals encode, process, store, and retrieve information and how this information is used to reason
and solve problems. The cognitive processes that go on inside your head are what allow individuals to
understand their environment and how their environment affects them and how they affect their
environment. Obviously studying thoughts isn't an easy task to do because unlike observable behaviour,
thoughts cannot be examined and measured. However, psychologists trying to understand the thoughts
and mental processes involved in Eric and Dylan's decisions could examine they're journals and diary
entries and determine why they initiated the shooting. By understanding the thought processes of Eric
and Dylan a psychologist would then be able to diagnose them with a certain problem or personality
disorder such as a depressive, passive-aggressive, or schizotypal personality disorder.
The sociocultural perspective focuses on the manner in which culture is transmitted to its members and
looks at the important contributions that society makes to individual development. In the case of Eric
and Dylan, there is a very good possibility that they were bullied at Columbine high school or were
considered to be the "geeks" , or "losers" of the high school. This could have caused them to overreact
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