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Psychology 2310A/B Lecture Notes - Abnormal Psychology, Personal Distress, Personality Disorder

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Rod Martin

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Tutorial Week 1:
How do we define “Abnormality”?
How we define abnormality is fuzzy, not clear cut
Abnormal Psychology
A sub area of psychology, looking at the study of human behaviour; abnormal means
something that deviates from the norm, different from how others act
Many people would be outside the range of normal but would not be considered
abnormal such as exceptional athletes
Abnormal relates to a more negative than positive way
Biological/medical view of things, not all types fit neatly in to this view such as
Mental Illness
Favoured by the general population
Illness, having a psychological disease
In favour because it combats stigma, if someone has a mental illness its more
understandable for their lifestyle, they cannot be blamed for what they do
Psychological Disorder
DSM diagnostical manual for diagnosing psychological disorders
Breakdown of functioning: accounts for biological, psychological, social factors
Not used anymore by professionals, used to mean mental illness
Psychotic, Neurotic
Used to be technical, not used anymore
Psychotic schizophrenia, bipolar
Neurotic anxious, used more for personality disorders
“Lunatic,” “idiot”
Used to be terms used, now seen as derogatory
Some Case Examples …
Diverse types of problems included in “abnormal psychology”
What characteristics do they all have in common?
Distress most have distress but not all; ex: bi-polar disorder patients are not in
distress while in their „abnormal‟ manic state
Difficulties in defining “Abnormality”
No necessary and sufficient characteristic
Necessary = all people with “abnormality” have the characteristic
Sufficient = no people without “abnormality” have the characteristic
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