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Psychology 2310A/B Lecture Notes - Video Game Addiction, Cultural Bias, Observer-Expectancy Effect

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Rod Martin

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Research Methods in Abnormal Psychology
** exam in elborn college room 2468
Final exam scheduled for Friday april 19th 2pm
Last week con’t
Classification and diagnosis
DSM is a work in progress, never really done
Classification system evolves over time and is never perfect
DSM: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
DSM 1 1952 60 disorders
DSM 2 1968 145 disorders
o Many disorders will be broken up in to 2 or 3 different disorders
o Psychoanalytic influence: many problems that people had were not seen as mental
disorders at one time
o Many people are using the DSM to identify more problems that relate to their
o Vague, descriptions, poor reliability
DSM 3 1980 200+ disorders
o Atheoretical approach: made an effort to describe mental disorders using neutral
language without making assumptions about the causes
o people from different approaches could use it
o More precise diagnostic criteria for better reliability
o Multi-axial system
DSM 4 1994 300+ disorders
o Extensive field trials reliability, validity
DSM 4 TR 2000
o TR means text revision
o Classification stayed the same, description provided of all the disorders was
DSM 5 is to come out this year
DSM 4 TR Definition of a Mental Disorder
A clinically significant behavioural or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in
an individual, is associated with present distress or disability (impairment in one or more
important areas of functioning) or significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain,
disability, or important loss of freedom (prison)
o Clinically significant means that the person cannot help themselves or deal with
the behavior on their own they need help from family, friends, or professionals
o DSM focuses on an individual not a group of people
o Distress person is very unhappy
o Disability ex: mania there is no distress but they are not functional
o Work and relationships if someone is having a lot of difficulty they usually have
trouble with work or they are not able to maintain meaningful relationships with
other people

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Must not be merely an expectable or culturally sanctioned response to an event (ex: death
of a loved one)
Must be considered a manifestation of a behavioural, psychological, or biological
dysfunction; in most cases it‟s a little bit of everything
Not just deviant behavior (political, religious, sexual)
Not just a conflict between individual and society
When diagnosing we are classifying disorders not people
o Person with schizophrenia, not schizophrenic
DSM recognizes that there are „fuzzy‟ boundaries of categories and that there are
variability between people within a category
Criticisms of DSM
Categorical vs dimensional issue
o You either have it or you don‟t categorical
o Through dimensional system you still have make a distinction as to whether the
person needs treatment or not
Heterogeneity within groups
o Polythetic approach to disgnosis
o Many people are similar to each other as far as symptoms go
Gender bias
o Some disorders are more likely to be diagnosed in men than women or women
than men
Cultural bias
o Some things that we look at as deviant is normal in other cultures
o Overlap of categories
o Axis 2 disorders less reliable
„inventing‟ new diagnoses
o Eg: selective eating disorder; very picky eaters
o Talking about adding video game addiction
Research Questions in Abnormal Psychology
Descriptive questions: how many people have this disorder?
Symptomatology - what is involved in this disorder?
Epidemiology how many people have this problem?
Etiology what are the causes of this disorder?
Treatment how can we help people who have this problem?
Epidemiological Research
Large-scale surveys of the general population
Incidence number of new cases of a disorder in a year
Prevalence frequency of a disorder at a given point in time
Lifetime Prevalence proportion of the population who meet criteria for diagnosis at some
point in their life
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