Get 1 week of unlimited access
Class Notes (1,051,541)
CA (601,579)
Western (58,623)
PSYCH (7,154)

Psychology 2310A/B Lecture Notes - Excitatory Synapse, Biopsychosocial Model, Butyric Acid

7 pages107 viewsFall 2012

Course Code
Psychology 2310A/B
Rod Martin

of 7
Lecture Week 2
Historical Views of Abnormal Psychology (Ch. 1)
Supernatural / Spiritual
Biological / Medical
Sociocultural / Environmental
Psychological / Cognitive
Integrative approaches Biopsychosocial
NB for a study guide to this section of chapter 1, see the course website
Contemporary Emphases
Emphasis on biomedical approach in the general culture, media
drugs, genetics, medical science
- “mental illness”
Biopsychosocial model in psychology
Pharmaceutical industry profit motive
Quick and easy solutions
Cost savings
Deinstitutionalization Community care
Theoretical Perspectives on Abnormal Psychology (Ch. 2)
Major Theoretical Models
Biological-medical (Biomedical)
- Focuses on the biology of the brain
- Approach taken by medicine and psychiatrists
- Focus is on abnormalities in the brain; psychological disorders ultimately have to do with
some kind of disease or problem that is going on in the brain
- Ultimate solution is biological intervention - drugs, surgery, etc
- Focuses more on the mine (the way people think, their cognitions, schemas, feelings,
relationships, etc)
- Different level of analysis
- Intervention will be psychological therapies
Humanistic / Existential
- Taken primarily by sociologists and anthropologists
- Focuses on the culture and broader things going on in the culture that attributes to
psychological disorders
Integrative theories
- Biopsychosocial perspective (taking all factors into account)
- Taking this kind of approach, the assumption is that no one explanation is enough for
understanding these psychological disorders because there are a lot of different factors
that contribute to the development to these disorders
Diathesis-stress model
Systems theory: Biopsychosocial
The Biomedical Approach
- Making the assumption that these abnormalities are biological abnormalities in the brain
- Psychological disorders are medical conditions and medical illnesses
Computer analogy: Hardware vs. Software
- If we think of our mind being a complex computer, we can think of hardware or software
- If the computer is crashing, the person repairing the computer must determine if it is a
hardware problem, or a software problem
- Hardware = electronic components of the computer (hard drive, wires, etc)
- Software = the programs that are running on the computer (apps, etc)
- So, when we think about the human mind, we can think about hardware and software
- The hardware is the actual brain (neurons, neurotransmitters, hormones, physiological
stuff, etc)
- Software = the programs running in the brain; our thoughts, memories, lifelong
experiences, what we have learned over the course over a lifetime, feelings, attitudes,
- From the biological perspective, we are looking at the hardware whereas from a
psychological perspective we are looking at the software
3 steps to go through to identify an illness:
1. Identify a syndrome
- Group of symptoms that fall together in a pattern in individuals
- This led to how we diagnose symptoms (DSM)
DSM - Diagnostic Manual we use for psychological disorders
2. Determine the cause(s)
e.g., infection, genetic abnormalities, hormone imbalances, neurotransmitter
Multifactorial causes eg, cancer, heart disease
3. Develop treatments
e.g., Antibiotics, vaccines, drugs, surgery, etc.
Lifestyle changes diet, smoking, exercise
Prevention awareness, social attitudes
Example: General Paresis
- Psychological disorder that really follows this 3 step process in the ideal way
- Identified back in the 1800‟s (insane asylums)
- A lot of patients seen as having this syndrome who were delirious, hallucinating, often
have really bizarre delusions, and then often would simply deteriorate more and more
until they had dementia, and gradually become completely paralyzed and ultimately die
- At one time, ¼ of the patients in mental hospitals had this disorder
- Eventually, they discovered it was due to syphilis (the bacteria that causes syphilis)
- When people contracted syphilis, there is a certain bacteria that gets into the body and
brain and gradually causes the brain to deteriorate and ultimately leads to death
- Once they had identified this bacteria, then they could start looking for a cure to get rid of
- Ultimately, in the 1930‟s they discovered penicillin (the first anti-biotic discovered) -
killing the bacteria in the body, and becoming a cure for syphilis
- We never see people with this „general paresis‟ anymore
Central Nervous System
- Focus on the nervous system (particularly central nervous system, and the brain)
- Most focus has been on neurotransmitters (where the „action‟ is when we are trying to
understand psychological disorders)
The Neuron
- Neuron is a cell; many, many neurons in our brain
- Dendrites receive signals from other neurons, and axons transmit signals onto other
Neurotransmission at the Synapse
- The synapse is the little gap between one neuron and the next
- The way one neuron sends a signal to another neuron is by releasing neurotransmitters
(tiny molecules that drift across the synapse and enter receptors in the post-synaptic
- 2 effects - either increasing or decreasing the likelihood of the next neuron being
activating (either excitatory or inhibitory neurons)
- After the neurotransmitters have done their work and there are extra neurotransmitters
floating in the synapse, the presynaptic neuron can either suck the neurotransmitters back
up into the neuron (vacuum for neurotransmitters to go back up) or the enzymes that
break down (metabolize) the neurotransmitters so that they don‟t work anymore (they
become neutralized)
How Neurotransmitters Might Contribute to Psychopathology
Too much of a neurotransmitter
Eg, Mania norepinephrine (excitatory neuron)
Too little of a neurotransmitter
Eg, Anxiety GABA (an inhibitory neuron that calms down the brain)
Too few or too many receptors
Eg, Schizophrenia excess dopamine receptors?
Too much or too little of the enzymes that deactivate
Reuptake may be too fast or too slow

Loved by over 2.2 million students

Over 90% improved by at least one letter grade.