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Lecture

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 3140
Professor
Jennifer Lewin
Semester
Winter

Description
What is abnormal? 3 cases: PAUL ­ Reason=  unusual, rare, rigid pattern from young age, the fact that he is  concerned/distressed LISA ­ Impacting on day­to­day functioning, irrational logic, family members affected ARNOLD ­ Reality testing is questionable, unusual/rare, danger­ to himself and others ­ all 3 would meet criteria for potential psychological disorders PAUL: ­ paraphilia (i.e. fetish) LISA: ­ OCD ARNOLD: ­ schizophrenia 2 more cases: GREG MICHAEL Problems defining abnormality: 1. Michael vs. greg ­ Greg: eccentric/unusual behaviour not necessarily abnormal (by DSM standards) ­ Michael: eccentric + disturbed 2. Michael vs. Paul & Lisa ­ behaviours that are threatening to others (ex. murder) are not always signs of underlying  psychological disorder What is abnormal? Definition: ­ the scientific study of abnormal behaviour in an effort to describe, predict, Defining features of abnormality: 1. Statistical rarity ­ behaviour is abnormal if it occurs infrequently in the population ­ ^ NOT ALWAYS Problems: ­ NOT all infrequent behaviors should be judged as abnormal ­ example: Einstein­ innovative ideas ­ example: wayne gretzky­ great athleticism ­ not all "rare" behaviors are abnormal ­ How rare does it have to be to BE abnormal? ­ less than 5% in the general population (statistical strategy) ­ 2 standard  deviations from population that you would expect ­ study: ohayon, shapiro & kennedy (2000) ­ 13% of Torontonians met criteria for a mood (i.e. depression) or anxiety disorder 2. Distress ­ Many (but NOT all) people with psychological disorders report personal distress ­ eg. bipolar­ manic episodes (the extremely happy) ­ eg. grief 3. Dysfunction ­ Breakdown in cognitive, emotional or behavioural functioning ­ what is appropriate functioning? ­ CONTEXT­specific * eg. nazi concentration camps ­ NO clear cut boundaries ­ CONTINUUM rather than categorical * 4. Deviance (violation of cultural norms) ­ Thoughts, behaviors, or emotional reactions that run counter to cultural  expectations ­ Dynamic definition of abnormality as cultural norms change over time and vary  between places ­ e.g. sexual orientation (gay/lesbian, bisexual) ­ e.g. different depression lifetime prevalence rates: North America (8%) vs. Korea  (2%) 5. danger ­ to self or others ­ people with mental illness are 2­4 time more likely to be victim of violence  (CMHA) Summary: Defining abnormality 1. statistically rare 2. distress 3. dysfunction 4. deviance 5. danger side note­ how y
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