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Lecture 28

01:830:101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 28: Philippe Pinel, Running Amok, Demonic PossessionPremium

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Lawrence Jacobs

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Psychological disorder
A set of behavioral, emotional, and cognitive symptoms that are significantly distressing and
disabling in terms of social functioning, work endeavors, and other aspects of life
Abnormal psychology
An academic field devoted to the study of psychological disorders
People are fascinated by the exceptional, the unusual, and the abnormal. This fascination may be
caused by two reasons:
To study the abnormal is the best way of understanding the normal.
William James (1842-1910)
When behavior is deviant
, distressful,
psychiatrists and psychologists
label it as disordered.
Deviant, Distressful & Dysfunctional:
1.Deviant behavior (going naked) in one culture may be considered normal, while in others
it may lead to arrest.
2.Deviant behavior must accompany distress.
3. If a behavior is dysfunctional it is clearly a disorder.
Defining Abnormal Behavior:
Cultural influences on abnormality:
Culture-specific disorders are found everywhere and in every era.
Demonic possession - a common diagnosis for thousands of years.
Brain fag syndrome - a frequent complaint of West African students.
Brain fag syndrome (BFS) was described 1960. It was first discovered in Nigeria,
describing high school and university students with symptoms including somatic,
sleep-related and cognitive complaints, head and neck pains, difficulty in
concentrating and retaining information, and eye pain. It is caused by excessive
external pressure to be successful among the young.
Running amok - episodes of indiscriminate violent behavior in Southeast Asian men.
The Medical Model:
Philippe Pinel (1745-1826) from France, insisted that madness was not due to demonic
possession, but an ailment of the mind.
Defining Abnormal Behavior:
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