Abnormal Psychology Unit 1 Learning Objectives
PSYCH 2245-Chapter 1 Lecture 1-Abnormal Behavior in Historical Context
1. Define abnormal behavior and describe psychological dysfunction, distress, and
atypical or unexpected cultural responses
Abnormal Behavior: A response in an individual that is usually caused by
distress or impairment and produced a response in that individual that is not
normally occurring in that culture.
Psychological Dysfunction: Most commonly identified by a noticeable
decline in functioning of mental processes, emotional processes, or
Psychological Distress: When the individual experiences extreme
Atypical or unexpected Cultural Responses: A response that does not
occur frequently in the population or which violates social norms.
2. Describe the scientist-practitioner model
Scientist-Practitioner Model: Can function in one or more of three ways:
The individual can be up to date on all the developments occurring in
their field and utilize them in practice to ensure patients they are
receiving the best possible care.
They constantly test their procedures to make sure they are efficient in
producing accurate results. These must be in working order to assure
patients and government agencies that their money and trust is well-
They may do their own research to produce new methods such as
diagnosis and treatment to keep away from “fads” of the field that may
not be effective.
3. Place psychopathology in its historical context by identifying historical conceptions
of abnormal behavior in terms of supernatural influences
From 900-600 B.C., during the Roman empire, both mental and physical
disorders were thought by many to be the work of the devil.
When the Catholic Church split in the late 14 century, nearly all sectors of
society began to believe that things such as witches and demon existed.
Many believed that any misfortune that came upon the community was
caused by people being possessed by evil spirits, so drastic measures
were taken to fight against the scourge of the devil.
Actions such as exorcisms, shaving the cross into people’s hair,
and chaining people to the front of churches so the evil spirits could
be warded away by hearing mass were all used.
However, closer to the enlightenment period, more rational and less satanic
views were taken on the matter
People now considered the idea that insanity was a result of
mental/emotional stress that that there could be a cure to the problem.
Anxiety and depression were now recognized as illnesses. However, the
associated symptoms of such ailments like sadness and lack of
motivation to do things were commonly associated with sin in the church
of acedia, or sloth. The basic treatments of these problems were sleep and immersing the
afflicted in a happy and nourishing environment as well as ointments,
potions, and cleansing baths.
However, people were still primarily religious and many thought these
illnesses were God punishing them for bad deeds
Treatments: exorcism, confinement, beatings, torture, physical shocks
such as dunking in ice barrels, or trying to scare off the demons by
suspending the individual over a pit of venomous snakes.
Oftentimes in Europe, there were occurrences of people having
compulsions to gather in the streets and jump, shout, and dance in
patterns together. Also known as Saint Vitus’s Dance or tarantism, the
experts of the towns attributed this behavior to bug bites or contagious
Paracelsus and the moon
He thought that the moon’s gravitational pull or stages had an impact on
human’s bodily fluids and in turn caused mental disorders
4. Trace the major historical developments and underlying assumptions of the
biological approach to understanding human behavior
A Greek physician who wrote the Hippocratic Corpus which stated that
any disease of the mind could be treated just like a physical disease. In
this book, he attributed mental diseases as being caused by heredity or
trauma. He thought that because the mind was the source of
intelligence, emotion, and consciousness that the disorders that caused
problems with these elements would be located there.
Coined the term hysterical which was used to describe somatic system
These disorders are recognized by physical impairments which
seem to have no identifiable physical cause such as blindness or
The Egyptians thought that it was caused only in women by a
“wandering uterus”, which they thought could only be cured by
marriage or vagina fumigation.
Syphilis was one of these diseases, which caused many mental
symptoms and resulted in death of the individual.
It was then that physicians noticed the difference between
people with syphilis and other mentally ill people: Most mentally
ill people seemed outwardly fine whereas people with syphilis
eventually died. This was the first time that a mental illness was
treated as a physical disease (done with the use of malaria-
infected blood and sometimes warded off the bacteria from the
brain but not always and can no longer be used as treatment
due to ethics).
Roman physician that developed the humoral theory
Believed functioning of the brain was due to the levels of humors
(liquids) that included blood, black bile, yellow bile, and phlegm.
This was the first time that a mental disorder was associated with
any form of biological imbalance in the body. Humors tied to the Greeks’ four common qualities which included
cold, dryness, heat, and moisture and the disorders were treated by
regulation of these qualities.
Bleeding or bloodletting: Blood was taken out of the afflicted
individual’s body, commonly by leeches
Instead of using the idea of humors in the body, they thought the
movement of wind or lack thereof caused mental disorders
Blockages correlated to cold and dark (yin)
Movement correlated to warm and life-sustaining (yang)
Treatment included trying to get the flow to increase with
methods such as acupuncture
John P. Grey
American psychologist who focused on biological tradition and thought
that mental disorders always had a physical cause and demanded the
mentally ill be treated in hospitals just like physically ill people.
Proper ventilation, rest, modified diet
Became more humane because the patients were treated as if they
were not responsible for their diseases as they had been in the past
Became more crowded, and thus more impersonal
Led to deinstitutionalization of patients that only added to the
1930s electric shock and brain surgery
Most treatment methods were discovered by accident
Used most commonly in mental hospitals to get patients to eat
and calm them down. However, as overdosing often occurred
to sedate the patients, they discovered that it caused patients
to become comatose, convulse, and sometimes cure them.
However, in later years it was barred from use because of the
high death rate.
Through experiments of mild electric shock he concluded
that no long-term damage resulted and only produced
small convulsions or memory loss
A friend of his tried the same experiment and reported
feelings of elation he believed could treat depression
1920s: Joseph von Meduna
He thought he had discovered a pattern that people with
epilepsy never exhibited schizophrenia (not true), and
believed that if he caused seizures in people with
schizophrenia that it would cure them.
1938: Ugo Cerletti and Lucio Bini
Administered 6 shocks to a patient with depression that
Modified shock therapy is still used
Early Drug Production 1950s:
First effective drugs were developed
Rauwolfia Serpentine (reserpine)
neuroleptics (major tranquilizers)
hallucinations and delusions could be diminished for the
controlled agitation and aggressiveness
benzodiazepines (minor tranquilizers)
1970s: benzodiazepines became some of the most