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Psych2310- Ch. 1 notes.doc

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Psychology 3301F/G
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Chapter 1Concepts of Abnormality Throughout History Many people who engage in strange behaviour or express thoughts that others may seem as strangedeviantyet not identified as having a disorder Must distinguish between strange behaviour and disordered behaviour Psychological abnormality behaviour speech or thought that impairs ability to function in a way that is generally expected of themin a context where normal behaviour is expected Mental illness Conveys same meaning as psychological abnormality but implies medical rather than psychological causePsychological disorder specific manifestation of impairment of functioning described by criteria that has been established by experts Psychopathology both the scientific study of psychological abnormalityproblems faced by those suffering from disorders Attempts at Defining AbnormalityConcept of abnormality changes over time and across culturesa relative term Several principles considered sufficient to define psychological abnormality note that no one principle is considered sufficient to define the termcombination of many may be necessary Principles used to define psychological abnormality Statistical Concept abnormal behaviour judged as abnormal if it occurs infrequently in the populationHowever not all infrequent behaviour should be judged as abnormal eg Athletic prowess is infrequent but not necessarily abnormal IQ scoresthose lower are abnormal higher considered a positive thing Highly reliant on bell curve Personal Dysfunction obviously maladaptive behaviour is often considered abnormalhowever what is typically abnormal What is appropriate functioning given the context Sometimes maladaptive behaviour is normative based on context eg High levels of anxiety and depression are normal after the death of a loved onewouldnt diagnose them with disorderBoundaries between normal and abnormalor what constitutes harmful dysfunction are not clear and controversial Wakefield harmful dysfunctionfailures of internal mechanisms to perform naturally selected functionsViolations of Norms Behaviour that runs counter to what the larger portion of society would consider appropriate However many individuals engage in socially unacceptable behaviour and would not be diagnosed eg Criminals who engage in crimesDefinition leads to psychologically abnormal people to be labelled as unpredictable and dangerouswhen in reality most disordered people are no more dangerous than the rest of the pop Social norms very over time and placenot a consistent set of criteria Culturally Relative norms of particular culture determine what is considered normalDiagnosis by an Expert in final analysis opinions of particular mental heath worker determines whether a person is said to suffer from psychological abnormality Although DSM defines the disorder it is up to professional judgement to make the final call Relating to this are psychological disorders a social construction
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