PS280 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Tabula Rasa, Panic Disorder, Mental Disorder

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14 Aug 2019
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Theoretical Perspectives on Abnormal Behaviour
-beginning in 20th century, there have been two main streams of throught concerning mental disorders;
one focusing on biological aspects, the other on environmental influences (nature/nurture distinction)
-some behavioural theories (Skinner, 1953) attribute no effects at all to biology, characteristic of John
Locke's (1632-1704) tabula rasa
Biological & psychodynamic approaches: dysfunction as product of forces beyond individual's control
Humanistic & existential approaches: lay responsibility for action/choices on the shoulder of individual
-biological perspective: seek physical disorder, formulate diagnostc system that classified people as
disorded, physical interventions are treatment of choice
-behavioural perspective: environmental events shake dysfunctional responses, emphasize
classification of behaviours not people, treatment = manipulate environment, modify perceptions
-perspective is influenced less by the weight of evidence than by prevailing social belief system +
disposition to see human behaviour as determined by factors beyond or within control of individual
-theory is useful not bc it is true, but bc it generates research that leads to an increase in knowledge
Single factor explanation: genetic defect or single traumatic experience causes mental disorder
Interactionist explanation: behaviour is product of interaction of a variety of factors
Theories (level of explanation):
-some try to explain all human behaviour (ex Maslow's theory of self-actualization)
-some try to explain all abnormal behaviour (Freud)
-some try to account for all disorders within a particular category
-some endeavour to reveal causes of a particular problem like panic disorder
-some attempt to elucidate the influence of a single factor within more general theory
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