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Chapter 2

PSY240H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Observational Learning, Classical Conditioning, Psychoactive Drug

Course Code
Norman Farb

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Chapter 2 - Changing conceptions of Mental Illness:
1. Historical consideration in understand psychopathology:
-Psychology seeks to describe and understand human behaviour and experience.
-the role of the body and its involvement in our mental process was a historical
conception that has influenced psychology
-No one today would think of the heart being involved in memory as did Aristotle in
the 4th century BCE.
Ancient Greek and Roman Influences- Mental illness involves the brain.
-Greeks believed that complex processes could be understood by breaking them
down into part.
- Greek suggested that all things in the world can be understood in the terms of just
4 elements; Earth ,Fire , Water and Air
-these 4 elements to the form of what were called humors, which were yellow bile
(fire), blood (air), phlegem (water) and black bile (earth). Blood was associated with
the heart black bile was the spleen, yellow bile was associated with the liver, and
phlegen with the brain. And when they were out of balance disease was created
Psychopathology in the Middle ages:
After the Greek and roman period the middle ages approached which emphasised
mental illness
-mental illness was seen from the standpoint of a religious perspective wit the devil
being a major player.
-Malleus Maleficarum (the Hammer of the witches ) was a book published by 2
German priest and approved by the pope- explained how witches existed and flew
through the air.
- book described in some detail particular characteristics of different disorders
including bipolar disorder, depression and such psychotic proses as hallucination
and delusion
2. Discovering the functions of the brain in behaviour and psychopathology
Thomas willis (1621-1675) was interested in neurology and in fact coined the term
along with a number of anatomical terms such as lobe, hemisphere, pyramid,
peduncle, and corpus striatum.
- He was the first person to use the word psychology in English although
psychologia meaning study of the psyche or soul- had been used in the late 1500.
-Willis combined the study of structure and function; he suggested that lower brain
structures were responsible for more basic functions of life and that these
structures could be found across a variety of vertebrates.
- In his own writing Willis noted how mania and melancholia (depression) would
change into one another and thus gives us a 1600s description of bipolar disorder,.
(previously called manic depression).
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- Willis contributed greatly to the beginning of neurology including his discovery of
what is now called the circle of Willis, a structure of blood vessels that supplies
blood to the brain
-He was also the first person to number the cranial nerves.
-Willis clarified the anatomy and physiology of the brain and nerves and put them
on their modern footing.
- By the end of the 1700s the nervous system had been completely dissected and the
major parts described in detail.
- But the 1800s individuals such as Benjamin franklin experimenting with lightning
rods and kites, published works on the nature of electrical activity in general.
- Later in the century scientist such as Luigi Galvani and Emil du Bois
Reymond were able to show electrical stimulation would cause a frogs leg to
- Hughlings Jackson explained the brain from a developmental and
evolutionary prospective.
- Suggested 2 principles based on partly on evolutionary analysis.
- The first principle is hierarchical integration through inbitionary control.
By this he means that the various levels of the brain such as the brain stem,
the limbic system, and the neo cortex, are able to interact with one another.
The type of interaction from the higher level is restricting or inhibiting the
lower levels.
-Jacksons second principle is encephalization. This is the principle by
which systems in the brain that perform one task for example, over
evolutionary time are taken over by a general purpose control system that is
involved in a number of different tasks
The 1900s and evolution
Variation was to become one of the major components of Darwin’s thinking
concerning evolution. It is the assumption that heritable variations can do occur in
Natural selection is Darwin’s idea that if an individual has even a slight variation
that helps it to compete successful for survival then over time the species will be
made up more and more of members with these characteristic. And less and less of
individuals lacking these features.
Sexual selection: Darwin’s later extended theory. Sexual selection is the manner in
which males and females choose a mate.
Search for organization
- one of the themes of the sciences of the 1800s was the search for organization. A
similar search was going on in medicine in terms of disease as well as clinical
- IN the second half of the 1900, Charcot sought to bring organization to an
understanding of neurological disorder through a variety of methods.
Symptoms: features observed by the patent
signs : features observed by the clinician
Syndrome: determination of which signs and symptoms go together.
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