Textbook Notes (362,790)
Canada (158,054)
Psychology (1,851)
PSY240H5 (134)
Chapter 3


14 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto Mississauga
Ayesha Khan

PSY240 CHAPTER 3 – CAUSAL FACTORS AND VIEWPOINTS CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS FOR ABNORMAL BEHAVIOUR - Investigators prefer to speak of risk factors [variables correlated with an abnormal outcome] rather than causes Necessary, Sufficient, and Contributory Causes - Etiology – causal pattern of abnormal behaviour - Necessary cause – condition that must exist for a disorder to occur [if disorder Y occurs, then cause X must have preceded it] - Sufficient cause – disorder is a condition that guarantees the occurrence of a disorder [if cause X occurs, then disorder Y will also occur] - Sufficient cause may not be a necessary cause - Contributory causes – one that increases the probability of the development of a disorder but is neither necessary nor sufficient for the disorder to occur [if X occurs, then the probability of disorder Y increases] - Distal causal factors – some causal factors occurring relatively early in life may not show their effects for many years - Proximal causal factors – causal factors operate shortly before the occurrence of the symptoms of a disorder - Reinforcing contributory cause – condition that tends to maintain maladaptive behaviour that is already occurring – pleasant experiences may unintentionally discourage recovery Feedback and Circularity in Abnormal Behaviour - Task of determining cause-and-effect relationship focused on isolating condition X [cause] that can be demonstrated to lead to condition Y [effect] - Causal pattern – where more than one causal factor is involved - Cause follows a linear model – given variable or set of variables leads to a result either immediately or later - Difficulty distinguishing between what is cause and what is effect – effects of feedback and existence of mutual, two-way influences must be taken into account Diathesis-Stress Models - Diathesis – predisposition or vulnerability toward developing a disorder [relatively distal necessary or contributory cause but it is generally not sufficient to cause the disorder – instead must be a more proximal undesirable event or situation (the stressor) which may be contributory or necessary but generally not sufficient by itself to cause disorder except in someone with diathesis] - Stress – response of an individual to demands that he or she perceives as taxing or exceeding his or her personal resources PSY240 CHAPTER 3 – CAUSAL FACTORS AND VIEWPOINTS - Additive model – individuals who have a high level of diathesis may need only a small amount of stress before a disorder develops; but those who have a very low level of a diathesis may need to experience a large amount of stress for a disorder to develop [diathesis + stress] - Interactive model – some amount of diathesis must be present before stress will have any effect [someone with no diathesis will never develop the disorder, no matter how much stress he or she experiences whereas someone with diathesis will show increasing likelihood of developing the disorder with increasing levels of stress] - Protective factors – influences that modify a person’s response to environmental stressors, making it less likely that the person will experience the adverse consequences of the stressors [not necessarily positive experiences] - “steeling or “inoculation” effect – some stressors promote coping [negative ones] – more likely to occur with moderate stressors than with mild or extreme stressors - Protective factors most often lead to resilience – ability to adapt successfully to even very difficult circumstances - Resilience describes three outcomes o Good outcomes despite high-risk status o Sustained competence under threat o Recovery from trauma - Diathesis-stress models need to be considered in multicausal developmental models - Developmental psychopathology – focuses on determining what is abnormal at any point in development by comparing and contrasting it with the normal and expected changes that occur in the course of development VIEWPOINTS FOR UNDERSTANDING THE CAUSES OF ABNORMAL BEHAVIOUR Biological viewpoint – dominant in psychiatry and influential in clinical science Behavioural and cognitive-behavioural viewpoints – influential paradigms among clinical psychologists and some psychiatrists Sociocultural viewpoint – influential among psychologists and psychiatrists interested in effects of sociocultural factors on abnormal behaviour Biopsychosocial viewpoint – acknowledges biological, psychosocial, and sociocultural factors all interact and play a role in psychopathology and treatment BIOLOGICAL VIEWPOINT AND BIOLOGICAL CAUSAL FACTORS - Traditional viewpoint focuses on psychological disorders as diseases, many of the primary symptoms are cognitive, emotional, or behavioural - Psychological disorders viewed as disorders of the central nervous system, autonomic nervous system, and/or endocrine system - Neurological diseases – result from the disruption of brain functioning by physical or biochemical means Neurotransmitter and Hormonal Imbalances - Synapse - site of communication between the axon of one neuron and the dendrites or cell body of another neuron, which is a tiny fluid-filled space between neuron PSY240 CHAPTER 3 – CAUSAL FACTORS AND VIEWPOINTS - Neurotransmitters – chemical substances that are released into the synapse by presynaptic neuron when a nerve impulse occurs Imbalances of Neurotransmitters Imbalances can be created in a variety of ways: - May be excessive production and release of neurotransmitter substance into synapses causing excess in levels of that neurotransmitter - Dysfunctions in normal processes by which neurotransmitters released into synapse are deactivated - Problems with receptors in postsynaptic neuron [may be abnormally sensitive or abnormally insensitive] Chemical circuits – neurons that are sensitive to a particular neurotransmitter tend to cluster together, forming neural paths between different parts of the brain Monoamines – synthesized from a single amino acid - Norepinephrine [no adrenaline] – important in emergency reactions our bodies show when we are exposed to an acutely stressful or dangerous situation [fight or flight response] - Dopamine – implicated in schizophrenia and in addictive disorders - Serotonin – important effects on the way we think and process information from our environment, and on behaviour and moods [plays role in anxiety and depression] GABA – implicated in reducing anxiety, and other emotion states characterized by high levels of arousal Hormonal Imbalances Hormones – chemical messengers secreted by a set of endocrine glands in our bodies - Central nervous system linked to endocrine system by effects of hypothalamus on pituitary gland [produces variety of hormones that regulate or control other endocrine glands] Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-cortical axis, activation of axis involves: - Messages in form of corticotropin-releasing hormone [CRH] travel from hypothalamus to pituitary - [in response to CRH] pituitary gland releases adrenocorticotrophic hormone [ACTH] which stimulates cortical part of adrenal gland to produce epinephrine [adrenal] and stress hormone cortisol and cortisol mobilizes the body to deal with stress - Cortisol provides negative feedback to hypothalamus and pituitary to decrease their release of CRH and ACTH which reduces release of adrenaline and cortisol 3.1 – Neurotransmission and Abnormal Behaviour PSY240 CHAPTER 3 – CAUSAL FACTORS AND VIEWPOINTS Genetic Vulnerabilities Gene – consists of very long molecules of DNA [deoxyribonucleic acid] and are present at various locations on chromosomes, carriers of genetic information that we inherit from our parents and other ancestors Chromosome – chainlike structures within a cell nucleus that contain the genes - Normal humans have 46 chromosomes - Normal inheritance consists of 23 pairs of chromosomes , one of each from mother and father - 22 pairs determine biochemical action, individual’s general anatomical and other physiological characters rd - 23 pair – sex chromosome – determines individual’s sex - Research shows that abnormalities in structure or number of chromosomes associated with major defects or disorders o Down syndrome – [associated with recognizable facial features like flat face and slanted eyes] trisomy – set of three chromosomes instead of two in chromosome 21 – and extra chromosome is primary cause of disorder o Abnormalities can occur in sex chromosomes producing complications o Typically personality traits and psychological disorders not affected by chromosomal abnormalities, but by abnormalities in the genes on the chromosome o Vulnerabilities to psychological disorder are almost always polygenic – influenced by multiple genes - Behaviour is a product of the organism’s interaction with the environment, genes can affect behaviour only indirectly - Gene “expression” – the end product of an intricate process that may be influenced by the internal and external environment - Heredity determines ranges within which characteristic behaviour can be modified by environmental or experiential influences Relationship of Genotypes to Phenotypes Genotype – a person’s total genetic endowment Phenotype – observed structural and functional characteristics that result from an interaction of the genotype and the environment Genotype-environment correlation – when the genotype shapes the environmental experiences a child has Genotype-Environment Correlations Genotype may shape an individual’s environment: Passive effect – on environment, resulting from genetic similarity of parents and children Evocative effect – child’s genotype may evoke particular kinds of reactions from the social and physical environment Active effect – child’s genotype may play a more active role in shaping the environment “Niche” building – child seeks out or builds an environment that is suitable to their needs PSY240 CHAPTER 3 – CAUSAL FACTORS AND VIEWPOINTS Genotype-Environment Interactions  People with different genotypes may be differentially sensitive or susceptible to their environments Methods for Studying Genetic Influences Behaviour genetics – field that focuses on studying the heritability of psychological disorders: 1) family history, 2) twin method, 3) adoption method and linkage studies and association studies also added - Family history [pedigree method] – investigator observe samples of relatives of each proband or index case [subject, carrier, of the trait or disorder in question] to see whether the incidence increases in proportion to the degree of hereditary relationship, and incidence of the trait in a normal population is compared [as a control] with its incidence among relatives of the index cases – difficulty more closely related genetically tend to share similar environments - Twin method – o Identical twins – [monozygotic] share same genetic endowment, because they develop from single zygote, or fertilized egg o Concordance rate – percentage of twins sharing the disorder or trait [can conclude that no psychological disorders are completely heritable] o Nonidentical twins – [Dizygotic] twins do not share any more genes than do siblings from the same parents because they develop from two different fertilized eggs o Ideal study of genetic factors involves identical twins who have been reared apart in significantly different environments - Adoption method – o Biological parents of individuals who have a given disorder and who were adopted away shortly after birth are compared with the biological parents of individuals without the disorder who also were adopted away shortly after birthday to determine rates of disorder – expects to find higher rates of disorder in biological realties of those with disorder than in those without the disorder o Researchers compare rates of disorder in the adopted-away offspring of biological parents who have a disorder with those seen in the adopted-away offspring of normal biological parents – if there is genetic influence, should be higher rates of disorder in adopted-away offspring of biological parents who have the disorder Separating Genetic and Environmental Influences Shared environmental influences – those that would affect all children in a family similarly Nonshared environmental influences – those in which different children in a family differ Linkage Analysis and Association Studies – attempt to determine actual location of genes responsible for psychological disorders Linkage Analysis – capitalize on several currently known locations on chromosomes of genes for other inherited physical characteristics or biological processes  Successful in locating genes for single-gene brain disorders [Huntington’s disease] Association Studies – start with large group of individuals [with or without given disorder] and compare the frequencies of certain genetic markers that are known to be located on a particular chromosome [eye colour, blood group, etc.] and if one or more of the known genetic markers occur with higher frequency in individuals with disorder than in people without the disorder, researchers infer that one or more genes associated with disorder are located on same chromosome  More promising for identifying small effects of any particular gene PSY240 CHAPTER 3 – CAUSAL FACTORS AND VIEWPOINTS 3.2 – Nature, Nurture, and Psychopathology: A new Look at an Old Topic Misconceptions: [these are all false] - Strong genetic effects mean that environmental influences must be unimportant - Genes provide a limit to potential - Genetic strategies are of no value for studying environmental influences - Nature and nurture are separate - Genetic effects diminish with age - Disorders that run in families must be genetic, and those that do not run in families must not be genetic Temperament  Refers to child’s reactivity and characteristic ways of self-regulation - Early temperament thought to be basis from which our personality develops - 2-3 months of age: five dimensions of temperament can be identified: fearfulness, irritability and frustration, positive affect, activity level, and attentional persistence o Seem to be related to dimensions of adult personality: 1) neuroticism or negative emotionality, 2) extroversion or positive emotionality, 3) constraint [conscientiousness and agreeableness] Brain Dysfunction and Neural Plasticity Neural plasticity – flexibility of the brain in making changes in organization and/or function in response to pre- and postnatal experiences, stress, diet, disease, drugs, maturation, etc. – existing neural circuits can be modified or new neural circuits can be generated Developmental systems approach – acknowledges genetic activity influences neural activity, which in turn influences behaviour, which in turn influences the environment, but also that these influences are bidirectional PSYCHOSOCIAL VIEWPOINT Psychodynamic Perspectives  Emphasized role of unconscious motives and thoughts, and their dynamic relationships in determination of both normal and abnormal behaviour – *unconscious  Unconscious – experiences that have been repressed [pushed out of consciousness]  unconscious material can be brought into conscious awareness by means of psychoanalysis Fundamentals of Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory The Structure of Personality: Id, Ego, and Superego Id – source of instinctual devices [first structure to appear in infancy], drives considered to be of two types: 1) life instructs – constructive drives primarily of a sexual nature and constitute libido [basic emotional and psychic energy of life] 2) death instincts – destructive desires that tend toward aggression, destruction, and eventual death id operates on the pleasure principle, engaging in completely selfish and pleasure-oriented behaviour, concerned only with immediate gratification of instinctual needs without reference to reality or moral considerations id can generate mental images and wishfulfilling fantasies [primary process thinking], it cannot undertake the realistic actions needed to meet instinctual demands PSY240 CHAPTER 3 – CAUSAL FACTORS AND VIEWPOINTS Ego – mediates between the demands of the id and the realities of the external world, basic function is to meet id demands but in such a way as to ensure the well-being and survival of the individual - requires use of reason and other intellectual resources in dealing with external world and exercise of control over id demands - ego’s adapted measures – secondary process thinking - ego operates on reality principle superego – outgrowth of internalizing the taboos and moral values of society concerning what is right and wrong – what we refer to as the conscience - becomes an inner control system that deals with the unhibited desires of the id - often referred to as executive branch of the personality Anxiety, Defence Mechanisms, and the Unconscious Anxiety – generalized feelings of fear and apprehension - often the ego can cope with objective anxiety through rational measures - however, neurotic and moral anxiety cannot be dealt with through rational measures because they are in the unconscious o ego resorts to irrational protective measures – ego-defence mechanisms –discharge or soothe anxiety, but do so by helping a person push painful ideas out of consciousness rather than by dealing directly with the problem Table 3.1 – Ego-Defence Mechanisms Displacement – discharging pent-up feelings, often of hostility, on objects less dangerous than those arousing the feelings Fixation – attaching oneself in an unreasonable or exaggerated way to some person, or arresting emotional development on a childhood or adolescent level Projection – attributing one’s unacceptable motives or characteristics to others Rationalization – using contrived “explanations” to conceal or disguise unworthy motives for one’s behaviour Reaction formation – preventing the awareness or expression of unacceptable desires by an exaggerated adoption of seemingly opposite behaviour Regression – retreating to an earlier developmental level involving less mature behaviour and responsibility Sublimation – channeling frustrated sexual energy into substitutive activities Psychosexual Stages of Development – each stage characterized by a dominant mode of achieving libidinal [sexual] pleasure Oral stage – [first two years of life] *mouth, infant’s greatest gratification is sucking [process necessary for feeding] Anal stage – [ages 2 – 3] *anus, during the time when toilet training is going on and urges for retention and elimination Phallic stage – [ages 3 - 5 or 6] *genitals, self-manipulation of genitals Latency stage – [ages 6 – 12] sexual motivation recede in importance as a child becomes preoccupied with developing skills and other activities Genital stage – [after puberty] sexual relations Oedipus Complex – [during phallic stage] boy is in love with mother and therefore kills father, views father as rival and fears that father will punish son’s lust by cutting off his penis  castration anxiety – forces boy to repress his sexual desire for his mother and his hostility toward his father PSY240 CHAPTER 3 – CAUSAL FACTORS AND VIEWPOINTS Electra complex – girl desires to possess her father and replace her mother, each girl experiences penis envy [wishing she could be more like her father and brothers] Newer Psychodynamic Perspectives Anna Freud  concerned with how the ego performed its central functions as the “executive” of personality. According to this view, psychopathology develops when ego does not function adequately to control or delay impulse gratification or does not make adequate use of defence mechanisms when faced with internal conflicts – ego psychology Other theorists  focused the role of an infant’s very early relationships (especially mother-infant relationship) on development of his or her personality and self-concept Third group of theorists  focused on social determinants of behaviour and on importance of
More Less

Related notes for PSY240H5

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.