CHAPTER 2 – Paradigms & shit
“A paradigm is a set of basic assumptions, a general perspective, that defines how to
conceptualize and study a subject, how to gather and interpret data, even how to think about a
Essentially, a paradigm is a set of basic rules, or “guidelines” scientists follow when they are
doing research etc. to try and be objective in their studies and so that people studying the same
thing will be doing their research in the same format because they are committed to the same
rules as their co-scientists.
Main paradigms being discussed are biological, psychoanalytic, humanistic and existential,
learning, and cognitive.
The biological paradigm follows the somatogenic hypothesis, that mental disorders are caused by
aberrant biological processes. This is also referred to as the medical model or disease model.
-Dominant paradigm from late 1800’s to early 20th in Canada and elsewhere
-Ex. Hall and his ovary removal to cure mental illness.
Contemporary (Modern) approaches to biological paradigm
Behavior Genetics and Biochemistry
-Study of difference in behavior due in part to differences in genetic make-up
-Genotype is unobservable genetic constitution, Phenotype is observable trait
-The environment effects the Phenotype, someone with a genetically high IQ might not be
smart due to the environment they were raised in.
-Even if someone is genetically predosed to develop schizophrenia or anxiety disorders,
they may not depending on the environment in which they were brought up.
-A predisposition (diathesis) may be inherited, but not the disorder itself
There are 4 basic methods in behavior genetics that tell us if something has a predisposition:
family method, twin method, adoptee method and linkage analysis.
-people who share 50% of their genes with someone is known as a first degree relative.
-Family method studies genetic predisposition cuz average number of genes shared by 2
blood relatives is known.
-25% of gene share known as second degree relatives
-Index cases or probands are the sample people that bear the diagnosis in question
-When these people are studied, if it is found that first degree relatives have a higher
disorder rate than the general population (schizophrenia 10% in relatives and 1% in
society) then the disorder can be considered inheritable.
-Both monozygotic and dizygotic twins are being compared
-MZ twins are identical and share 100% of their genes
-DZ twins are not identical and only share 50% of their genes
-When a twin is diagnosed with a disorder they are said to be concordant
-When the concordance rate is higher for MZ twins than for DZ twins, it can be said that
the characteristic is inheritable.
-Twin methodology is useful because of equal environment assumption. This assumes that
the environmental factors that could be a partial cause of concordance are equally
influential for MZ and DZ twins. This way if concordance > in MZ than DZ, we know its
-Ex: The PTSD study with twins have complications because of the environment, the sex
and the age when the traumatic incident happened. When they eliminated these
complications, they found both genetic and non-shared environmental factors contributed
to PTSD. Thus genetic factors may help determine the extent of stress after a traumatic
-Useful because the abnormal parent is not the one rearing the child
-If the child still develops the problem even though they are reared by normal adults, can
be concluded that the problem is genetic.
-Goes beyond simple attempts to prove a genetic component
-Tries to find the location of the gene involved
-Find the genetic marker (something that they know comes along with the abnormality,
such as a change in eye color so they know that it is located in a nearby area on that same
Biochemistry in the Nervous System
-Each neuron has 4 major parts: the cell body, several dendrites, one or more axons of
varying lengths, and terminal buttons on the end branches of the axon.
-When a neuron is excited, signal propagates as nerve impulse, to terminal endings.
-Neurotransmitters released from terminal button into the synapse and bind with receptor
sites on the opposite neuron to either propagate or stop signal.
-Some neurotransmitter does not reach other neuron, it is instead broken down by enzymes
or gone through reuptake.
Several neurotransmitters have been implicated in psychopathology:
-Norepinephrine, part of peripheral sympathetic nervous system, involved in producing
high arousal and therefore maybe anxiety disorders
-Serotonin and dopamine are in the brain. Seratonin involved in depression while
Dopamine involved in schizophrenia.
-GABA inhibits nerve impulses and maybe involved in anxiety disorders
-Mania results from too much Norepinephrine
-Anxiety is from too little GABA
Different problems in neuron can effect the excitement of nerve cells
-Enzyme catalyzed reactions used to make NT, too much/too little can result in an error in
-Too much leftover NT (failure in reuptake) can results in a double dosage at the next
neuronal excitement, making it more likely for a new nerve impulse
-Receptor sites could be at fault with too many or too sensitive receptors. Delusions and
hallucinations of schizo’s may result from too much dopamine receptors.
Read structure and func. Of human brain on page 37.
Biological approaches to treatment
Since causes are biological, they can be treated by fixing that biological disorder:
-Valium (tranquilizer) effective in reducing tension with anxiety disorder by stimulating
-Antidepressants (Prozac) increase neural transmissions in neurons that use serotonin by
inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin.
-Antipsychotic drugs (Thorazine), used to treat schizo, reduce activity of neurons that use
dopamine by blocking their receptors.
-Stimulants children with ADHD. They increase levels of several NT’s that help
children pay attention.
Reductionism: view that whatever is being studied can and should be reduced to its most basic
elements or constituents.
The Psychoanalytic Paradigm
Originally developed by Sigmund Freud, this Paradigm’s central assumption is that
psychopathology results from unconscious conflicts in the individual.
Classical Psychoanalytic Theory
-Refers to original views of Freud
-Divided the mind into 3 principles
A paradigm is a set of basic assumptions, a general perspective, that defines how to conceptualize and study a subject, how to gather and interpret data, even how to think about a particular subject. Main paradigms being discussed are biological, psychoanalytic, humanistic and existential, learning, and cognitive. The biological paradigm follows the somatogenic hypothesis, that mental disorders are caused by aberrant biological processes. This is also referred to as the medical model or disease model. Dominant paradigm from late 1800"s to early 20th in canada and elsewhere. Hall and his ovary removal to cure mental illness. Study of difference in behavior due in part to differences in genetic make-up. Genotype is unobservable genetic constitution, phenotype is observable trait. The environment effects the phenotype, someone with a genetically high iq might not be smart due to the environment they were raised in.