Current Paradigms and the Role of Cultural Factors
- The conceptual framework or approach within which a scientist works.
- it’s a set of basic assumption that outline the particular universe of scientific
- Specify what problem scientists will investigate and how they will go about
- There are five paradigms:
1) Biological Paradigm
- Perspective that mental disorders are caused by aberrant biological
processes that is disrupted or not functioning normally.
- Has three areas of research within this paradigm
a) Behaviour Genetics
- The study of individual differences in behaviour that are attributable in part
to difference in genetic makeup.
- The phenotype changes over time and is viewed as the product of an
interaction between the genotype and the environment.
- Various clinical symptoms are disorders of the phenotype, not genotype
(since genotype is fixed at birth).
- The study of behaviour genetics has relied on four basic methods to uncover
whether a predisposition for psychopathology is inherited: comparison of
member of a family, comparison of twins, the investigation of adoptees, and
- In the family method, a genetic predisposition happens around family
members because the average number of genes shared by two blood relative
- The twin method- if monozygotic- twins have 100% idental genes, if
dizygotic- twins have 50% identical genes.
- Concordance rate is higher in MZ twins than in DZ twins, and thus most
heritable in MZ than DZ.
- The “equal environment assumption” is that the environmental factors that
are partial causes of concordance are equally influential in MZ and DZ
- Adoptees method studies children who were adopted and reared apart from
their parents with abnormal disorders.
b) Molecular Genetics
- tries to specify the particular gene or genes and the precise function
- genetic polymorphism- refers to the variability among members of a
species where it involved differences in the DNA sequence that can
manifest in very different forms among members in the same habitat.
- Linkage Analysis- is a method in molecular genetics that is used to
! They collect diagnostic information and blood samples from
affected individuals and their relative and use the blood samples to study
the inheritance pattern of characteristics who genetics are fully
understood, referred to as “genetic markers”
c) Biochemistry of Nervous System
- neuron (nerve cell) made up of four major parts; 1) the cell body,
2) Several dendrites, 3) one or more axons, 4) terminal button
located on many end braches of the axon.
- How a nerve impulse is sent-PAGE 36-37
-Neurotransmitters-chemical substances that allow a nerve impulse
to cross the synapse (the space between the terminal ending of the
sending axon and the cell membrane of the receiving neuron)
- Nor epinephrine-neurotransmitter involved in anxiety disorders
- Serotonin and dopamine are neurotransmitter of the brain.
Involved in depression (serotonin) and schizophrenia (dopamine).
! a given disorder maybe be caused by either too much or
too little of a particular neurotransmitter.
** Refer to pages 37-38 for structure and function of Human Brain**
- In 1985, psychoactive drugs were introduced in the US.
! Tranquilizers were effective in reducing the tension associated with
some anxiety disorders
! Antidepressants such as prozac to treat depression
!Antipsychotic drugs used for treating schizophrenia
! Stimulants such as Ritalin, employed in treating attention deficit
Reductionism- refers to the view that whatever is being studied can and
should be reduced to its most basic elements or
! reducing complex mental and emotional responses to
2) Psychoanalytic Paradigm
- Originally developed by Sigmund Freud
- The central assumption is that psychopathology results from
unconscious conflicts in the individual.
- Freud divided the mind into three principle parts:
! the Id- is present at birth and is the part of the mind that
accounts for all the energy needed to run the
- comprises basic urges for food, water,
elimination, warmth, affection and sex
- pleasure principle, and seeks immediate
- Id’s energy is all biological, but as infant grows,
the energy, now called LIBIDO, concerted into
psychic energy, all of it UNCONSCIOUS
- another means of gratification is primary
process thinking-generating images of what is
!The Ego- Primarily conscious and begins to develop
from the id during the second 6months of live.
- Secondary process thinking- the ego realizes
that operating on the pleasure principle at all time
is not the most effective way of maintaining life.
- Operates on the reality principle as it mediates
the demands of reality (superego) and the
immediate gratification desired by the id.
! The Superego- operates roughly as the conscience and develops
- knows what is and what is no acceptable.
- The apparently powerful role played by factors of which patients seem
unaware led Freud to postulate that much of human behaviour is
determined by forces inaccessible to awareness.
- As elaborated by Anna Freud, the discomfort experienced by the anxious
ego can be reduced in several ways by removing or avoiding the danger in
the external world or by dealing with it in a rational way.
- Defense Mechanism is a strategy, unconsciously used, to protect
the ego from anxiety.
! Repression- which pushes unacceptable thoughts and impules
into the unconscious
! Denial- entails disavowing a traumatic experience and pushing
it into the unconscious (ex. refusing to believe that
someone has died)
! Projection- attributed to external agents characteristics or
desires that an individual possesses but cannot
accept in his or her conscious awareness.
! Displacement- redirecting emotional responses from a perhaps
dangerous object to a substitute (ex. Yelling at a
friend instead of your boss)
! Reaction Formation- concerting one feeling, into its opposite
! Regression- retreating to the behavioral patterns of an earlier
! Rationalization- inventing a reason for an unreasonable action
! Sublimation- converting sexual or aggressive impulses into
socially valued behaviors (ex. Sex aggression leads
to drawing art)
- Classical Psychoanalysis is based on Freud’s second theory of neurotic
anxiety, that neurotic anxiety is the reaction of the ego when a previously
punished and repressed id impulse presses for expression