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Chapter 2

Chapter 2 of textbook covered in week 2 of FALL 2010 semester


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYB32H3
Professor
Konstantine Zakzanis
Chapter
2

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PSYB32 CHAPTER 2: CURRENT PARADIGMS & THE ROLD OF CULTURAL FACTORS
SEPT. 20TH. 2010
-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 relevant data and how to think
about a particular subject
-Thomas Kuhn: subjective factors as well as limitations in our perspective on the world enter
scientific inquiry; his view is the notion of a paradigm:
-the conceptual framework within which the scientist works; they specify what problems
scientists will investigate and how they go about their investigation; a paradigm injects
inevitable biases into the definitn and collectn of data and may also affect the
interpretation of facts
-the meaning or importance of data may depend on the extent on a paradigm
-5 paradigms: biological, psychoanalytical, humanistic and existential, learning, and
cognitive
1. BIOLOGIAL PARADIGM: of abnormal behave is a continuation of the somatogenic hypothesis;
holds that mental disorders are caused by deviant biological processes; aka the medical/disease
model.
-Louis Pasteur: relationship btwn bacteria & disease...germ theory of disease provided a new
explanation for pathology; but this theory did not account for all diseases
-e.g. Heart Disease depends on many other factors (genetic makeup, smoking, obesity etc.)
-a biological process is disrupted or not fcning normally
-Hall: use of gynaecological procedures to treat insanity in women from BC: insanity exists with
the Ego is dominated and controlled by the influence from the diseased periphery nerve
tract/center...removal restores; removal of ovarian cysts/entire ovaries was used as treatment for
melancholia, mania, delusns
-heredity probably predisposes a person to have an increased risk of developing schizo;
depression may result from chemical imbalances w/in brain; anxiety disorders may stem from
defect w/in the ANS that causes person to be too easily aroused; dementia can be traced to
impairments in structures of the brain
-psychopathology: view of some disturbance of some biological process; solution is found w/in the
body; 3 main areas of research w/in this paradigm: behave genetics, molecular genetics,
biochemistry
-Behaviour Genetics: each chromosome made up of many genes = carriers of genetic info
(DNA); behave genetics =study of indiv diffs in behave that are attributable in part to diffs
in genetic makeup;
-the total genetic makeup of an indiv, is called the genotype = unobservable genetic
constitution; in contrast, phenotype = totality of observable, behavioural
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characteristics, such as level of anxiety; phenotype changes over time and seen as
the product of the interactn btwn the genotype + environ. E.G. capacity for
intelligence, depends on education
-many syndromes are disorders of the phenotype, not genotype; can inherit the
genotype for schizo, but whether these genotypes will eventually produce the
phenotypic behave will depend on the environ/experience
-a predisposition, aka diathesis, may be inherited, but not the disorder itself
-study of behave genetics has relied on 4 basic methods to uncover whether a
predisposition for psychopathology is inherited:
1. Family Method: used to study a genetic predisp among members of a fma b/c the
avg no. of genes shared by 2 blood relatives is known;
-ppl who share 50% of their genes w/a given indiv are called first-degree-
relatives of that person; nephew genetic makeus/nieces share 25% of an
uncle/aunt and called second-degree-relatives; if a predisp for a mental
disorder can be inherited, a study of the fam should show a relationship btwn
the no of shared genes and the prevalence of the disorder in relatives
-sample indivs who bear the diagnosis in question, called index cases or
probands; then relatives are studied to determine the freq w/which the same
diagnosis might be applied to them;
-first-degree-relatives of index cases should have the disorder @ a rate
higher than that found in the general pop. E.g. 10% vs. 1% in pop
2. Twin Method: both MZ and DZ twins compared; when twins are similar
diagnostically, they are concordant;
-to the extent that a predisp for a mental disorder can be inherited, concordance for
the disorder should be greater in MZ than in DZ; when MZ concordance rate is
higher than the DZ rate, the characteristic being studied is said to be heritable
-ability to offer a genetic interpretation of data from twin studies relies on the equal
environ assumption = environmental factors that are partial causes of concordance
are equally influential for MZ and DZ pairs (e.g. equally no. of stressful events)
-study of PTSD, Stein et al. Showed 3 factors as biasing heritability estimates:
violation of equal environments assumption, the ex of the participant, and his/her
age when the assessment took place; when they controlled these factors, found that
genetic and non-shared environmental factors contributed to symptoms of PTSD
-these genetic factors may determine, in part, the extent to which a person i
likely to experience PTS after an assaultive trauma
-3. Adoptees Method: study children who were adopted and reared apart from their
parents with abnormal disorders; eliminates being raised by disordered parents;
support for the predisp of genetic disorders
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-Molecular Genetics: tries to specify the particular gene(s) involved and the precise fcning
of these genes;
-allele: any one of several DNA codings that occupy the same position of location on
a chromosome; a persons genotype is their set of alleles
-genetic polymorphism = variability among members of species; diffs in DNA
sequence that can manifest in diff forms among members of the same habitat;
mutations in a chromosome that can be induced or naturally occurring.
-Linkage analysis = method in molecular genetics that is used to study ppl; typically
to study families in which a disorder is heavily concentrated; use their blood
samples to study the inheritance pattern of characteristics whose genetics are fully
understood, called genetic markers.
-eg. Eye colour controlled by a gene in a sp. Location on a sp. Chromosome;
occurrence of some form of psychopathology among relatives goes along w/the
occurrence of another characteristic whose genetics are known (genetic
marker), it is concluded that the gene predisposing indivs to the
psychopathology is on the same chromo and in a similar location on that
chromo. (linked) as the gene controlling the other characteristics.
-e.g. OCD and the GABA type B receptor 1 gene.; locus on chromo 9 is
associated with enhanced risk for externalizing psychopathology
-gene-environment interactions: notion that a disorder or related symptoms are the
joint product of genetic vulnerability and sp. Environmental experiences or
conditions
-according to Moffitt, Caspi, and Rutter, when such interactions were found
in the past, they were viewed as rare and atypical
-Biochemistry: each neuron has 4 major parts: cell body; dendrites; axons; and terminal
buttons; when stimulated at its soma, a nerve impulse travels down the axon to terminal
ending to synapse; NTs pass from one neuron to the nxt across the synapse; last step for
synapse is the return to a normal state = reuptake
-NE, a NT of the PSympNS involved in producing states of high arousal and may be
involved in anxiety disorders
-5HT may be involved in depression; DA involved in schizo; GABA inhibits some
nerve impulses and may be involved in anxiety disorders.
-maturation changes influence NT levels; puberty results in dec in 5HT and ec in
DA activity in certain cortical areas; increases in gonadal hormones incs risk for
psychopathology during adolescence
-incs or decs may cause given disorders: mania = too much NE; anxiety disorders =
too little GABA)
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