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Chapter 2

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Waldemar Skrobacki

Chapter 2: Current Paradigms and the Role of Cultural Factors The Role of Paradigms • paradigm is a set of basic assumptions that outlines the universe of scientific, inquiry, specifying both the concepts regarded as legitimate and the methods to be used in collecting and interpreting data ➡ paradigms specify what problems scientists will investigate ➡ are an intrinsic part of science, serving the vital function of indicating the rules to be followed ➡ injects inevitable biases into the definition and collection of data and may also affect the interpretation of facts ➡ four major types of paradigms: biological, cognitive-behaviour, psychoanalytic, and humanistic-existential The Biological Paradigm biological paradigm a broad theoretical view that holds that mental disorders are caused by • some aberrant somatic process or defect • medical model or disease model is a set of assumption that conceptualizes abnormal behaviour as similar to physical diseases • medical illnesses all share one characteristic: in all of them, some biological process is disrupted or not functioning normally • removal of ovarian cysts or the entire ovaries was employed as treatment for melancholia, mania, and delusions (Hall) ContemporaryApproaches to the Biological Paradigm Behaviour Genetics • genes is an ultramicroscopic area of the chromosome; the gene is the smallest physical unit of the DNAmolecule that carries a piece of hereditary information • behaviour genetics is the study of individual differences in behaviour that are attributable to differences in genetic makeup • genotype is an individual’s unobservable, genetic constitution; the totality of genes possessed by an individual • phenotype is the totality of observable characteristics of a person • genotype is fixed at birth, but it should not be viewed as a static entity • phenotype changes over time and is viewed as the product of an interaction between the genotype and the environment • the study of behaviour genetics has relied on four basic methods to uncover whether a predisposition for psychopathology is inherited: comparison of members of a family, comparison of pairs of twins, the investigation of adoptees, and linkage analysis • family method • children receive a random sample of half their genes from one parent and half from the other; therefore, on average, siblings as well as parents and their children are identical in 50% of their genetic background • people who share 50% of their genes with a given individual are called first-degree relatives of that person • nephews and nieces share 25% of the genetic makeup of an uncle and are called second-degree relatives • index cases or probands is the person who in a genetic investigation bears the diagnosis or trait in which the investigator is interested • twin method is research strategy in behaviour genetics in which concordance rates of monozygotic and dizygotic twins are compared • monozygotic (MZ) twins are genetically identical siblings who have developed from a single fertilized egg; sometimes called “identical twins” dizygotic (DZ) twins are birth partners who have developed from separate fertilized eggs and • who are only 50% alike genetically, no more so than siblings born from different pregnancies; sometimes called fraternal twins • when the twins are similar diagnostically, they are said to be concordant • concordance is as applied in behaviour genetics, the similarity in psychiatric diagnosis or in other traits within a pair of twins • data shows that panic disorder runs in families, but that a genetic predisposition is not necessarily involved • the ability to offer a genetic interpretation of data from twin studies hinges on what is called the equal environment assumption the equal environment assumption is that the environmental factors that are partial causes of • concordance are equally influential for MZ pairs and DZ pairs • the assumption of equality applies only to factors that are plausible environmental causes of psychopathology • the equal environment assumption would assert that MZ pairs and DZ pairs have equivalent numbers of stressful life experiences • genetic factors may determine, in part, the extent to which a person is likely to experience post- traumatic stress after an assaultive trauma • adoptees method is a research method that studies children who were adopted and reared completely apart from their abnormal parents, thereby eliminating the influence of being raised by disordered parents Molecular Genetics • “allele” refers to any one of several DNAcodings that occupy the same position or location on a chromosome • “genetic polymorphism” refers to variability among members of the species involves differences in the DNAsequence that can manifest in very different forms ➡ among members in the same habitat ➡ entails mutations in a chromosome that can be induced or naturally occurring • linkage analysis is a technique in genetic research whereby occurrence of a disorder in a family is evaluated alongside a known genetic maker ➡ researchers using this method typically study families in which a disorder is heavily concentrated ➡ they collect diagnostic information and blood samples from affected individuals and their relatives and use the blood samples to study the inheritance pattern of characteristics whose genetics are fully understood, referred to as genetic makers ➡ if the occurrence of a form of psychopathology among relatives goes along with the occurrence of another characteristic whose genetics are known (the genetic maker), it is concluded that the gene predisposing individuals to the psychopathology is on the same chromosome and in a similar location on that chromosome (i.e., it is linked) as the gene controlling the other characteristic • researchers in this area often hypothesize gene-environment interactions ➡ this is the notion that a disorder or related symptoms are the joint product of a genetic vulnerability and specific environmental experiences or conditions Neuroscience and Biochemistry in the Nervous System • neuroscience is the study of the brain and the nervous system • neuron is a single nerve cell ➡ four major parts: (1) the cell body; (2) several dendrites (the short and thick extensions); (3) one or more axons of varying lengths (usually only one long and thin axon extending a considerable distance from the cell body); and (4) terminal butons on the many end branches of the axon • when a neuron is stimulated at its cell body or through its dendrites, a nerve impulse (is a change in the electric potential of a neuron; a wave of depolarization spreads along the neuron and causes the release of a neurotransmitter) travels down the axon to the terminal endings synapse is a small gap between two neurons where the nerve impulse passes from the axon of • the first to the dendrites, cell body, or axon of the second • the terminal buttons of each axon contain synaptic vesicles, small structures that are filled neurotransmitters, chemical substances that allow a nerve impulse to cross the synapse ➡ *neurotransmitters are a chemical substance important in transferring a nerve impulse from one neuron to another; for example, serotonin and norepinephrine • nerve impulses cause the synaptic vesicles to release molecules of their transmitter substances, and these molecules flood the synapse and diffuse toward the receiving, or postsynaptic, neuron • the cell membrane of the postsynaptic cell contains proteins, called receptor sites, that are configured so that specific neurotransmitters can fit into them • when a neurotransmitter fits into a receptor site, a message can be sent to the postsynaptic cell • *reuptake is a process by which released neurotransmitters are pumped back into the pre- synaptic cell, making them available for enhancing transmission of nerve impulses • norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter of the peripheral sympathetic nervous system, is involved in producing states of high arousal and thus may be involved in anxiety disorders ➡ sympathetic nervous system is the division of the autonomic nervous system that acts on bodily systems- for example, contracting the blood vessels, reducing activity of the intestines, and increasing the heartbeat- to prepare the organism for exertion, emotional stress, or extreme cold • serotonin may be involved in depression, and dopamine in schizophrenia GABAis a brain transmitter, which inhibits some nerve impulses and may be involved in • anxiety disorders • changes and increases in the secretion of gonadal hormones as the brain continues to develop throughout adolescence have been implicated as contributing to increased risk for psychopathology during adolescence • too much or too little of a particular transmitter could result from an error in these metabolic pathways • the delusions and hallucinations of schizophrenia may result from an overabundance of dopamine receptors Structure and Function of the Human Brain • meninges are the three layers of non-neural tissue that envelop the brain and spinal cord • cerebral hemispheres is either of the two halves that make up the cerebrum corpus callosum is the large band of nerve fibres connecting the two cerebral hemispheres • • cerebral cortex is the thin outer covering of each of the cerebral hemispheres; it is highly convoluted and composed of nerve cell bodies that constitute the grey matter of the brain • gyri is the ridge of the cortex in the brain • sulci are depressions between the ridges in the cerebral cortex or outer layer of the brain; also called fissures • frontal lobe is the forward or upper half of each cerebral hemisphere, in front of the central sulcus, active in reasoning and other higher mental processes • parietal lobe is the middle division of each cerebral hemisphere, situated behind the central sulcus and above the later sulcus; the receiving centre for sensations of the skin and of bodily positions • temporal lobe is a large area of each cerebral hemisphere situated below the later sulcus and in front of the occipital lobe; contains primary auditory projection and association areas and general association areas • occipital lobe is the posterior area of each cerebral hemisphere, situated behind the parietal lobe and above the temporal lobes, responsible for reception and analysis of visual information and for some visual memory • the left hemisphere, which generally controls the right half of the body because of the crossing over of motor and sensory fibres, is responsible for speech and, according to some neuropsychologists, for analytical thinking in right-handed people and in a fair number of left- handed people as well the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body, discerns spatial relations and patterns, • and is involved in emotion and intuition • white matter is the neural tissue, particularly of the brain and spinal cord, consisting of tracts or bundles of myelinated (sheathed) nerve fibres • nuclei is the plural of “nucleus” four masses are deep within each hemisphere, called collectively the basal ganglia • • ventricles are cavities deep within the brain that are continuous with the central canal of the spinal cord and are filled with cerebrospinal fluid • diencephalon is the lower area of the forebrain, containing the thalamus and hypothalamus • thalamus is a major brain relay station consisting of two egg-shaped lobes located in the diencephalon; it receives impulses from all sensory areas except the olfactory and transmits them to the cerebrum • hypothalamus is a collection of nuclei and fibres in the lower part of the diencephalon concerned with the regulation of many visceral processes, such as metabolism, temperature, and water balance • midbrain is the middle part of the brain that consists of a mass of nerve fibre tracts connecting the spinal cord and pons, medulla, and cerebellum to the cerebral cortex • brain stem is the part of the brain connecting the spinal cord with cerebrum. It contains the pons and medulla oblongata and functions as a neural relay station. • pons is an area in the brain stem containing nerve-fibre tracts that connect the cerebellum with the spinal cord and with motor areas of the cerebrum • medulla oblongata is an area in the brain stem through which nerve fibre tracts ascend to or descend from higher brain centres reticular formation is a network of nuclei and fibres in the central core of the brain stem that is • important in arousing the cortex and maintaing alertness, in processing incoming sensory stimulating, and in adjusting spinal reflexes • cerebellum is an area of the hindbrain concerned with balance, posture, and motor coordination • the cerebellum receives sensory information from the inner ear and from muscles, tendons, and joints • limbic system are the lower parts of the cerebrum. made up of primitive cortex; controls visceral and bodily changes associated with emotion and regulates drive-motivated behaviour ➡ e.g., quickened heartbeat and respiration, trembling, sweating, and alterations in facial expressions- as well as appetite and other primary drives, namely, hunger, thirst, mating, defence, attack, and flight BiologicalApproaches to Treatment • tranquilizers such as Valium can be effective in reducing the tension associated with some anxiety disorders, perhaps by stimulating GABAneurons to inhibit other neural systems that create the physical symptoms of anxiety antidepressants (such as Prozac), increase neural transmission in neurons that use serotonin as • a neurotransmitter by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin • antipsychotic drugs such as Clozaril, used in the treatment of schizophrenia, reduce the activity of neurons that use dopamine as a neurotransmitter by blocking their receptors • stimulants such as Ritalin are often employed in treating children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder • stimulants increase the levels of several neurotransmitters that help children pay attention • drugs are an important component of any interventions for mental disorders • contemporary workers realize that non-biological interventions can have beneficial effects ➡ e.g., preventing a person from performing a compulsive ritual is an effective behavioural treatment for OCD that also has measurable effects on brain activity • Linden reviewed functional neuroimaging studies on the effects psychotherapy ➡ found that studies of the effects of cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), on OCD showed decreased metabolism in the right caudate nucleus, whereas CBT for phobia resulted in decreased activity in limbic and paralimbic areas ➡ noted that these effects are similar to those observed after successful treatment with SSRIs and concluded that it suggests “commonalities in the biological mechanisms of psycho- and pharmacotherapy” ➡ however, in depression, he noted both decreases and increases in prefrontal metabolism following psychological treatment and differences relative to drug treatment Evaluating the Biological Paradigm • reductionism is the view that whatever is being studied can, and should, be reduced to its most basic elements or constituents. Biological reductionism proposes that mental and emotional responses can be best understood by comprehending basic biological variables such as neurotransmitter levels and balances. ➡ asserts that psychology, psychiatry, and psychopathology will be nothing more than biology • nervous system dysfunction is not always due to biological causes ➡ can be a result of psychological or social factors ➡ psychological interventions can be as effective as drug treatment and produce changes in the functioning of our brains • Joel Paris concluded that the applied neuroscience model is most appropriate to severe mental disorders, that psychiatric disorders cannot be reduced to abnormalities in neuronal or molecular activity, and that psychological problems need to be understood at multiple levels • Bennett and Hacker noted that psychology will not be reduced or eliminated by neuroscience • behavioural or learning paradigm is a set of assumptions that abnormal behaviour is learned in the same way as other human behaviour The Cognitive-Behavioural Paradigm The Behavioural Perspective The Rise of Behaviourism • introspection is a procedure whereby trained subjects are asked to report their conscious experiences • behaviourism is the school of psychology associated with Watson, who proposed that observable behaviour, not consciousness, is the proper subject matter of psychology Classical Conditioning • classical conditioning is as basic form of learning, sometimes referred to as Pavlovian conditioning, in which a neural stimulus is repeatedly paired with another stimulus (called the unconditioned stimulus, UCS) that naturally elicits a certain desired response (called the unconditioned response, UCR). After repeated trials the neural stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus (CS) and evokes the same or similar response, now called the conditioned response (CR) • in Pavlov’s studies of the digestive system, a dog was given meat to make it salivate ➡ assistants became aware that the dog began salivating when it saw the person who fed it ➡ dog began to salivate even earlier, when it heard the footsteps of its feeder a bell was rung behind the the dog, and then the meat powder was placed in its mouth ➡ ➡ repeated this a number of times, the dog began salivating as soon as it heard the bell ➡ unconditioned stimulus; powder, unconditioned response; salivation, conditioned stimulus; sound of the bell, conditioned response; salivary response ➡ as the number of paired presentations of the bell alone increases, the number of salivations elicited by the bell alone increases ➡ extinction is the elimination of a classically conditioned response by omitting the unconditioned stimulus. In operant conditioning, the elimination of the conditioned response by omitting reinforcement. • refers to what happens to the CR when the repeated soundings of the bell are later not followed by the meat powder; fewer and fewer salivations are elicited, and the CR gradually disappears Operant Conditioning • operant conditioning is the acquisition or elimination of a response as a function of the environmental contingencies of reward and punishment (B.F. Skinner) • law of effect is a principle of learning that holds that behaviour is acquired by virtue of its consequences • discriminative stimulus is an event that informs an organism that if a particular response is made, reinforcement will follow • positive reinforcement is the strengthening of a tendency to behave in a certain situation by presenting a desired reward following previous responses in that situation • negative reinforcement is the strengthening of a tendency to exhibit desired behaviour by rewarding responses in that situation with the removal of an aversive stimulus • Skinner argued that freedom of choice is a myth and that all behaviour is determined by the reinforcers provided by the environment • aggression is often rewarded, as when one child hits another to get a top (getting the toy is the reinforcer) Modelling • modelling is learning by observing and imitating the behaviour of others • experimental work byAlbert Bandura and others has demonstrated that witnessing someone perform certain activites can increase or decrease diverse kinds of behaviour • self-efficacy in Bandura’s theory, the person’s belief that he or she can achieve certain goals Behavioural Therapy • behaviour therapy (behaviour modification) is a branch of psychotherapy narrowly conceived as the application of classical and operant conditioning to the alteration and clinical problems, but more broadly conceived as applied experimental psychology in a clinical context Counterconditioning and exposure • counterconditioning is relearning achieved by eliciting a new response in the presence of a particular stimulus • a response (R1) to a given stimulus (S) can be eliminated by eliciting a new response (R2) in the presence of that stimulus • systematic desensitization is a major behaviour therapy procedure that has a fearful person, while deeply relaxed, imagine a series of progressively more fearsome situations. The two responses of relaxation and fear are incompatible and fear is dispelled. This technique is useful for treating psychological problems in which anxiety is the principal difficulty. • Wolpe hypothesized that counterconditioning underlies the efficacy of desensitization; a state or response antagonistic to anxiety is substituted for anxiety as the person is exposed gradually to stronger and stronger doses of what he or she fears • aversive conditioning is a process believed to underlie the effectiveness of aversion therapy • aversive techniques have been employed to reduce smoking, drug use, and socially inappropriate desires, such as those of pedophiles Operant conditioning as an intervention • making positive reinforces contingent on behaviour is used to increase the frequency of desirable behaviour • the main premise is that the same learning conditions and processes that created maladaptive behaviour can also be used to change maladaptive behaviour (i.e., unlearning behaviour) • successive approximations are responses that closer and closer resemble the desired response in operant conditioning The Cognitive Perspective • cognition is the process of knowing; the thinking, judging, reasoning, and planning activities of the human mind, Behaviour is now often explained as depending on these processes. • cognitive paradigm is the general view that people can best be understood by studying how they perceive and structure their experiences. The Basics of Cognitive Theory • cognitive psychologists regard the learner as an active interpreter of a situation, with the learner’s past knowledge imposing a perceptual funnel on the experience ➡ the learner fits new information into an organized network of already accumulated knowledge, often referred to as schema, or cognitive set schema is a mental structure for organizing information about the world ➡ ➡ new information may fit the schema, but if it does not, the learner reorganizes the schema to fit the information or construes the information in such a way as to fit the schema Beck’s Cognitive Therapy • the psychiatristAaron Beck developed a cognitive therapy (CT) for depression based on the idea that a depressed mood is caused by distortions in the way people perceive life experiences ➡ e.g., a depressed person may focus exclusively on negative happenings and ignore positive ones, or interpret positive experiences in a negative manner • Beck’s therapy tries to persuade clients to change their opinions of themselves and the way in which they interpret life events • general goal of Beck’s therapy is to provide clients with experiences, both inside and outside the consulting room, that will alter their negative schemas and dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes • Beck replaced his old psychoanalytic theory that depression is self-directed hostility with a model of negative cognitive bias- an automatic misprocessing of information Rational-Emotive Behaviour Therapy • Albert Ellis’principal thesis was that sustain • ed emotional reactions are caused by internal sentences that people repeat to themselves, and these self-statements reflect sometimes unspoken assumptions- irrational beliefs- about what is necessary to lead a meaningful life ➡ irrational beliefs is self-defeating assumptions that are assumed by RE therapists to underlie psycholog
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