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Chapter 2

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Konstantine Zakzanis

Chapter 2: Current Paradigms and the role of cultural factors THE ROLE OF PARIDGMS Paradigm: conceptual framework or approach within which the scientist works, basic assumptions that outline the particular universe of scientific inquiry THE BIOLOGICAL PARADIGM Biological paradigm: continuation of the somatogenic hypothesis, holds that mental disorders are caused by aberrant biological processeshas been referred to as the medical model or disease model Removal of the ovarian cyst or the entire ovaries was treatment for melancholia, mania, and delusions (woman who thought her husband was trying to poison her) Heredity probably predisposes a person to have an increased risk of developing schizophrenia; depression may result from chemical imbalances within the brain, anxiety disorders may stem from a defect within the autonomic nervous system that causes a person to be too easily aroused, and dementia can be traced to impairments in structures of the brain A human being has 46 chromosomes, each being made up of thousands of genes- the carriers of the genetic information (DNA) passed from parents to child Behaviour genetics: study of individual differences in behaviour that are attributable in part to differences in genetic makeup Genotype: unobservable genetic constitution, fixed at birth, features of development, switch on & off Phenotype: observable behavioural characteristics (level of anxiety), changes over time The study of behaviour has relied on 4 basic methods to uncover whether a predisposition for psychopathology is inherited: Comparison of members of a family Comparison of pairs of twins Investigation of adoptees Linkage analysis Family method: used to study a genetic disposition among members of a family because the average number of genes shared by 2 blood relatives is known children receive a random sample of half their genes from 1 parent and half from the other; on average siblings and parents and children are identical in 50% of their genetic background First-degree relatives: people who share 50% of their genes with a given individual Second-degree relatives: share 25% of their genes (nephew, niece, uncle) Index cases/probands: starting point in investigation is the collection of a sample of individuals who bear the diagnosis in question Concordant: when a set of twins have the disorder Monozygotic twins: identical twins developed from a single-fertilized egg and are genetically the same (always the same sex). Concordance for a mental disorder should be greater than fraternal Dizygotic twins: (or fraternal) pairs develop from separate eggs and are on average only 50% alike (can be the same or opposite sex) 3 factors as biasing heritability estimates: Violation of the equal environments assumption Sex of the participant His/her age when the assessment took place Genetic factors may determine the extent to which a person is likely to experience post-traumatic stress after an assaultive trauma Linkage analysis: method in molecular genetic that is used to study people, usually study families in which a disorder is heavily concentrated. Researchers 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 (genetic markers) A Neuron has 4 major parts: Cell body Several dendrites (short and thick extensions) 1 or more axons of varying lengths (usually 1 long and thin axon extending a considerable distance from the cell body) Terminal buttons on the many end branches of the axon Nerve impulse: change in electric potential of the cell, travels down the axon to the terminal endings. Between the terminal endings of the sending axon and the cell membrane of the receiving neuron, there is a small gap, called the synapse Neurotransmitters: chemical substances that allow a nerve impulse to cross the synapse Reuptake: process where some of the synapse is pumped back into the presynaptic cell The left hemisphere of the brain is responsible for speech and analytical thinking. The right hemisphere recognizes spatial relations and patterns, and is involved in emotion and intuition. The 2 hemispheres communicate with each other constantly via the corpus callosum The grey matter of the cerebral cortex doesnt extend throughout the interior of the brain; much of the interior is white matter Subcortical: responsible for physical conditions (heavy breathing, sweating when faced with a phobia)Anosognosia: unawareness of illness, frontal lobes are responsible for this (left side is responsible for learning and taking info in, the right side is responsible for retrieval- when writing an exam) Limbic system: controls the visceral and physical expressions of emotion- quickened heartbeat and respiration, trembling, sweating, and alterations in facial expressions, as well as appetite and other primary drives (hunger, thirst, mating, defence, attack, and fight) Antidepressants (Prozac) increase neural transmission in neurons that use serotonin as a neurotransmitter by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin Antipsychotic drugs (Clozaril- used in the treatment of schizophrenia) reduces the activity of neurons that use dopamine as a neurotransmitter by blocking their receptors Ritalin is often employed in treating children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; stimulants increase the levels of several neurotransmitters 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 COGNITIVE-BEHAVIOURAL PARADIGM 4 types of learning have attracted the research efforts psychologists: Classical conditioning- meat powder for a dog automatically elicits salvation with no prior learning, the meat powder is termed an unconditioned stimulus and the response to it is an
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