Textbook Notes (270,000)
CA (160,000)
UTSG (10,000)
PSY (3,000)
PSY240H1 (100)
Chapter 2

PSY240H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Genetic Linkage, Defence Mechanisms, Phallic Stage

Course Code
Martha Mc Kay

of 16
Psy 240
Chapter 2 – Contemporary Theories of Abnormality
Theory: a set of ideas that provides a framework for asking
questions about a phenomenon and for gathering and interpreting
information about that phenomenon.
Ellis, believed that fears were due to irrational beliefs.
oBiological approach: the abnormality were caused by a biological
factor such as genetic vulnerability to anxiety, inherited from his
Yet, his own rational-emotive theory is a psychological approach:
symptoms that are rooted in psychological factors, such as belief systems or
early childhood experiences.
Social approach: looking into the patients interpersonal
relationships and the social environment in which he lived in
Nature vs. Nurture: is the cause of the disorder something in the
nature, or biology of the person? Or in the person’s nurturing, history of
events to which the person was exposed to?
In developing a disorder, it takes an accumulation of several factors
before an individual develops the disorder.
oOne or two of the factors working together is not enough to create
the disorder, multiple factors are present in the individual’s life, thus a
threshold is reached and disorder develops.
Vulnerability-stress models (diathesis-stress models): it takes
both an existing vulnerability to a disorder and a trigger, or stress, to create
the disorder.
Vulnerability Stress
Biological factor Biological trigger
Social factor Social trigger
Psychological factor Psychological trigger
Feedback effects among biological, social and psychological factors.
The integrative models of psychopathology suggests that all 3 of these
factors all affect one another in a feedback loops that maintain and enhance
psychopathological processes.
Changes in one factor result in changes in a second factor, and those
changes in the second factor feed back to change the first factor again
Biological approaches
Result of damaged brain can change someone’s basic personality.
Psy 240
Chapter 2 – Contemporary Theories of Abnormality
E.g. Gage, he was transformed from a responsible, socially
appropriate man to an impulsive, emotional and socially inappropriate
The areas that Gage’s brain was damaged affect the persons in
making rational decisions in personal and social matters, and have
trouble processing information about emotions.
Psychological changes were result of damage to his brain
Biological approaches to abnormality focuses on:
Structural damage to the brain
Biochemical imbalances
Genetic abnormalities
All of these 3 components can influence one another. Such as
structural abnormalities may be the result of genetic factors and may
cause biochemical imbalances.
Structural Brain Abnormalities
People who suffer damage (lesions) to the brain or who have major
abnormalities in the structure of the brain often show problems in
psychological functioning.
Location of the structural damage influences the specific
psychological problems they have
Cerebral cortex: area of the brain involved in many of our most
advanced thinking processes.
E.g. Gage suffered the damage of this
Hypothalamus: regulates eating, drinking and sexual behavior.
Abnormal behaviors that involve any of these activities may be the result of
dysfunction in the hypothalamus.
Also influences basic emotions, certain areas produces sensations of
pleasure, where stimulation of other areas produces sensations of pain
or unpleasantness
Limbic system: collection of structures that are closely
interconnected with hypothalamus and appear to exert additional control
over some of the instinctive behaviors regulated by the hypothalamus, such
as eating, sexual behavior and reactions to stressful situations.
Psy 240
Chapter 2 – Contemporary Theories of Abnormality
Structural damage to the brain can result from injury, such as from an
automobile accident and from diseases that cause deterioration.
E.g. schizophrenia, severe disorder in which people lose touch with
reality, believed cerebral cortex does not function effectively or
Biochemical causes of abnormality
Neurotransmitters: biochemical’s that act as messengers, carrying
impulses from one neuron to another in the brain and in other parts of the
nervous system.
Each neuron consists of a cell body and a dendrites, number of
short branches
The dendrites and cell body receive impulses from adjacent neurons.
Impulse travels down the axon, the length of a slender, tubelike
extension, to the synaptic terminals, small swellings at the end of the
This impulse stimulates the release of neurotransmitters.
Synaptic gap/Synapse: the slight gap exists between the synaptic
terminals and the adjacent neurons.
Neurotransmitter is released into the synapse, then binds to
receptors, small molecules on the membranes of adjacent neurons,
somewhat like the way a key fits into a lock.
Binding stimulates the adjacent neurons to initiate the impulse, which
runs through the neuron’s dendrites and cell body and down the axon to
cause the release of more neurotransmitter between that neuron and
other neurons.
Neurotransmitter theories
Amount of a neurotransmitter available in the synapse can be
affected by 2 process:
Reuptake: occurs when the initial neuron releasing the
neurotransmitter into the synapse reabsorbs the neurotransmitter,
which decreases the amount left in the synapse.
Degradation: occurs when the receiving neuron releases an enzyme
into the synapse that breaks down the neurotransmitter into other
The reuptake and degradation of neurotransmitters happens