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PSY100H1 (1,831)
Chapter 1

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Konstantine Zakzanis

Chapter 1Introduction Definitional and Historical Considerations and Canadas Mental Health System Psychopathologyfield concerned with nature and development of abnormal behaviour thoughts and feelings o Keep in mind that the subject offers few hard and fast answers Challengeremain objectiveo Subject is personal and it is powerfully affecting intrudes on own lives Scientists have to grapple difference between o What we may feel is the appropriate way to talk about human behaviour and experience o What may be a more productive way of defining it in order to study and learn about itConcepts and labels must be free of subjective feelings of appropriateness ordinarily attached to certain human phenomenaWhat is abnormal behaviourDifficult challenge facing in this field is defining abnormal behaviour Several characteristics have been proposed as componentso No single one is adequateeach has merits and captures some part of what might be a full definitionAbnormality is usually determined by presence of several characteristics at one time Best definitiono Abnormal behavioursuch characteristics as statistical infrequency violation of norms personal distress disability or dysfunction and unexpectedness Statistical frequencyOne aspect of abnormal behaviour is that it is infrequent in the general population Ex alternating episodes of depression and mania in the case study page 2 of textbook Normal curve bellshaped curveplaces majority of people in middle as far as any particular characteristic is concernedo Very few people fall at either extremeo An assertion that a person is normalheshe doesnt deviate much from the average in a particular traitbehavioural pattern Used explicitly in diagnosing mental retardationo Number of criteria used to diagnose mental retardationlow intelligence is a principal oneo IQ below 70hisher intellectual functioning is considered sufficiently subnormal to be designated as mental retardation Some infrequent behaviourscharacteristics of people strike us as abnormal may not be abnormal at all o Ex athletic ability is infrequent but few would regard it as part of the field of abnormal psychologyStatistical component gives us little guidance in determining which infrequent behaviours psychopathologists should studyViolation of normsAnother characteristic to consider is whether the behaviour violates social norms or threatens or makes anxious those observing it Violation of norms explicitly makes abnormality a relative concepto Various forms of unusual behaviour can be tolerated depending on the prevailing cultural norms Violation of norms is at once too broad and too narrowo Ex criminals and prostitutes violate social norms but arent usually studied within domain of abnormal psychology Cultural diversity can affect how people view social normso Norm in one cultureabnormal in another culturePersonal distressAnother characteristic is personal sufferingo Behaviour is abnormal if it creates distress and torment in the person experiencing it Personal distress clearly fits into many of the forms of abnormality considered in this textbook Some disorders dont necessarily involve distresso Ex psychopath treats others coldheartedly and may continually violate law without remorse or guilt or anxietyNot all forms of distresso Ex hunger or pain of childbirthDisability or DysfunctionDisabilityimpairment in some important area of life because of an abnormality o Can be component of abnormal behaviouro Ex work or personal relationships Other characteristics that might in some circumstances be considered disabilitiesbeing short if you want to be a professional basketball player Dont have a rule that tells us which disabilities belong and which dontUnexpectedness
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