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Psychology (2,981)
PSY240H1 (130)
Chapter 2

chapter 2 notes.doc

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Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY240H1
Professor
Martha Mc Kay

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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. o Biological approach: the abnormality were caused by a biological factor such as genetic vulnerability to anxiety, inherited from his parents 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 persons 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. o One or two of the factors working together is not enough to create the disorder, multiple factors are present in the individuals 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 DISORDER 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 someones 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 man. The areas that Gages 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 normally. Biochemical causes of abnormality Neurotransmitters: biochemicals 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 axon. 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 neurons 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 biochemicals. The reuptake and degradation of neurotransmitters happens Psy 240 Chapter 2 Contemporary Theories of Abnormality naturally. When one or both of these processes malfunction, abnormally high or low levels of neurotransmitter in the synapse result. Psychological symptoms may be linked to the number and functioning of the receptors for neurotransmitters on the dendrites. If too little receptors are present, the receptors are not sensitive enough. If too many receptors are available, they are too sensitive thus neuron may be overexposed to the neurotransmitter that is in the synapse. Serotonin: regulates emotions and impulses, such as aggression. Can be found in a wide variety of sites in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Serotonin 5-HT(1A) receptor agonist, and antagonists, plays a role in depression, anxiety, and stress-related disorder Thus medications to treat this disorder often target the 5-HT(1A) receptor. Dopamine: neurotransmitter that is in areas of the brain that regulate our experience of reinforcements or rewards. Affected by substances such as alcohol. Also important in functioning of muscle systems, and it plays a role in disorders involving controlling over muscles. E.g. Parkinsons disease. Psychotic illnesses are related to dopamine activity, especially to the dysregulation of dopamine transmission in the midbrain and thalamus. E.g. schizophrenia is abnormally low dopamine activity in the mesocortex, which leads to cognitive deficits and negative symptoms. Dopamine transporter (DAT) is the key regulator of dopamine. Norepinephrine: a neurotransmitter that is produced mainly by neurons in the brain stem. Cocaine and amphetamines, prolong the action of norepinephrine. Because of the delay of the reuptake, the receiving neurons are activated for a longer period of time, causing the stimulating psychological effects of these drugs. When too little norepinephrine reaches in the brain, the eprsons mood level is depressed.
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