The Twentieth Century
Although Biological theories were still influential, Psychoanalytical and Behaviourism dominated the early part of the 20thC.
- Trained as a neurologist and worked in psychiatry at Charcot (France).
- Settled in Vienna and published Studies in Hysteria with Josef Breuer.
- He introduced psychoanalysis to explain both normal and abnormal behaviour.
• Roots of abnormal behaviour established within first 5 years of life- so early that the person could not retain any
conscious memory of them, yet they could exert a lifelong influence upon their behaviour.
3 important aspects of psychoanalytic theory:
1. Structure of the mind
2. Strategies used to deal with threats to the stability of the mind
3. Stages of psychosocial development crucial for the development of (ab)normal behaviour
Id - basic instinctual drives and the source of psychic energy(libido). Always seeks pleasure- totally unconscious-
urges and activities are outside of our awareness.
Ego – Develops with the Id comes in contact with reality. Mediates between the id’s impulses and the demands and
restrictions of reality. Copes with reality- obeys the reality principle. Has both conscious and unconscious
components, so we are aware of its actions.
Superego – Imposes a moral restraint on the id’s impulses (esp sexual/aggressive). Punishes with feelings of guilt.
Partly conscious and unconscious and also tries to manage or inhibit the id’s impulses.
• These three intrapsychic forces are always competing causing ever-changing conflict- a dynamic- a psychodynamic
2. Defence Mechanisms help to disguise the mind’s negative or distressing thoughts and feelings to emerge to
consciousness in a more acceptable form. Some prevent the onset of abnormal behaviour. Others may cause abnormal
behaviour or age-inappropriate behaviours. Others include: denial, displacement, intellectualization, projection,
rationalisation, reaction formation, regression, repression, sublimation, suppression, and undoing)
3. Stages of Psychosexual development
Each person passes though these stages between infancy and 5yrs. How each child copes with each stage has effects on
• Oral phase- during first 1.5 yrs of life. Sucking and Chewing are pleasurable; aggressive impulses emerge after the
development of teeth.
• Anal phase- (1.5-3 yrs) coincides with toilet training. Parents emphasize discipline and control issues/power struggles
develop. Aggressive impulses could lead to personality traits of negativism and stubbornness as well as the emergence
of hostile, destructive, or sadistic behaviours.
• Phallic phase- (3-5yrs)- psychosexual energy centres on the genital area and children derive pleasure from
touching/rubbing the genitals. May develop romantic fantasies/attachments toward the opposite-sex parent. • Latency phase- formant stage of psychosexual development when children are disinterested in the opposite sex
• Genital phase- mature stage of psychosexual development (last two stages limited role wrt abnormal behaviour)
Anxiety and depression are caused by negative experiences. Depending on the age at which the experience occurs, indivis
become fixated (stalled) at a stage of psychosocial development, leaving a psychological mark on the unconscious- they
behave psychologically at the stage when fixation occurred.
• Goals of psychoanalysis: treatment: insight (bringing the troubling material to the consciousness) and catharsis
(releasing psychic energy).
Techniques used to achieve these goals:
- Free Association – person minimizes conscious control and, without selection or censorship, tells the analyst
everything that comes to mind, allowing them to draw out info regarding unconscious conflicts.
- Dream Analysis – individuals are encouraged to recal and recount their dreams, which are discussed in analystic
sessions. Dreams were called the royal road to the unconsciousness. Dream content included symbolic images that
revealed the meaning of unconscious conflict.
- Interpretation – the analyst’s silence encourages the patient’s free association. They offer interps about these
associations to uncover the patient’s resistance to treatment, to discuss the patient’s transference feelings, or to
confront the patient with inconsistencies. Can be done on present issues or on connections between past and
present. Dreams and fantasies are also source for interp.
First to highlight role of environmental factors in behaviour, but considered the early env to consist almost exclusively of
one’s mother and father, which led to detrimental and undeserved blaming of parents as the cause of abnormal behaviour.
The key therapeutic ingredient according the Feud was the achievement of insight. – overcoming psycho difficulties meant
understanding their causes and meaning. Believed in talking cure- a lengthy relationship between therapist and patient.
-reaserach on the physciology of dog digestion led to his discovery of conditioned responses.
Classical Conditioning- UCS produces an UCR. CS- is something neutral that does not naturally produce the UCR. UCS is
repeatedly paired with a CS, resulting in the UCR. After sufficient pairings, the CS presented alonf, becomes capable of
eliciting a CR, which is similar in form and content to the UCR.
John B. Watson
- Believed that the only appropriate objects of scientific study were observable behaviours, not inner thoughts or
- Based on principles that consider all behaviour to be learned as a result of experiences or interactions with the
Study on Little Albert: fear of white rat established by pairing the white rat with a loud, aversive noise. Not only was
an extreme emotional response establishes, but it generalised to other objects that, like the rat, were white and
- One of his students later used conditioning procedures to extinguish/eliminate fear of furry objects in a 2 yr old.
Instead of trying to associate a neutral obj with fear, children who were unafraid of rabbits were brought in. When
other children were present, his fear decreased, each time his fear lessened, the rabbit would be brought closer and
they would wait for his fear to diminish again. Eventually he was able to touch and play with the rabbit. Ethics and Responsibility
Before beginning research with human subjects, particularly children, scientists must submit their proposed research to a
committee, Human Subjects Committee or Institutional Review Board. The board reviews the research plan to make sure
that they research will not harm the potential participants. Research studies designed to demonstrate that a scientist can
create a psychological disorder in someone, particularly a child, would not be permitted today. (Like Little Albert’s case)
Scientists must be more creative in their research designs anf in many instances uses less direct methods to examine how
disorders might develop. Protecting research participants from harm is the most important consideration.
Current views of abnormal behaviour and treatment
1.4 Discuss the scientist-practitioner model of abnormal psychology.
a. Scientific advances lead to new and more sophisticated approaches to understanding human behaviour- research
findings allow unsupported theories to be discarded and provide new hypotheses to be tested and evaluated.
b. Scientific discoveries in areas other than psychology may later provide insight into abnormal behaviour. Eg Human
Genome Project: as understanding of this map develops, new techniques allow us to examine genetic abnormalities assoc
with psych disorders. Also, new technos such as magnetic resonance imaging lead us to examine the brain in ways never
before possible- can identify parts of the brain responsible for certain emotions.
Past 50 yrs psychologists who study abnormal behaviour have been trained in scientist-practioner model- treatment based
on research. Research helps guide and improve psych care. Those who use this approach benefit from their scientific
training which allows them to differentiate fact from opinion when evaluating new theories, new treatments, and new
research findings. Can apply this to many areas and develop more comprehensive models of abnormal behaviour.
Clinical descriptions and research findings have identified many different, and sometimes conflicting factors. The different
factors, have given rise to perspectives or models, which consist of basic assumptions that provide a framework for
organising information and a set of procedures and tools that can be used to test aspects of that framework.
1.5 Describe the modern biological, psychological, sociocultural, and biopsychosocial perspectives on the origins of
Assumes that abnormal behaviour results from biological processes of the body, particularly the brain. Last 20-30 yrs of
scientific advances allowed us to observe brain mechanisms directly. Breakthrough- understanding of genetics; whether
certain disorders have a genetic basis and what can be done in terms of intervention and prevention. Computerized Axial
Tomography scans and Magnetic Resonance Imaging allow direct examination of brain structure and activity.
The brain is complex- 100 billion neurons (brain cells). Between the neurons and synapses. Neurons communicate when
neurotransmitters (chemical substances) are released into the synapse (ie the neuron fires) and land on a receptor of the
next neuron. That neuron then fires sending an electrical impulse down the axon, releasing neurotransmitters into the next
synapse, and so the process begins again. Neurotransmitter activity is the basis for brain activity (thinking, feeling, and
motor activity) and is related to many physical and mental disorders. Neuroscience allows us to directly observe many
aspects of the brain; the structure and function of the nervous system and its interaction with behaviour.
CAT and MRI examine the morphology (structure) of the brain and are used to determine whether parts of the brain are
structurally different in those with and without psych disorders. Years of living with a disorder can cause changes in the
brain, which is known as Biological Scaring (eg PTSD).
Advanced neuroimaging techniques such a Positron Emission Tomography and Functional MRI allow for mapping various
areas of the brain and identifying areas that might be associated with various disorders. Diffs in brain funct have been
reported for adults with schizo and depression, adults and children with anxiety disorders, eating disorders and many other
Not all brain abnormalities cause psychological disorders. Behavioural traits and predispositions to diseases are heritable.
Behavioural Genetics explores the role of both genes and the environment in the transmission of behavioural traits. Based
on animal models that have found links between early viral infections and later behavioural changes, some researchers
have proposed a viral infection theory: during the prenatal period or shortly after birth, viral infections might cause brain abnormalities that later lead to behavioural abnormalities. However, the etiology of most psych disorders is likely o