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Chapter 3

Psychology 2030A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Sensorium, Personality Disorder, Waves

Course Code
Doug Hazlewood

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Gathers information on current and past behaviour, attitudes, and
emotions, as well as a detailed history of the individual’s life in
general and of the presenting problem
Determine when the specific problem first started and identify other
events that might have occurred about the same time
To organize info obtained during an interview, many clinicians use a
mental status exam
When presenting one of these exams – importance of PATIENT’S
Mental Status Exam
Involves the systematic observation of somebody’s behaviour
Organize info in sufficient way to see if psychological disorder is
The exam covers 5 categories:
1. Appearance and behaviour:
Overt behaviour
Attire (individual’s dress)
General appearance, posture, expression
Ex. Frank – persistent twitch, appearance appropriate
2. Thought process
Rate of speech
Continuity of speech
Does person make sense
Content of speech
Ex. Flow and content of speech reasonable
3. Mood and affect
Predominant feeling stat of the individual
Normal reactions to situations
oLaughing if mother dies
Ex. Frank – anxious mood, affect appropriate
4. Intellectual functioning
Estimate of intelligence
Type of vocabulary
Use of abstractions and metaphors
Ex. Frank – intelligence within normal limits
5. Sensorium
General awareness of our surroundings
Do you know who you are? Where you are? Who they are>
Self, time and place
Ex. Frank – ORIENTED times three
CHAPTER 3 1/22/11 7:19 PM

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Semi structured Clinical Interviews
Unstructured interviews – follow no systemic format
Semi-structured interviews – made up of questions that have been
carefully phrased and tested to elicit useful information in a
consistent manner, so clinicians can be sure they have inquired
about the most important aspects of particular disorders
BA: measuring, observing, and systematically evaluating (rather than
inferring) the client’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviour in the actual
problem situation or context
Used for children who are no old enough or skilled enough to report
their problems and experiences
Target behaviours are identified and observed with the goal of
determining the factors that seem to influence those behaviours
Most clinicians assume that a complete picture of a person’s problems
requires DIRECT OBSERVATION in naturalistic environments
The ABC’s of Observation
Observational assessment is usually focused on the here and now –
clinicians attention is usually directed to the IMMEDIATE behaviour,
its ANTECEDENTS (or what happened just before the behaviour),
and its consequences (what happened afterward)
oAntecedents (exists before)
oBehaviour (act)
oConsequences (reaction)
Ex. Boy – 1) his mother asking him to put his glass in the sink
(antecedent), 2) the boy throwing the glass (behaviour), 3) his
mother’s lack of response (consequence)
oThis ABC sequence might suggest that the boy as being
reinforced for his violence outburst by not having to clean up
his mess - b/c there was no negative consequence for his
behavior (mother didn’t scold or reprimand him), he will
probably act violent the next time he doesn’t want to do
Ex of INFORMAL OBSERVATION – problem with this is the observer’s
recollection as well as his interpretation of the events
FORMAL OBSERVATION – involves identifying specific behaviours that
are observable and measurable
oTarget behaviour, observer writes down each time it occurs,
along with what happened just before (antecedent) and just
after (consequence)

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oGoal is to see if there are any obvious patterns of behaviour
and then to design a treatment based on these patterns
Must be reliable and valid
Include specific tests to determine cognitive, emotional, or behaviour
responses that might be associated with a specific disorder and
more general tests that asses long-standing personality features
Specialized areas include:
oIntelligence testing – to determine the structure and patterns of
oNeuropsychological testing – determines the possible
contribution of brain damage or dysfunction to the patients
oNeurobiological procedures – use imaging to assess brain
structure and function
Projective Testing
Include a variety of methods in which ambiguous stimuli, such as
pictures of people or things, are presented to a person who is asked
to describe what he or she sees
Theory: people PROJECT their own personality and unconscious fears
onto other people and things – in this case, the ambiguous stimuli –
and, without realizing it, reveal their unconscious thoughts to the
oRorschach inkblot test:
oComprehensive System: this system specifies how the cards
should be presented, what the examiner should say, and how
the responses should be recorded
oThematic Appercation Test (TAT) – best known PT
Consists of 31 cards: 30 picutres on them and one blank
card, only only 20 cards are typically used – the
instructor tells the person to tell a dramatic story about
the picture
Based on the notion that people will reveal their
unconscious mental processes in their stories about the
Personality Inventories
NA – Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory
oBased on an empirical approach – collection and evaluation of
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