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Chapter 2

Chapter 2- Theoretical Perspectives- Abnormal Psych.pdf

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Psychology 2310A/B
Rod Martin

CHAPTER #2- THEORETICALPERSPECTIVES ONABNORMAL BEHAVIOR ▯ THE GENERALNATURE OFTHEORIES ▯ Level of Theories ▯ - Single-factor explanation: Attempts to trace the origins of a particular disorder to one factor - Most of these explanations reflect the primary focus of the researcher/theorist rather than the belief that there really is a single cause -Unlikely to explain human behavior and its complexity - Interactionist explanation: Behavior as the product of interaction of a variety of factors, generally making more satisfactory theories in describing mental disorders -Take into account the biology and behavior of the individual, as well as the cognitive, social, and cultural environment, given that any one component inevitably affects the other components - Scientific theories are judged to be valuable because: -(1) They integrate most of what is currently known about the phenomena in the simplest way possible (parsimony) -(2) They make testable predictions about aspects of the phenomena that were not previously thought of -(3) They make it possible to specify what evidence would deny the theory ▯ Testing Theories: The Null Hypothesis ▯ - Experiments are not set up to prove the worth of a theory but to reject (or fail to reject) what is called the null hypothesis - Null hypothesis: Proposes that the prediction made from the theory is false ▯ THE SEARCH FOR CAUSES ▯ - The general aim of theories about mental disorders are to: (1) explain the etiology (causes, or origins) of the problem behavior; (2) identify the factors that maintain the behavior; (3) predict the course of the disorder; (4) design effective treatments - Many different theories have been advanced regarding the etiology of mental disorders: -(1) Biological -(2) Psychodynamic -(3) Behavioral -(4) Cognitive theories examining dysfunctional thoughts or beliefs -(5) Humanistic or existential theories -(6) Sociocultural influences -Strict biological determinism all too often leads to the dismal conclusion that psychological or environmental interventions will do no good ▯ ▯ BIOLOGICALMODELS ▯ -Borrow their model from medicine, as well as cooperating their language of medicine (calling clients “patients” and problems “syndromes”) -Implication of dysfunctions in or damage to the brain (CNS), problems of control of one or another aspect of the peripheral nervous system (automatic nervous system, or the somatic nervous system), or malfunctioning in the endocrine system ▯ ▯ The Role of The Central Nervous System ▯ -It is better to think of brain activity related to particular functions or actions not as located in a single area of the brain but as concentrated in one or more areas -The hindbrain directs the functioning of the automatic nervous system, which controls primarily internal activities such as digestion, cardiovascular functioning, and breathing -The midbrain is the centre of the reticular activating system, which controls arousal levels (often called the sleep-wake centre) and thereby attentional processes -The forebrain controls thought, speech, perception, memory, learning, and planning —> all the processes that make us sentient, self-conscious beings -Some disorders have been shown to be directly linked to brain damage - Dementia (deterioration in memory and learning processes) that occurs in disorders such as Parkinsons orAlzheimers is liked to the loss or ineffective functioning of brain cells -Neurotransmitters: Chemical substances that carry the message from one neuron to the next in the complex pathways of nervous activity within the brain -There is a gap (called a synapse) between the axons (which carry the nerve impulses to the synapse) of one neuron and the dendrites (which pick up the activity from the first neuron) or neighbouring neurons -The transmission of the electrical activity in the axon to the neighbouring dendrites occurs as a result of the release chemicals called neurotransmitters - Dopamine —> pleasure seeking and exploratory behaviors - Serotonin —> constraint or inhibition of behavior - Norepinephrine - GABA -Dopamine and serotonin create a balance in behavior - When neurotransmitters are released, they are taken up at the receptor sites on the dendrites and thereby activate or inhibit an impulse in the post-synaptic neuron - Some neurotransmitters are deactivated -Some neurotransmitters are quickly drawn back into the releasing axon by a process called reuptake -Abnormal behavior can result from disturbances in neurotransmitter systems in various ways: -(1) There may be too much or too little of the neurotransmitter produced or released into the synapse -(2) There may be too few or too many receptors on the dendrites -(3) There may be an excess or a deficit in the amount of the transmitter- deactivating substance in the synapse -(4) The reuptake process may be too rapid or too slow -Schizophrenia is said to result from too much activity in the brain circuits (the dopamine system) that mediate the importance we attach to stimuli in our environment so that the patient experiences his/her world as overwhelming; everything seems important and relevant -Behavior also influences neurotransmitter activity -Brain plasticity: Capacity of the brain to reorganize its circuity -Can be influenced by a number of experiences that occur pre- and postnatally through hormones, diet, aging, stress, disease, and malnutrition ▯ The Role of The Peripheral Nervous System ▯ - Includes the somatic nervous system which controls the muscles, and the automatic nervous system -TheANS has 2 parts: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system -They function cooperatively to produce homeostatic activity in functions such as heart rate, digestive processes, sexual arousal, breathing. perspiration, etc. -In times of stress, they function antagonistically —> the sympathetic nervous system readies the body for flight —> increasing heart rate, pupil size (makes vision more accurate), and breathing (which becomes faster and deeper) -At the same time, the parasympathetic nervous system shuts down digestive processes, since energy given to this function would be wasted in time of emergency - TheANS response to threat or stress is either exaggeratedly strong or weak in some people -An overreactiveANS may increase readiness to acquire phobias or other anxiety disorders ▯ ▯ The Role of The Endocrine System ▯ - Maintains appropriate levels of hormones circulating in the bloodstream -Hormones are chemical messengers that are secreted by various glands -2 disorders are known to be related to the malfunctioning of the endocrine glands -Cretinism: Adisorder involving dwarf-like appearance and mental retardation —> it is a result of a defective thyroid gland -Hypoglycemia: Results from the pancreas failing to produce balanced levels of insulin or glycogen, produces experiences that mimic anxiety -The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis has been studied with regard to depression and anxiety -It is activated in response to stressors and involves an intricate system of communication between the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland and the adrenal cortex -The stress hormone cortisol is released into the blood stream by the adrenal cortex —> this hormone facilitates an individuals response to short-term threat by producing changes in the body (anti-flammatory effects and other survival benefits) -Sensitivity to stress has been strongly implicated in the etiology of depression and anxiety disorders -The HPAaxis is chronically activated in many individuals diagnosed with depression and anxiety ▯ Genetics and Behavior ▯ - Behavioral genetics: Insight into the biological bases of abnormal functioning -In the case of psychopathology, “genes confer a liability not a certainty” -Genotype-environment interaction: Genes may influence behaviors that contribute to environmental stressors which, in turn, increase the risk of psychopathology -Behavioral research into the genetic bases of psychiatric disorders typically takes 1 of 3 forms: family (pedigree) studies, twin studies, and adoption studies -Concordance: When the problem that characterizes the index case also occurs in the comparaison person —> can reveal environmental influences though -Genetic linkage studies: Examine families that have a high incidence of a particular psychological disorder —> looking for the presence of particular traits (called genetic markers: hair colour, eye colour, colour blindness, medical disorders, etc.) -Strong evidence of genetic basis -Molecular biology: Comparing specific DNAsegments and identifying the genes that determine individual characteristics -Researchers have been able to pinpoint the defective genes that cause various medical and psychological disorders ▯ PSYCHOSOCIALTHEORIES ▯ Psychodynamic Theories ▯ - Psychodynamic theorists, like Freud, have theorized that behavior is motivated by unconscious processes (that we are unaware of) acquired during the formative years of life -Freud was the founding father of the psychodynamic school of thought -See people as having little control over their actions (similar to biological model) -Anna O —> Patient studied by Freud who had quite complex symptoms such as paralysis, deafness, and disturbances of vision, which were apparently psychologically induced -During hypnosis she revealed traumatizing past events —> There memories were repressed, and she could not recall them in her waking state -Catharsis: Discharging the emotional responses attached to unconscious memories by identifying the original traumatic event during hypnosis -Anna continued to suffer from recurrence of her problems and become hostile towards “the talking cure” or psychoanalysis -She eventually recovered and became Germany’s first social worker and a leading feminist -In Freud’s theory, 4 features together determine current behavior and thinking -Levels of consciousness: Determine the accessibility of thoughts and desires -Conscious: Info of which we are currently aware -Preconscious: Not presently within our awareness but that can readily be brought into awareness -Unconscious: Contains the majority of our memories and drives that can only be raised to awareness with great difficulty and typically only in response to particular techniques —> most important level of the mind including our sexual and aggressive drives as well as traumatic memories (things that upset us so much [unacceptable drives] are kept our of memory —> defence mechanisms) -Structures of personality: Represent the embodiment of the various controlling forces -Id: Present at birth and represents the biological or instinctual drives that demand instant gratification, without concern for consequences (pleasure principle) -Ego: Develops in the first year of life and develops to curb the desires of the id so that the individual does not suffer any unpleasant consequences -Focus on the avoidance of pain and discomfort and the maximization of unpunished pleasure -Learning what is practical and possible -Reality principle -Ego tries to satisfy the id without harming the superego -The more strongly developed, the better able it is to handle the opposing pressures of the id and the superego -Superego: Internalization of the moral standards indicated by the child’s parents (moral principle) and it serves as the person’s conscience by monitoring the ego -Psychosexual stages of development: Indicate the points in experience where problems can arise -Freud believed that sexual drives were the most important determinants of behavior, called eros as they were seen as the major life instinct - Sexual pleasure, or the expression of libidinal energy, was focused on different body parts called erogenous zones and the focus of these zones differed at different stages of psychosexual development -Ex. Those who failed to fulfill their oral stage (not fully satisfied), would later produce behaviors that were either directly oral (smoking, alcoholism) or symbolically oral (constantly talking) -Phallic stage: Boys are presumed to develop sexual desires for their mothers’s love —> Oedipal complex —> castration anxiety: a boy’s fear that his father will mutilate his genitals to prevent any union with the mother (unconscious) -Electra complex: Similarly, girls are thought to desire their father, wanting to seduce him in order to gain what they truly desire, a penis - Defence mechanisms: Means by which people channel their psychic energy in functional or dysfunctional ways ▯ Behavioral Theories ▯ - Behavioral theorists suggest that behaviors are learned responses -Classical conditioning (Pavlov): The transfer of a response (the UCR or its practical replication, the CR) from one stimulus (UCS) to another (CS) —> stimulus-stimulus learning - Every time the dogs were fed, a bell was rung —> dogs would eventually salivate to the sound of the bell -The bell (the conditioned stimulus CS) elicited an orientating response ; that is, the dog looked toward the sound and listened -The meat (the unconditioned stimulus UCS) elicited an unconditioned response, salivation -Repeated pairings of the CS and UCS result in the CS eliciting some degree of salivation (the conditioned response CR) -Watson implemented this analysis into the acquisition of phobias -Ex. People with phobias of dogs must have had a frightening experience with one -The dog used to be a neutral stimulus (CS) in that it did not elicit fear -Watson believed that an unconditioned response to pain or threat was inborn and served as the basis for all subsequently acquired responses (CR) -Little Albert experiment -11 month boy who was not afraid of white rats -Watson followed the rat’s presence with a loud sound behind the boy which startledAlbert -After 7 presentations of the rat (CS) paired with the sudden sound (UCS),Albert displayed a conditioned fear response to the rat -When the UCS is removed, extinction (the loss of response to the CS) occurs rapidly -Ex. When someone who has been attacked by a dog and has a phobia of dogs, their constant exposure to dogs should help them overcome their phobia— but phobias show remarkable persistence -2 factor theory of conditioning: 2 types of learning take place in the acquisition and maintenance of phobias -(1) Classical conditioning establishes the average response to a previously neutral stimulus (The CS) and -(2) Thereafter, the organism avoids the CS in order to prevent fear -Avoiding the CS prevents extinction -Operant conditioning: All actions are followed by consequences (reinforcement, punishment) -Reinforcement: When behavior increases frequency as a result of consistent consequences -Positive reinforcement: Behaviors (opening fridge) lead to pleasant consequences/rewards (food), so this behavior increases -Negative reinforcement: Behaviors (taking advil) result in the reduction of distress (no more headache) -Punishment: When a behavior decreases in frequency as a result of its consequences -Positive reinforcement: Behavior that is reduced by the consequent occurrence of an unpleasant consequence (bully starts a fight but then is badly beaten up) -Negative reinforcement: Behavior that is reduced following the removal of something desirable (child is rude and not allowed to have ice cream) -Explains the persistence of phobia in a way that classical conditioning cannot by adding a negative reinforcement -Once a person has acquired a classically conditioned fear, they escape from the stimulus whenever it appears —> escape behavior —> Negatively reinforced by the consequent reduction in fear, and the person soon learns that avoiding the stimulus altogether eliminates the distress -Social learning theory: The majority of learning occurs within a social context and is acquired by observation of others rather than by direct personal experience (Bandura, Walters) -This includes books, movies, TV -Anumber of individual characteristics (expectations, abilities, appraisals, feelings, etc.) appear to influence different responses to stimuli -Cognitive behavioral theory: Both thinking and behavior are learned and can therefore, be changed -The way we view the world arises from our experience, and these patterns of thinking and perceiving are maintained by consequences in the same way that overt behaviours are maintained ▯ Cognitive Theories ▯ - Cognitive theorists suggest that it is the way people think about or perceive their world that causes them to develop disorders -3 main principles: -(1) Thinking affects emotion and behavior -(2) Thoughts can be monitored and changed -(3) By altering one’s thoughts, one will experience desired behavioral and emotional change - Rational-emotive behavior therapy (Ellis):Adaptive feelings and behaviors stem from rational and functional thoughts -When faced with unfavourable life circumstances, humans tend to make themselves feel frustrated, disappointed, and miserable, and behave in self- defeating ways, mainly because they construct irrational beliefs about themselves and their situation -ABC model of thought: The consequences (C) of life events (e.g., symptomatology, negative affect) are not contingent upon the activating event (A) per se, but are mediated by one’s beliefs (B) about these experiences - Cognitive theory and therapy: -Cognitive model (Beck-founder of cognitive therapy): Emotions and behaviors are heavily influenced by individual perceptions or cognitive appraisals of events -3 main levels of cognition: -(1) Schemas: Internal representations of stored info and experiences (used to organize new info in a meaningful way) -Early maladaptive schemas: broad, pervasive themes or patterns that are composed of memories, emotions, cognitions, and bodily sensations regarding the self that influence how we process, think, act, feel, and relate to others -Doesn’t become active until triggered by negative events -(1) Disconnection and rejection (abandonment, mistrust, emotional deprivation, shame, alienation) -(2) Impaired autonomy and performance (dependence, vulnerability, failure) -(3) Impaired limites (entitlement/grandiosity, insufficient self-control and self-discipline) -(4) Other directness (subjugation, self-sacrifice, approval seeking/recognition seeking) -(5) Over-vigilance and inhibition (negativity, pessimism, hyper-criticalness, punitiveness) -Content specificity: Different types of beliefs are considered to be related to different kinds of abnormal behavior -
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