Psychology 2310A/B Chapter Notes -Behaviorism, Deinstitutionalisation, Trepanning

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Chapter One: Concepts of Abnormality Throughout History
Key Terms
Psychological abnormality: refers to behaviour, speech or thought that impairs the
ability of a person to function in a way that is generally expected of him or her, in the
context where the unusual functioning occurs
Mental illness: a term often used to convey the same meaning as psychological
abnormality, but it implies a medical rather than a psychological cause
Psychological disorder: a specific manifestation of this impairment of functioning, as
described by some set of criteria that have been established by a panel of experts
Psychopathology: both the scientific study of psychological abnormality and the
problems faced by people who suffer from such disorders
Culturally relative: the norms of a particular culture determine what is considered to be
normal behaviour, and abnormality can be defined only in reference to these norms
Clinical psychologists: are initially trained in general psychology and then receive
graduate training in the application of this knowledge to the understanding, diagnosis,
and improvement of disorders of thinking and behaviour
Psychiatrists: are trained in medicine prior to doing specialized training in dealing with
mental disorders. This specialized training focuses on diagnosis and medical treatment
that emphasize the use of pharmacological agents in managing mental disorders
Psychiatric nurses: have received formal training in nursing before completing a
specialization in psychological problems
Psychiatric social workers: attend to the influence of the social environment on
disordered clients
Occupational therapists: sometimes involved in providing mental healthcare. These
individuals may provide a broad range of services on rehabilitation terms and typically
focus on helping clients to improve their functional performance
Supernatural causes: causes beyond the understanding of ordinary mortals, such as the
influence of gods, demons or magic
Natural causes: causes that can be observed and examined
Trephination: a prehistoric form of surgery possibly intended to let out evil spirits, it
involved cutting a hole into a persons skull
Humours: bodily fluids, disturbances of which, according to Hippocrates, resulted in
psychological dysfunctioning
Asylums: a place for treatment of the mentally ill. Units for the mentally ill were
established within the great Arab hospitals in Baghdad in AD 800 and asylums were
created in other Arab cities some 500 years before Europeans built their first asylums.
Treatment in Arab asylums followed the tradition of care, support and compassion
St. Vitus dance: an epidemic of mass hysteria (in the middle ages), where groups of
people would suddenly be seized by an irresistible urge to leap about, jumping and
dancing, sometimes convulsing
Mental hygiene movement: characterized by a desire to protect and to provide humane
treatment for the mentally ill
Syndromes: groups of symptoms that tend to occur together
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General paresis of the insane: a disorder evidenced by mania, euphoria, and grandiosity,
followed by a progressive deterioration of brain functioning (called dementia) and
paralysis. Now known to result from untreated infections by the syphilis spirochete
Somatogenesis: the idea that psychopathology is caused by biological factors--“soma”
meaning body in Latin
Electroconvulsive therapy: the use of electricity to induce a seizure in mental patients
by placing electrodes on the skull and administering a convulsive rather than lethal shock
Deinstitutionalization: the removal of people with disabilities from institutions and the
provision of community-based accommodations and services
Behaviourism: a psychological approach to understanding abnormal behaviour,
developed by Watson, which declared that psychology must be restricted to the study of
observable features, that is, the behaviour of organisms. Watson considered abnormal
functioning to be learned and believed it could be unlearned. His model for learning was
derived from Pavlov’s studies of classical conditioning
Lobotomies: psychosurgery consisting of surgical removal, or disconnection, of the
frontal lobes of the brain, intended to relieve all manner of mental and emotional
disorders
Mental health commission of Canada: a non-profit organization created to focus
national attention on mental health issues and to work to improve the health and social
outcomes of people living with mental illness
Evidence-based practice: health care based on established scientific findings rather than
practitioners assumptions
Summary
According to the statistical view, abnormal behaviour can be determined by how
frequently it occurs in the population
Personal distress can indicate the presence of abnormal behaviour
The personal dysfunction viewpoint emphasized that abnormal behaviour interferes with
appropriate functioning in a particular situation
Abnormal behaviour could be defined in terms of whether it violates societal norms and
values
Experts determine what qualifies as abnormal behaviour
One of these principles is necessary or sufficient in defining abnormal behaviour;
therefore, our definition of psychological disorders includes elements of all these
principles
Evidence from prehistoric times suggests that supernatural explanations for psychological
disorders may have been dominant
Greek and Roman philosophers and physicians held surprisingly modern views and
emphasized biological and psychological causes and treatments of disorders
In the Arab world, treatment was humane and environmental and psychological factors
were emphasized
During the middle ages, attributing supernatural causes to psychological disorders
became more common again, although some individuals continued to explore other
potential causes. Asylums were established around the 1500s, but treatment was often
harsh and ineffective
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