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1. Definitions of abnormality 1. Failure to function adequately: someone is abnormal is they are unable to do everyday normal things 2. Deviation from social norms:…
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  • 1. Definitions of abnormality 1. Failure to function adequately: someone is abnormal is they are unable to do everyday normal things 2. Deviation from social norms: someone is abnormal if they act in a way which deviates from the rules we have in society 3. Deviation from ideal mental health: someone is abnormal if they do not meet all the criteria on Jahoda’s checklist e.g. accurate sense of reality and ability toi achieve goals Discuss the definitions of abnormality 1. FFA: what is functioning adequately? This could also be down to choice, not illness 2. DSN: historical context, what is normal changes, cultural bias, could be abnormal in one culture not another 3. DFIMH: very difficult to achieve all the criteria, some mental illnesses like narsassistic personality meet a lot of the criteria! Biological approach to understanding abnormality Based on the assumption that abnormality is caused by physical processes: 1. Brain dysfunction 2. Chemical imbalances 3. Infection 4. Genes Evaluate the biological approach to understanding abnormality + There is a lot of supporting evidence e.g. McGuffin found a 46% rate of schizophrenia in identical twins; Brown found mothers who had flu had 14% chance of babies developing schizophrenia + Uses scientific techniques to find evidence such as objective measurements like brain scans and blood tests so evidence in valid - Very reductionist as only focuses on one factor, ignoring the role of emotions, thoughts and environment - Research is usually natural experiments or correlations so can’t prove cause and effect
  • 2. Cognitive explanation for abnormality Based on the assumption that abnormal behaviour is caused by faulty thinking. This happens due to the person having negative views about themselves, which affect the way they interpret situations in the world. This can lead to things like black and white thinking or over generalisations e.g. if one thing is terrible everything will be terrible today. Evaluate the cognitive explanation of abnormality + There is supporting evidence e.g. Beck discovered the cognitive triad in thinking in depressed people who have negative views about themselves, the world and their future +Acknowledges that thinking plays a part in our behaviour, so more of a role is given to the individual - Very reductionist, ignores role of biology, emotions and the environment - Difficult to test scientifically – we cannot see ‘thoughts’ all research will rely on self report techniques and may therefore be less valid Behaviourist explanation for abnormality Based on the assumption that all behaviour is learned. This can happen in 3 ways: 1. Classical conditioning: a response becomes associated with a stimulus e.g. being scared becomes associated with a spider 2. Operant conditioning: a behaviour becomes associated with a reward e.g. crying may get attention 3. Social learning theory: seeing someone we admire being rewarded for a behaviour means we will copy them e.g. seeing a popular perwson at school taking drugs and being respected for it may mean you copy this and then become an addict
  • 3. Evaluation of the behaviourist explanation for abnormality + Very scientific because it aims to only research observable behaviours which means research is usually high in internal validity + Supporting evidence e.g Little Albert study by Watson and Raynor supports classical conditioning - Very reductionists, ignores emotions, biology and thoughts - Cannot explain individual differences where people who share the same environment such as siblings do not go on to develop the same abnormal behaviours The Psychodynamic approach to explaining abnormality Based on the assumption that abnormality is caused by conflict within the drives in the mind. Ego should dominate ID and Superego, but disruption to the normal development of these drives during the psychosexual stages can lead to either the ID or the Superego becoming the dominant drive. Ego tries to put in ego defence mechanism to stop this, which are usually expressions of abnormal behaviour. For example, displacement of an unsafe thought from the ID onto a safer object such as phobias. Evaluation of the Psychodynamic Model + Evidence to support the role of psycho sexual stages and displacement onto a phobia from the Little Hans study + Many useful therapies have come from the approach - No scientific evidence as the mind cannot be located and tested in lab conditions - Very reductionist as ignored the other approaches Biological treatments for abnormal behaviour Drugs: anti anxiety (Beta blockers), anti depressants ( work by increasing amount of serotonin available to improve mood) and anti psychotic drugs (work by stopping the absorption of too much dopamine). Electro-convulsive therapy: 1. Patient is relaxed with a sedative 2. Electrodes are attached to the temple 3. A voltage of 70 – 130 volts is passed through the brain for half a second 4. This produces a convulsion for 1 minute 5. Patient awakes and remembers nothing 6. 2 – 3 sessions a week for 3 – 4 weeks
  • 4. Evaluation of biological treatments Drugs: + Proven effectiveness e.g. Hidalgo found anti anxiety drugs reduce social anxiety + easily available and cheap - side effects can include memory loss and depression - EFC strategy so only treat the symptoms, not the cause ECT + Proven effectiveness Johnson stated that 11,000 procedures were carried out in the UK in 1999 + Can be useful in suppressing depressive symptoms for up to one year - Can cause problems with cognitive thinking and emotional side effects such as withdrawal and flatness - EFC strategy – does not deal with the problem and symptoms return usually after one year Cognitive treatments for abnormality, explanation and evaluation Therapist helps the client identify the irrational thoughts they are having through the use of thought diaries which record all thoughts. The client is then encouraged to challenge these faulty thoughts on the basis of whether there is any evidence for them, and how useful these thoughts actually are. Client is encouraged to realise that the thoughts are not true, and this then shifts their entire way of thinking so that it is far more rational. + patient is given responsibility for their own abnormality as it is up to them to change their thinking + Arguably a PFC strategy as thoughts are cause of abnormal behaviour - very expensive and time consuming! - Not appropriate for all illnesses e.g. schizophrenic patients may not have the grip on reality needed to make rational sense of things
  • 5. Behavioural treatments for abnormality Systematic Desensitisation: based on the idea that associations between stimulus and response can be unlearned 1. Client is taught relaxation techniques 2. Client and therapist construct an anxiety hierarchy with the most anxiety provoking situation at the top, and the least anxiety provoking situation at the bottom 3. Client is set tasks to systematically work through the hierarchy, starting at the bottom and using relaxation techniques to reduce the anxiety. 4. Once anxiety is reduced, client works on the next situation on the hierarchy 5. Client works through whole hierarchy until they feel no anxiety at any of the situations Evaluation of behavioural treatment for abnormality + It has been found to be very effective (need study for this!!) + Can deal with the actual cause of the illness as it removes the anxiety altogether so it is PFC - Only works with anxiety disorders, cannot be applied to other illnesses - Can be very distressing for the clients to have to ‘face their fears’ which could cause more illness in the long run Psychodynamic treatments Free association: Client is asked to talk about anything that comes to mind and the therapist writes this down and then later analysis the content to reveal repressed desires. The client is made aware of this to then overcome them. Dream analysis: Client is asked to talk about dreams (manifest content) the therapist then interprets the hidden meaning (latent content) and makes client aware of this so they can overcome repressed issues
  • 6. Evaluation of psychodynamic treatments + Bergin (1971) analysed the data from 10,000 patient histories and estimated that 80% benefited from psychoanalysis alone compared to only 65% who benefited from combined therapies + Effective over time - Tschuschke et al (2007) found that as a therapy psychoanalysis remains effective over time. In a study looking at 450 participants who had undergone psychoanalysis, it was found that those who had gone through the longest treatment had the most positive outcomes. - can be very unethical to bring up repressed memories as they can be painful - Loftus stated that false memories are often planted in the clients mind
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