Individual Differences - Abnormality (Psychopathology) Mind Map

A mind map detailing the key points and evaluation points of the third module "Indvidual Differences - Abnormality (Psychopathology) for AQA A AS-Level Psychology

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  • Individual Differences - Psychopathology (Abnormality)
    • Definitions/ Explanations
      • Deviation from Social Norms (DSN)
        • Evaluation
          • Cultural Relativity: Standards for normal behaviour vary by culture meaning there can be no universal set of social 'rules'
          • Application: Can be used to justify the removal of 'unwanted' people from a society (e.g. those who do not favour a certain political party)
          • Assumes that infrequent behaviours are always undesirable (e.g. having a high IQ is not the social norm but is desirable)
          • There is no objective line drawn between normal and abnormal behaviour (how far must  one deviate?)
          • Hasset and White commented that some disorders (e.g. depression) are statistically common
          • Context: In some situations behaving in a way that contradicts social norms can be normal (e.g. dressing up for a charity fun run)
        • Deviating from a society's standards of behaviour and attitudes
        • Behaviour that is statistically infrequent is defined as abnormal
      • Failure to Function Adequately (FFA)
        • Individuals who cannot cope with the demands of day-to-day life may be considered abnormal
        • May display: dysfunctional behaviour, observer discomfort, unpredictable behaviour or irrational behaviour
        • Evaluation
          • There is no objective way of determining when someone has displayed these qualities to a sufficient extent to be defined as abnormal (most people may act irrationally sometimes)
          • Context: Phobias are considered normal and these cause people to display irrational fear (or hunger strikes - Seligman and Rosenhan)
          • Cultural Relativity: What "failing to function adequately" is could look different depending on the culture
          • A person may fail to function adequately due to other factors (e.g. discrimination or not having enough money)
      • Deviation from Ideal Mental Health (DIMH)
        • Jahoda's Six Conditions for Good Mental Health
          • Positive self-attitude
          • Personal Autonomy
          • Accurate perception of reality
          • Resistance to Stress
          • Adaption to the environment
          • Realising your potential and feeling fulfilled
        • Failing to acquire these characteristics may define an individual as abnormal
        • Evaluation
          • It is not clear to what extent an individual must meet these criteria (surely at times, everyone can be subject to stress and Milgram showed that psychologically stable people could easily enter an agentic state resulting in a temporary loss of personal autonomy)
          • Some individuals that are abnormal may still be able to meet these criteria on a subjective level. For example, a violent offender could still have a positive self-attitude but would not be seen as normal
          • Cultural Relativity: these criteria are culturally relevant (in collectivistic cultures autonomy may not be as valued)
      • The DSM-IVR
        • Categorises disorders and syndromes based on the  associated symptoms, taking environmental influences into account
        • Used by psychiatrists and medical practitioners
        • Symptoms associated with mental illness include: impairment of intellectual functions, delusional appraisals, delusional beliefs and disordered thinking
      • Bias
        • Gender Bias: Clinicians may diagnose more mood disorders in women and more antisocial disorders in men because of the gender stereotypes surrounding behaviour
        • Racial Bias: In Britain, large numbers of immigrant groups are being diagnosed with schizophrenia, compared to small numbers in their countries of origin (suggesting the reason is biased diagnosis rather than genetic factors)
        • This has strong implications because research has shown that once people are given a label they are more likely to behave in the expected way
          • Rosenhan on "Being Sane in Insane Places": Found that it was very easy to be labelled with a disorder and difficult to lose the label once diagnosed
    • Biological Approach
      • Treatments
        • Main Objective of Treatments: To ease symptoms and/or reverse the underlying physical cause of the illness
        • Drugs
          • Anti-depressant: improve mood by increasing the availability of neurotransmitters (seratonin and dopamine)
          • Anti-anxiety: enhance the action of GABA to promote relaxation and a calming effect
          • Anti-psychotic: block dopamine receptors to sedate symptoms of a person suffering from psychotic disorders
          • Evaluation
            • Fast acting and can be required to relieve anxiety enough to allow psychological therapies to be effective
            • Scientific evidence can be provided to show their effectiveness
            • Do not target the cause meaning they are needed continually and cannot provide long-term relief
            • Can become addictive leading to withdrawal symptoms and can have side effects
        • Psychosurgery
          • Removing or separating parts of the brain to result in personality changes
          • Moniz's frontal lobotomy involves removing the frontal lobe from the rest of the brain to reduce aggression and make people more placid
      • Assumptions
        • Mental disorders are physical illnesses that have physical causes. They differ from other disorders in the symptoms they cause but can be treated the same as a physical illness like the flu
        • When symptoms occur together they can be defined as a syndrome or disorder
        • Faulty Genes may cause psychological disorders (e.g. Huntington's disease)
        • Having too much or too little of a particular neurotransmitter can produce psychological disorders (e.g. reduced seratonin leads to depression)
        • Infections may also cause disorders. E.g. syphilis can cause general paresis
        • Brain injury can also lead to psychological abnormalities. For example, Phineas Gage
      • Evaluation
        • Scientific basis in Biology provides reliable evidence to support assumptions
        • Ethical as people are not blamed for their disorders
        • Some psychotic disorders have been relieved through biological therapies (e.g. schizophrenia)
        • Drugs can cause addiction and  psychosurgery has irreversible effects
        • Psychological therapies treat disorders successfully without any inference to biological structures
        • Reductionist: Assumes that human psychology can be reduced to separate and individual disorders that fit into neat boxes with rigid symptoms
        • Only considers physical factors, the diathesis stress model suggests that the environment has an equally important part to play
      • Research
        • Gottesman's twin study: Found that having an identical twin with schizophrenia gives you a 48% chance of developing the disorder - schizophrenia has a genetic  basis
        • Heston's adoption study: Found that children with schizophrenic mothers were more likely to develop schizophrenia - supporting the view that it has a genetic basis
    • Behavioural Approach
      • Assumptions and Research
        • Behaviours are all learnt through classical and operant conditioning. This includes abnormal behvaiours or disorders. They are a result of conditioned responses to interactions with the environment
        • Behaviour is measurable and understandable. We can recognise common learning pattern to discover the root of disorders. We can also use this knowledge to 'unlearn' unwanted behaviours
      • Treatments
        • Main objective of treatments: To get rid of maladaptive responses and acquire adaptive ones
        • Systematic Desensitisation
          • Patient forms a fear hierarchy that shows what they fear least through to their most feared event (e.g. seeing a picture of a spider to holding a spider)
          • A form of counter-conditioning is used, the therapist will introduce a relaxation response to replace the previous fear response at the situation
          • This is repeated until the most feared event is learnt to be associated with relaxation rather than anxiety
        • Flooding
          • Patient experiences inescapable exposure to their feared situation
          • This should result in the fear response disappearing as the patient realises there is no real threat
        • Aversion Therapy
          • This removes an undesired behaviour by associating it with something unpleasant For example, giving alcoholics alcohol with a vomiting drug
        • Token Economy
          • Used to increase desirable behaviours by rewarding (or positively reinforcing) them
          • For example, rewarding anorexics when they eat
          • This modifies behaviour without addressing the cause of the problem
        • Evaluation
          • Long-lasting results after therapy as behaviour is permenantly modified if successful
          • Helps patients to take control themselves leading to more positive thinking and making them better at dealing with future problems
          • Often behaviours may not last beyond institutions (particularly true for token economy)
          • Reductionist: Very mechanistic approach that does not consider all influences or target causes
      • Evaluation
        • Evidence: Provides highly plausible explanations with research to back-up (e.g. Watson and Rayner)
        • Treatments prove very effective for simple disorders where learning can be clearly understood
          • Does this suggest that some disorders have more complex learning patterns or learning patterns are only present in simple disorders?
        • Reductionist: Very mechanistic and assumes learning occurs in isolation of other factors
        • Ignores the role of conscious choice in human behaviour, assumes that everything is determined by learning stimuli, rewards and punishment
        • Treatments are not effective for all disorders. For example, psychotic behaviour cannot be "unlearned"
        • Ethics: Some treatments (such as flooding and aversion therapy) can be very distressing
    • Psychodynamic Approach
      • Assumptions
        • Psychological disorders are caused by unconscious forces and repressed emotional childhood conflicts. The dynamics between the id, ego and superego cause conflict.
        • Conflicts occur when the ego fails to balance the demands of the id and superego, this is most likely to occur before the ego is fully developed during early childhood
        • Ego defence mechanisms (e.g. suppression) are deployed by the ego to protect itself from intra-psychic conflict anxiety
        • If the id becomes fixated at a psychosexual stage this may also lead to later life abnormalities(for example, fixation at the anal stage may lead to OCD developing in later life)
        • Stress or trauma in adulthood may trigger repressed conflicts, leading to disorders developing
      • Treatments (Psychoanalysis)
        • Free Association
          • The client is encouraged to express anything and everything that comes into their mind
          • They mustn't censor any details, as all details may be relevant in revealing emotion
          • This allows the patient to reveal their emotions without it being subject to ego defences as they are encouraged to not consciously think about what they're saying (and the ego is believed to be present in the conscience)
        • Dream Analysis
          • Freud believed that during dreams normal barriers to unconscious material were lifted
          • Imagery present in dreams reflects unconscious material meaning repressed thought are likely to occur in dreams
          • Evaluation
            • Dream content must be interpreted and a meaning must be inferred from it which is therefore subject to subjectivity of the interpretter
            • The patient must have some understanding of themselves and their minds (e.g. does not work for those with psychotic disorders)
            • The first therapy that considered the influence of emotions in psychological problems
            • Bergin found that 80% benefitted from dream analysis
        • Hypnosis
          • People can access repressed thoughts while in a relaxed, hypnotised state
          • However, it is difficult to hypnotise people and they can become very suggestible when hypnotised
        • Main objective of treatments: To uncover unconscious conflicts and make them conscious and to achieve a balance between the id, ego and superego
      • Research
        • Case studies on Hans and Anna O show how Freudian diagnosis would occur, in great detail
        • However, this research cannot be generalised to encompass all disorders, emphasising the individual emphasis of this model
      • Evaluation
        • A unique approach that considers emotion as well as biological needs
        • Focuses on eliminating the cause of disorders by resolving repressed anxieties
        • Strong focus on the psychological causes of disorders rather than physiological
        • Focused too strongly on sexual factors. Other motives may lead to conflicts
        • Very unscientific, based on a few case studies interpretted using subjective methods
        • Psychoanalysis is expensive and could take a very long time to uncover anything. Also, truths uncovered may be inaccurate and it would be impossible to know if they were or not
        • Fundamental concepts of the theory (such as the tripartite personality) are impossible to test scientifically
        • The Phallocentric nature of interpretation may have been influenced by Freud's living in a male-oriented society
    • Cognitive Approach
      • Assumptions
        • Schemas formed through experience influence the way we behave
        • Behaviours are controlled by thoughts and beliefs. Cognitive biases may form due to irrational or faulty thought processes
        • Ellis's ABC Model
          • A) Activating Event: an event that may be likely to result in a feeling or attitude developing (e.g. failing an exam)
          • B) Belief is formed as a result of event (e.g. rational - didn't study enough vs. irrational - I'm too stupid)
          • C) Consequence: what the belief leads the person to do. (e.g. adaptive - revise more vs. maladaptive - getting depressed)
        • Beck's Cognitive Triad
          • Identified  three negative, automatic thoughts linked to depression
          • Negative views about the self (I can't do anything)
          • Negative thoughts about the world (I am not a good person if I don't succeed at everything)
          • Negative thoughts about the future (I can never change)
      • Treatments
        • Main Objective of Treatments: To correct irrational and unrealistic beliefs and ideas so that thinking becomes an effective way of controlling behaviour
        • Beck's Cognitive Therapy
          • The therapist attempts to identify the client's faulty cognitions and then attempts to convince them that they are irrational
          • Together, they then set goals to think in more positive ways about various situations, focusing on the client's present situation
          • Therapists may encourage clients to keep a record of their appraisals in a  reflective diary to identify common patterns in the formation of faulty cognitions
          • Reality Testing is used to compare irrational cognitions to the real world and is used to convince clients that their appraisal of situations is irrational
      • Evaluation
        • Ethics: Therapy puts the individual in control and has a positive outlook on human potential and autonomy
        • Ethics: Blames the individual's thinking for their problems which may discourage them, especially if their experience is beyond their control
        • Factors other than thinking are not considered (for example, appraisal may be accurate and rational in some cases)
        • Focuses on the present situation to actively deal with current problems rather than bringing up past issues
        • Untitled
        • Brain vs. Mind: Assumes that disorders originate in faulty cognitions formed as part of the conscious mind. However, it is possible that the brain causes disorders which lead to faulty cognitions in the conscious mind
        • Therapies can take a long time and be expensive

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