AQA Psychology Unit 2 Abnormality / Psychopathology Notes

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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Chapter 3/3 Jemini Barchha
PSYCHOLOGY ­ PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
Defining Abnormality
Deviation from Social Norms
=Behaviour is seen as abnormal if it goes against approved and
expected ways of behaving
Explicit rule= Spoken rule, Stealing, driving on the wrong side, etc.
Implicit rule= Unspoken rule, e.g. standing too close to someone, etc.
Era Dependency:
-What is perceived to be normal may differ over time;
-E.g. in the USA, until 1973, homosexuality was considered to be a mental
illness and now was have same sex marriages.
Cultural Relativism:
-What we judge to be normal/abnormal may differ greatly across cultures
-E.g. People who hear noises in the UK may be diagnosed with Schizophrenia,
as they are experiencing auditory hallucinations, whereas in some tribal
societies, it is classed as normal to hear the voices of your dead relatives.
Deviation from Ideal Mental Health
=Johada stated that we should look for positive criteria of ideal
mental health and the fewer we possess of these, the more abnormal
we are
Criteria:
-Self-attitude= Having a positive self-concept and knowing your own flaws
and strengths
-Personal growth= Being able to strive to reach your full potential
-Integration= Having good strategies to cope with stressful situations
-Autonomy= Being able to rely on yourself, accept and face hard situations and
not depend on others
-Perception of reality= Seeing the world as it is, not through a `rose-tinted
glass'
-Environmental Mastery= Being able to succeed in work, activities,
relationships, etc.
Cultural relativism= Not all cultures will use the criteria and believe the same
criteria are necessary for ideal mental health, for example, in Java it is believed
that playing football, with a ball doused in petrol and set alight is good for
mental health, it keeps them alert due to the fast pace of them game.
Subjectivity= Based on psychological concepts rather than physical measures of
illness; physical measures are more objective, e.g. ECG to monitor the heart=
scientific- Johada's criteria may be subjective in the way in which they are
interpreted
Failure to Function Adequately
=Rosenhan et al believed that there are a set of abnormal
characteristics and alone they are NOT enough to determine whether
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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Chapter 3/3 Jemini Barchha
someone is abnormal or not, BUT when several are present in an
individual, then they could be
Abnormal characteristics:
-Suffering= We all suffer
-Maladaptiveness= Prevents someone from achieving their major life goals
-Vividness & unconventional behaviour= Unusual behaviour, e.g. living in a way
that is different from the norm.
-Unpredictability & loss of control= Someone who shows inappropriate
behaviour on a regular basis.…read more

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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Chapter 3/3 Jemini Barchha
o However... as the twins reared in the same environment ,cause and
effect cannot be established, they would have reared in the same way
and this could account for the development of schizophrenia
Evaluation
Reductionism
-Suggests that all abnormal behaviours simply stem from a biological cause,
whether that genes or biochemistry.…read more

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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Chapter 3/3 Jemini Barchha
However, as the twins were reared in the same environment, cause and effect cannot
be established, as they have been reared in the same way and this could account for
them having schizophrenia.
This approach is reductionism, as it suggests that all abnormal behaviours simply stem
from a biological cause, whether that genes or biochemistry.…read more

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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Chapter 3/3 Jemini Barchha
o UCS-Loud bang (Created by hitting a steel bar behind little Albert's head
with a hammer) + NS-White rat= CS- Association and so CS -> CR
o However, this study was conducted only on one little boy and therefore
cannot be generalised.…read more

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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Chapter 3/3 Jemini Barchha
have more control over their life, so not eating is positively reinforced. Also, those with
phobias, may get anxious and then try to avoid the object or situation. This prevents
the anxiety, which acts as a negative reinforcement.
This approach can be criticised though, as it is reductionist , suggesting that all
mental illness' is a by-product of our experiences and learning and doesn't consider
other factors, such as genes or irrational thinking.…read more

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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Chapter 3/3 Jemini Barchha
A further weakness is the approach suggests it is down to our thought processes and
therefore the blame lies with the person, rather than with their biological make up or
environment.…read more

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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Chapter 3/3 Jemini Barchha
Rational-Self
Inner desire
Seeks pleasure + immediate gratification `I want'
>>Dominant part of the psyche= Erotic personality time, e.g. rapist
>>Obsessional OCD, narcissistic personality (selfish)
Study to Support
A study to support is by Freud who studied Little Hans. The father reported all
behaviour shown by Little Hans. He was also the one considered to be the child's rival
and was never wanted home by him.…read more

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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Chapter 3/3 Jemini Barchha
Anti-depressant drugs
Improves the mood by increasing the availability of neurotransmitters such as
serotonin
Anti-psychotic drugs
Sedate and alleviate symptoms like hallucinations and delusions
Used for mental disorders like schizophrenia
Works by blocking the D2 receptor for dopamine
Evaluation
Side effects
>>Drugs may have side effects that may be considered worse than the original
symptoms
Treating the symptoms ONLY
>>Drugs relieves the symptoms of the disorder only, but not the actual root.…read more

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PSYCHOLOGY UNIT 2: PSYCHOPATHOLOGY Chapter 3/3 Jemini Barchha
Uses reverse conditioning and tries to replace a maladaptive response by
eliciting a healthier response
A person is gradually exposed to the object or situation they fear whilst in
relaxed conditions until the anxiety reaction is extinguished
It works by:
1) Giving the client training in how to relax using muscle relaxation
techniques
2) Creating a hierarchy, here the individual imagines a series of
anxiety-provoking situations, starting with the least anxiety-provoking
situation and progressing to the worst.…read more

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