Complete Revision Notes Abnormality, Psychopathy, Therapies

Complete set of revision notes on abnormality, psychopathy and the different therapies which are used to treat psychopathy. Psychology AS level, AQA unit 2.

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  • Created on: 24-05-13 10:40
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Definitions of abnormality:
1) Statistical Abnormality
Rare of unusual behaviour qualities are abnormal
Those who fall out of the majority at either end of the graph are considered abnormal.
Some behaviours are statistically rare but considered highly desirable. Not able to distinguish
using this approach. E.g. in example above both extremes would be considered abnormal but
they are very different, there is no way of distinguishing between them.
Some problem behaviours are so common they are not abnormal using this definition, eg.
2) Deviation from Social Norms
Norms and expectations of behaviour in modern Britain. E.g wearing clothes, sleeping,
personal hygiene
They are recognisable patterns of behaviour. Deviation from these patterns of behaviour are
regarded as indicators of abnormality.
Not all deviation is abnormal eg. A runner in fancy dress in a race is not abnormal as it
is in context
Question of power to define normal and therefore label some in society abnormal
eg. Political dissenters- USSR communist government not holding communist values,
political dissent was labelled `mental illness'

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Social norms change over time. This means what is at one time abnormal is not so at a
later point in history, e.g. homosexuality
Social norms are not the same- social norms vary from one cultural context to
another.…read more

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Ethnocentric (cultural relativity)- embedded in western culture biased to America e.g. in a
collectivist culture (China) model would not work, and the majority of people would be
classed as abnormal
As the model gives the ideal state few would match up to this making most of us abnormal. It
is not clear how far one must deviate from this ideal to be defined abnormal
Medical Classification of Psychopathology
This approach sees normality as the absence of disease. Abnormality is illness.…read more

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Anxiety/panic attacks
Biological Model of Abnormality
The biological model assumes that psychological disorders are physical illnesses with physical causes.
In principle they're no different from physical illnesses like flu, except they have major psychological
1) Genetics- Faulty genes are known to cause some diseases that have psychological effects
e.g. Huntington's disease. Twin studies have been done researching into Schizophrenia.…read more

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Unconscious contains secret fears and wishes/traumatic memories, these must
remain completely hidden and forgotten so that we can move on from traumatic events. We can
never see directly into the unconscious.
2) The libido
The inborn energy we have that motivates and enables us to survive- sexual activity is one
3) The id, ego and superego
Each of these is part of the mind and each has a developmental process. Usually they
combine to help us survive.…read more

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Over concern about going regularly may
cause obsessive time keeping or someone who is always late. Over emphasis on cleanliness
may cause obsession about being clean, or rebellion by always being untidy.
Phallic Stage- The Oedipus complex.…read more

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Conflicts between the id, ego and superego create anxiety. The ego protects itself with
various defence mechanisms. These can be the cause of disturbed behaviour if they are
Early experiences cause mental disorder
In childhood the ego is not developed enough to deal with traumas and therefore they are
repressed e.g. may experience death of a parent and repress associated feelings. Later in
life other losses may cause the individual to re-experience the early loss and lead to
depression.…read more

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Freud's claims are based on his subjective interpretations of his patient's dreams. Therefore
they're hard to scientifically test and so can't be proved right or wrong.
The focus is on the patient's past rather than on the problems that they are currently facing.
The fundamental concepts of the psychoanalytic theory such as the id and defence
mechanisms such as repression are almost impossible to test. This doesn't mean they are
wrong but does leave great room for speculation.…read more

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When you are reinforced for doing something, you're more likely
to do it again. When you are punished for doing something, you are less likely to do it again.
Evaluation of Behavioural Approach
The behavioural approach can provide convincing explanations of some psychological
disorders including classical conditioning in phobias and social learning in eating
disorders. However for many phobias e.g. spiders there is little evidence of early
fearful encounters that could lead to classical conditioning to fear the spider.…read more

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Beck identifies a cognitive triad of negative schemata
Negative view of self `I'm rubbish'
Negative view of the world `World is an awful place'
Negative view of future `Things can only get worse'
These negative thoughts influence the attributions the individual makes.…read more


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