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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…

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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. So what is considered abnormal in one context is not in…

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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

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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…

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appear there. 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…

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about giving away anything e.g. being a hoarder. 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. Each boy unconsciously goes through…

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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…

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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…

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consequences that follow. 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…

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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.
Attributions- how you explain or account for…


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