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Individual Differences Defining psychological
abnormality
Psychological Abnormality
How do you define `abnormal'?
How do you decide that a person's behaviour and psychological
functioning deviates from a normal person's so much so that they
need help to rectify their behaviour or thoughts?
Abnormal literally means `removed away from the norm'.
The norm is the average behaviour that we would
expect from most of the population.
We do not expect, for example, that a normal person
will go into the street and behave like Napoleon for
no apparent reason. We would consider that
abnormal behaviour.…read more

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Individual Differences Defining psychological
abnormality
Psychological Abnormality
Originally. abnormality was viewed as `bad' ­ an individual was
possessed. Today. in legal jargon an act might be termed `insane'
- the person concerned would have such a defect of reason that
s/he would not know the nature of the act that s/he was
committing.
Historically, such behaviour came to be seen as a
sign of mental illness ­ the person was `mad'.
In more recent times abnormality was seen as source of personal
distress ­ the person was seen as `sad'.
Abnormality is difficult to define.…read more

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Individual Differences Defining psychological
abnormality
Our judgements of what is abnormal are influenced by social and cultural factors.
Consider the following in terms of what they tell you about the influence of
society and culture in influencing our understanding of what is abnormal:
In the 1930s In China people
In Australia in the fear the wind as
single mothers
early 1970s it is believed by
could be
homosexuals were some to carry
committed to
given electric negative energy
psychiatric
shocks to cure (yin).
units
them of their
illness
When considering
what
is abnormal
we must be aware of
cultural relativism…read more

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Individual Differences Defining psychological
abnormality
Statistical infrequency
Abnormal behaviour can be defined in terms of statistics.
The statistical infrequency method allows
psychologists to decide what the average behaviour
would be for the majority of the population.
Abnormal behaviour is any behaviour that is different from the
statistical norm.
In a normal distribution, both very high values and very low
values indicate abnormality.…read more

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Individual Differences Defining psychological
abnormality
Deviation form Statistical Norm
MORE DEVIATION, MORE ABNORMAL…read more

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