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Behavioural Approach to Explaining Abnormality

Behavioural Psychologists believe that all our behaviour is learnt.

Watson, one of the founding fathers of behaviourism states that we are born with a
`blank slate'. Any behaviour that we act is all learnt from the environment around us.
E.g. a baby learns to be…

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Operant Conditioning

Operant conditioning is another way we can learn behaviour. Skinner 1974
explained how behaviour is influenced by the consequences of our actions.

There are two main types of reinforcements:

Positive Reinforcement: E.g. Star form

Negative Reinforcement: Taking away an I-form

Punishment: Giving an I-form

Operant conditioning works well…

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Strengths Weaknesses
Focus on behaviour: The fact that you Reductionist: Approach is accused of
can change your behaviour from being too simplistic (reductionist) as it
maladaptive to adaptive behaviour explains complex behaviour is simple
overcomes the stigma of the label terms. It ignores biological and cognitive
attached by the…

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Cognitive Approach to Explaining Abnormality

This approach focuses on cognitive problems, (such as irrational thinking) in
abnormal functioning. Albert Ellis said the behavioural approach did not consider
our mental processes.

The point behind this approach is that the thinking (cognition) processes that
happen between a stimulus- then a response are…

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The Cognitive Triad: These are three forms of negative thinking that Beck thought
were typical of people suffering from depression.

Errors in Logic: Beck found depressed people tend to make logical conclusions when
they evaluate themselves.

Negative thoughts lead to negative feelings, which in turn lead to depression; Links

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The Psychodynamic Approach

This approach begins to look at the `dynamics' of our behaviour, (why we do
what we do. It focuses on past experiences ­ especially relationships with our
parents. The origins of the Psychodynamic approach stem from the work of
Sigmund Freud. There are 3 main areas of…

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Defence Mechanisms

To cope with the demands of the Id and Super ego, the Ego uses defence
mechanisms. This is to reduce anxiety allowing the person to cope with life.
Everybody uses defence mechanisms.

Memories and experiences are
Repression pushed away to the back of the
Going back to…

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According to Freud, we can become fixated at a certain stage, if we do not
overcome the conflicts within that stage. If this happens this can then lead to

Fixation at a stage can lead to psychological or behavioural problems later
on in life.

For example:

Oral Fixation- Pleasure…

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Influential: First model to establish talking therapy as a treatment in
mainstream mental health practice; so not just drugs are used.


Un-testable: Can't test it scientifically, just Correlational as there is only
a link from childhood to adulthood. Therefore a cause and effect
cannot be established.

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Biological Approach
The biological approach suggests that we are born with all
abnormalities/behaviours. It claims that abnormal behaviour can be
determined by four main factors, Brain structure, Genetics, Infection and Bio
Chemicals. They are all internal influences that determine whether a person
will have any abnormalities.

Infection: It has been…


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