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Individual Differences
Defining and Explaining Psychological Abnormality

The biological approach suggests that we are born with individual differences and
abnormalities. There are 4 different types

1. Infection
We are familiar with the idea of bacteria or viruses causing psychical illness such as flu. It seems,
though that infection can also…

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The cognitive approach suggests that all behaviours are a result of irrational thoughts
and early experiences.

Irrational thoughts and errors in logic from a piece of evidence lead to mental health issues.

Irrational thoughts are when an individual feels that what he is doing is nothing worthwhile. If he feels…

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The behavioural approach to abnormality simply suggests that abnormalities are
because of the environment we are bought up in and that we learn them. The assumption is that
everybody is born with a blank slate (know nothing) and we learn how to behave from others and
the environment also has…

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Operant Conditioning

B.F. Skinner (1938) coined the term operant conditioning; it means roughly changing of behaviour by
the use of reinforcement which is given after the desired response. Skinner identified three types of
responses or operant that can follow behaviour.

· Neutral operant's: responses from the environment that neither increase…

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learning theory. For example, a child may observe that their mother is afraid of spiders. According to
this explanation the child will then "copy" this behaviour and develops a phobia of spiders too.

Positive Evaluation of the behavioural approach Negative Evaluation of the behavioural approach

Behaviours are learnt through seeing…

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If the id's impulses override the ego, this can lead to violent tendencies, pleasurable acts and
uninhibited sexual behaviours. However, if the moral side of the super ego dominates, the individual
may be unable to experience any sort of pleasure.




According to Freud a child goes through a series of…

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A painful, anxiety or guilt provoking A person who is involves in a car
Repression thought is kept from the conscious accident has not memory of the
mind incident.


An alcoholic or drug addict may deny
Simply denying the existence of
Denial they are dependent or have an
something threatening…

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This means displaying a positive self-concept and a sense of identity. If an individual displays this,
Johoda would argue that person is demonstrating a healthy mental attitude.

Personal growth (focus on future and self actualisation)
Maslow (1968) first proposed the idea of self-actualisation, which essentially means the fulfilment of
one's…

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Deviation from Social Norms

All societies have accepted standards of behaviours although they differ from culture to culture.
Sometimes these are written laws and some can be unwritten such as queuing up in a line when
waiting to purchase tickets. Individuals who go against these norms are considered different and…

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Those diagnosed with depression or
schizophrenia may be mentally ill but can function
adequately and could lead a normal life.
Biological Therapies

Electroconvulsive Therapy Strengths Weaknesses
ECT involves passing small This is an alternative when The treatment has side affects
electric currents through the everything else fails such as which…

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