abnormality cue cards

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  • Created by: mehmuna
  • Created on: 17-06-13 14:54

Definitions of abnormality


  1. Failure to function adequately: someone is abnormal is they are unable to do everyday normal things
  2. Deviation from social norms: someone is abnormal if they act in a way which deviates from the rules we have in society
  3. Deviation from ideal mental health: someone is abnormal if they do not meet all the criteria on Jahoda’s checklist e.g. accurate sense of reality and ability toi achieve goals

Discuss the definitions of abnormality


  1. FFA: what is functioning adequately? This could also be down to choice, not illness
  2. DSN: historical context, what is normal changes, cultural bias, could be abnormal in one culture not another
  3. DFIMH: very difficult to achieve all the criteria, some mental illnesses like narsassistic personality meet a lot of the criteria!

Biological approach to understanding abnormality


Based on the assumption that abnormality is caused by physical processes:

1.      Brain dysfunction

2.      Chemical imbalances

3.      Infection

4.      Genes


Evaluate the biological approach to understanding abnormality


+ There is a lot of supporting evidence e.g. McGuffin found a 46% rate of schizophrenia in identical twins; Brown found mothers who had flu had 14% chance of babies developing schizophrenia


+ Uses scientific techniques to find evidence such as objective measurements like brain scans and blood tests so evidence in valid


-          Very reductionist as only focuses on one factor, ignoring the role of emotions, thoughts and environment


-          Research is usually natural experiments or correlations so can’t prove cause and effect




Cognitive explanation for abnormality


Based on the assumption that abnormal behaviour is caused by faulty thinking. This happens due to the person having negative views about themselves, which affect the way they interpret situations in the world. This can lead to things like black and white thinking or over generalisations e.g. if one thing is terrible everything will be terrible today.


Evaluate the cognitive explanation of abnormality


+ There is supporting evidence e.g. Beck discovered the cognitive triad in thinking in depressed people who have negative views about themselves, the world and their future


+Acknowledges that thinking plays a part in our behaviour, so more of a role is given to the individual


-          Very reductionist, ignores role of biology, emotions and the environment


-          Difficult to test scientifically – we cannot see ‘thoughts’ all research will rely on self report techniques and may therefore be less valid

Behaviourist explanation for abnormality


 Based on the assumption that all behaviour is learned. This can happen in 3 ways:


1.      Classical conditioning: a response becomes associated with a stimulus e.g. being scared becomes associated with a spider

2.      Operant conditioning: a behaviour becomes associated with a reward e.g. crying may get attention

3.      Social learning theory: seeing someone we admire being rewarded for a behaviour means we will copy them e.g. seeing a popular perwson at school taking


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