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List the 5 perspectives on defining abnormality.

1.) Cultural Relativism
2.) Unusualness
3.) Discomfort
4.) Mental Illness
5.) Maladaptiveness

Cultural Relativism:

different things are normal for different cultures. For example, children sleeping with parents.


rare behaviors are abnormal—the problem is, what is rare and that rare behaviors aren't always problematic (ex. virtuoso pianist)


Behaviors are abnormal only if the individual experiences discomfort and wishes to get rid of the behavior. The problem is, lack of insight and what about behaviors that endanger others

Mental Illness

Behaviors are abnormal that result from mental illness/disease—assumes abnormality is clear and identifiable.


Represents the consensus of mental health professionals. Composed of 3D's: dysfunction, distress, and deviance.

Describe historical examples of the implications of supernatural and biological theories on the interpretation & treatment of abnormal behavior.

o Supernatural theories: divine intervention, curses, demonic possession, and personal sin
o Biological theories: similar to physical disease, breakdown of some symptoms of the body
o Used trephination, drilling holes in the skull, as a means to let out the spirit in one's head that was causing him or her to behave in a bizarre manner.

The moral treatment movement and its leaders

The moral treatment movement of the 18th century was brought on by the brutal treatment of patients in asylums.
William Tuke created "the retreat" one of the first treatment places—a "return to nature"
Dorthea Dix helped establish more than 30 mental institutions
Phillipe Pineal made new rules—no chains, clean sunny rooms, etc.

Hippocrates and other early Greek physicians

rejected the supernatural explanations and instead engaged in things similar to what we do now.

Benjamin Rush

was the founder of American Psychiatry, who worked in an asylum and ran experiments on the patients he left there.

William Tuke

created "the retreat" one of the first treatment places—a "return to nature"

Dorthea Dix

helped establish more than 30 mental institutions

Phillipe Pineal

made new rules—no chains, clean sunny rooms, etc.


the study of the unconscious—presented the idea that you can help solve people's problems through talking to them


treatment for abnormality that consists of a therapist and client discussing the client's symptoms and casuses

What is behaviorism and who are the important individuals associated with it?

o Behaviorism is the study of the reinforcements and punishments of behavior
o Wilhem Wundt—1st experimental psychology lab
o Ivan Pavlov—Classical Conditioning (dogs and saliva)
o John Watson—classical conditioning and phobias
o EI Thorndike and BF Skinner—operant or instrumental conditioning using reinforcement principles and schedules

Describe how Watson's approach to explaining abnormal behaviors marked a departure from biological & psychoanalytic theories.

Watson rejected psychoanalytic and biological theories of abnormal behaviors, such as phobias, and explained them entirely on the basis of the individual's history of conditioning. He claimed he could train any healthy child to become any kind of adult he wished.


Thoughts or beliefs


MD-- and can prescribe medication

Clinical Psychologist:

PhD—research/limited prescription privs in some states

Doctor of Psychology:

PsyD—similar to clinical without research

Marriage and Family Therapist:

M.A and specializes in families, couples, and children

Social Workers:

MA or MS and often work for gov agencies

Psychiatric Nurses:

Nursing degree and specialization in treatment of severe psychopathology

Clinical Psychology Studies

Abnormal Processes

Cognitive Psychology Studies

Normal (and abnormal) Information Processing

Developmental Psychology Studies

Normal (and abnormal) development/learning processes

Neuroscience studies

Brain/biological processes

Social Psychology Studies

Group dynamics/processes—situational influence on behavior


A set of ideas the provides a framework for asking questions about a phenomenon, as well as gathering and interpreting information about that phenomenon

Diathesis-Stress Model

There can be vulnerability through biological, social, and psychological aspects. Biological being genes, biochemistry, brain anomalies; Social being maladaptive upbringing, chronic stress; Psychological being unconscious, conflicts, poor skills, and maladaptive cognitions. It sort of combines the nature V nurture debate.

List the 3 main aspects of the human body on which biological theories of mental disorders focus.

o Structural: abnormalities come from the brain's shape
o Biochemical: imbalances in neurotransmitters, hormones, etc
o Genetic: an accumulation of disordered genes leads to mental disorders

explain (in very general terms) the different ways neurotransmitters and hormones can affect psychological symptoms on the cellular level.

Neurotransmitters carry messages/impulses from one neuron to another and when there is too much or too little of a neurotransmitter/hormone it can cause disorders.

Monozygotic twins:

identical twins, 100% same genes

Dizygotic twins:

non-Identical twins/50% same genes

Concordance rates

The probability that both twins have a disorder if one twin has the disorder

explain why the statistical phrase "correlation does not equal causation" relevant to the consideration of the biology of mental illness.

Because just because on thing happens at the same time as another does not mean that one thing causes or is even directly correlated with another.

Describe the main assumption of interpersonal theories of abnormality argued by Alfred Adler.

Argued that the primary motivation of humans is to belong to and participate in social groups.

Identify the specific ideas/constructs associated with Erik Erikson & John Bowlby.

o Erik Erikson: Psychosocial stages marked by conflicts leading to positive or negative development.
o John Bowlby: Attachment

What are the implications of both Family Systems Theory & Social Structural Theory for the format of treatments/interventions

Family theory and Social-Structural theory lead to changes in treatment/intervention such as family therapy,

Psychodynamic Theory:

All behavior, thoughts, & emotions are influenced to a large extent by unconscious processes. Humans have 2 basic drives—the libido and the aggressive. We are controlled by our id, ego, and superego. An error in one of the psychosexual stages of development leads to mental disorders.

Humanistic and Existential Theory

Humanistic assumes humans have an innate capacity for goodness, existential is similar except believe it's more complicated/difficult to be happy.

Behavioral Theory:

Argues reinforcements & punishments produce normal and abnormal behavior.

Cognitive Theory:

Events lead to thoughts which lead to behaviors and feelings. This leads to mental disorders through learned helplessness, thinking errors (dysfunctional global assumptions), etc.

Describe 3 potential meanings for the word psychoanalysis.

o A theory
o A method of investigating the mind
o A form of treatment


operates by the pleasure principle, to immediately satisfy drives


A part of the ID (which splits off) that operates by the reality principle seeking to gratify drives while remaining consistent with societal rules


a later divergence of the ID, the storehouse of rules and regulations of conduct

Defense Mechanisms:

strategies the ego uses to disguise unconscious wishes (example: regression, rationalization, projection, etc)

What are the 3 main critiques of Freudian psychodynamic theories as presented by Karen Horney.

o 1.) Emphasis on sexual drives and anatomy to the exclusion of environmental and cultural influences
o 2.) Male as the prototypic human being
o 3.) Generalizing from tiny sample

What is Ivan Pavlov's original study including being able to identify the following elements in other scenarios: unconditioned stimulus, unconditioned response, conditioned stimulus, and conditioned response.

Pavlov was originally trying to study salivary glands. However, he found that
Unconditioned Stimulus: Naturally produces a desired response --> Unconditioned response: natural response
Conditioned Stimulus: Previously neutral stimulus paired with US --> Conditioned Response: response in the presence of CS

Operant Conditioning:

the shaping of behaviors by providing rewards for desired behaviors and punishments for undesired behaviors

Continuous Reinforcement Schedule:

Pairing behaviors with reward/punishment every time

Partial Reinforcement Schedule:

pairing reward/punishment only sometimes


the elimination of a learned behavior (more difficult when behavior learned using a partial reinforcement schedule)

Define self-actualization as Carl Rogers characterizes it.

This concept implies that there is an internal, biological force to develop one's capacities and talents to the fullest.

Understand the basic idea of Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

o Physiological needs -->
o Safety needs -->
o Love and belonging -->
o Esteem -->
o Self-actualization


some kind of manifestation of a phenomenon which indicates some kind of problem.


the over observable manifestations of some kind of biological disorder.
You learn about the syndrome because you can see it through the symptom. The combination of psychological symptoms can be called a syndrome and the syndrome is itself the disorder.

Differential Diagnosis

A determination of which of several possible disorders an individual may be suffering.


the process of gathering information about symptoms and causes of symptoms.


a label attached to a set of symptoms that tend to occur with one another.


the consistency of a test in measuring what it is supposed to measure.


the accuracy of a test in assessing what it is supposed to measure.

Face Validity

Test appears to measure what it is supposed to measure

Content Validity

Test assesses all important aspects of a phenomenon

Predictive Validity

Test predicts the behavior it is supposed to measure

Concurrent Validity

Test yields the same results as other measures of the same behavior, thoughts, or feelings

Construct Validity

Test measures what it is supposed to measure not something else

Test-Retest Reliability

Test produces similar results when given at two points in time

Alternate Form Reliability

Two versions of the same test produce similar results

Internal Reliability

Different parts of the same test produce the same results

Interrater Reliability

Two or more raters who administer the same test come to the same conclusion

Unstructured interview

only a few open-ended questions.

Structured Interview

series of questions, concrete criteria

Symptom Questionnaires

A quick assessment of a wide variety of symptoms or symptoms of a specific disorder.
Quick & easy to administer
Provide normative information to aid in diagnosis.
Allow for efficient symptom monitoring that can be shared with clients.

Personality Inventories

Questionnaires that are meant to assess people's typical ways of thinking, feeling, & behaving.
AKA Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
500+ True/False questions

Projective Tests

Assume that people presented with ambiguous information will interpret it in a way that reflects their concerns & feelings.
Rorschach Inkblot Test
Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)
The Sentence Completion Test
Draw-A-Person Test

How do projective tests relate to psychodynamic theory?

It uses the "unconscious" to determine issues. (Ex. if you see a snake in the picture you need x subconsciously)

Describe a "multiaxial system" and be able to recognize what kind of information is included on each Axis in DSM-iv-tr diagnoses.

5 axes, or dimensions on which a clinician evaluated behavior:
I and II: Diagnostic codes, associated features, culture, age, gender, family, etc
III and IV: General medical conditions, Psychosocial and environmental problems
V: GAF scores

how to apply the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) score.

Consider psychological, social, & occupational functioning on a hypothetical continuum of mental health-illness. Do not include impairment in functioning due to physical limitations.

Describe/Discuss the 4 main continuing concerns about use of the DSM-IV.

1.) Cultural Issues

Describe what is meant by "the disease model" and the problem of the categorical vs. continuous nature of mental illness.

The disease model assumes you can define where normality ends & psychopathology begins.
Researchers have argued personality disorders are extreme variants of normal personality traits.

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