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Chapter 1-5 7th edition Ronald J. Comer: Abnormal Psychology

Abnormal Psychology

The scientific study of abnormal behavior in an effort to describe, predict, explain, and change abnormal patterns of functioning

Clinical Scientist

analyze results using interdependent judgement. they also perform clinical laboratory tests.

Clinical Practitioner

a person who detects, assesses, and treats abnormal patterns of behavior

What is Abnormal?



rules and expectations by which a society guides the behavior of its members


history, values, institutions, habits, skills, technology, and arts in a given society that help define normal behavior


procedure designed to change abnormal behavior into more normal behavior


an operation that removes a circular section of bone from the skull


"natural causes"; imbalance of 4 fluids he called "humors"


Four fluids that flow through the body termed by Hippocrates; yellow bile, black bile, blood, and phlegm

Mass Madness

outbreaks where large numbers of people shared delusions and hallucinations


a nervous disorder characterized by an uncontrollable impulse to dance; Saint Vitus Dance


institutions whose primary purpose was to care for people with mental illness

Phillippe Pinel

1793, French Revolution, was director at La Bicetre; psychiatrist who demanded humane treatment of mentally ill

William Tuke

English Quaker who established the York retreat, where mental patients lived in humane surroundings

Moral Treatment

a nineteenth-century approach to treating people with mental dysfunction that emphasized moral guidance and humane and respectful treatment

Benjamin Rush

father of American Psychology, guided mental institutions stateside towards a more humane direction. also used bleeding, ice baths, tranquilizer chair

State Hospitals

reform led by Dorothea Dix

Somatogenic Perspective

the view that abnormal psychological functioning has physiological cause

Psychogenic Perspective

the view that says chief causes of abnormal functioning are psychological


many forms of abnormal and normal psychological functioning are psychogenic; clinicians helped troubled people gain insight into their unconscious psychological processes

Psychotropic Drugs

primarily affect the brain and alleviate many symptoms of mental dysfunctioning


moving people with psychological or developmental disabilities from highly structured institutions to home- or community-based settings

Private Psychotherapy

Individual pays "healer" directly


community movement towards centers

Positive psychology

study and enhancement of positive feeling, traits, abilities

Multicultural Psychology

study how culture, race, ethnicity, gender, etc. affect behavior and though in different cultures, races, genders

Managed Care Program

insurance company determines such key issues: which therapist, cost of sessions, number of sessions, etc.


Concepts or rules that can be applied universally


relating to or involving the study of individuals

scientific method

a series of steps followed to solve problems including collecting data, formulating a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis, and stating conclusions

case study

detailed; interpretive description of a person's life and psychological problems

internal validity

the extent to which an experiment shows convincingly that changes in behavior are a function of the independent variable and not the result of uncontrolled or unknown variables

external validity

the extent to which the results of a study can be generalized to other situations and to other people


a measure of the extent to which two factors vary together, and thus of how well either factor predicts the other. The correlation coefficient is the mathematical expression of the relationship, ranging from -1 to +1

Correlational method

a research method used to establish the degree of relationship (correlation) between two characteristics, events, or behaviors

positive correlation

A correlation where as one variable increases, the other also increases, or as one decreases so does the other. Both variables move in the same direction

negative correlation

the relationship between two variables in which one variable increases as the other variable decreases

unrelated correlation

no consistent relationship between variables

magnitude of correlation

how closely to two variables correspond

correlation coefficient

describes the direction and strength of the relationship between two sets of variables; from -1 to +1

statistically significant

an observed effect so large that it would rarely occur by chance

epidemiological study

a study that measures the incidence and prevalence of a disorder in a given population


number of NEW cases in a population during a given time


TOTAL number of cases in a population during a given time

longitudinal studies

researchers observe the same individuals on many occasion over a long period of time


a research method in which a variable is manipulated and the manipulation's effect on another variable observed

independent variable

the experimental factor that is manipulated; the variable whose effect is being studied

dependent variable

the variable that is measured in an experiment and changes as a result of a change in the independent variable


variables other than the independent variable that may also be affecting the dependent variable

control group

the group that is treated in the same way as the experimental group except that the experimental treatment (the independent variable) is not applied

experimental group

participants who are exposed to the independent variable

random assignment

any selection procedure that ensures that every subject in the experiment is as likely to be placed in one group as the other

blind design

preventing participants form finding out which group they are in

placebo therapy

something that looks or tastes like real therapy

double blind therapy

both experimenter and participant do not know which group is the control and which group is the experimental group


performs experiment on groups that already exist; mixed design

natural experiment

nature manipulates the independent variable and experimenter observes

analogue experiment

inducing laboratory participants to behave in ways that seem to resemble real life abnormal behavior and then conduct experiments

single-subject experimental design

single participant is observed both before and after the manipulation of an independent variable

biological model

model of explaining behavior as caused by biological changes in the chemical, structural, or genetic systems of the body


outer layer of the brain

anti-anxiety drugs

minor tranquilizers and anxiolytics; help reduce tension and anxiety i.e.: lorazopam (Atavan), alprazolam (Xanax), and diazepam (Valium)

anti-depression drugs

improve moods; sertraline (Zoloft), fluoxetine (Prozac), and escitalopram (Lexapro)

mood stabilizers

used to treat bi-polar; lithium

anti-psychotic drugs

reduce confusion, hallucinations, and delusions of psychotic disorders i.e. quetiapine (Seroquel), resperidone (Risperdal), haloperidol (Haldol)

electroconvulsive therapy

treatment where electrodes send an electrical current of 65-140 V through the forehead into the brain; treat severe depresion


brain surgery for mental disorders; lobotomy

psychodynamic model

model that views disorders as the result of childhood trauma or anxieties and that holds that many of these childhood-based anxieties operate unconsciously


instinctual needs, drives, and impulses; operates in accordance with pleasure principle


unconsciously seeks gratification but in accordance with the reality principle

Ego defense mechanism

such as repression; prevents unacceptable impulses from ever reaching consciousness

Super Ego

Freud; "moral watchdog"; governs behavior by reality and morality, often taught by parents, church and/or community; standards develop through interaction; conscience; ego ideal


stuck in an early stage due to lack of adjustment

ego theorist

theorists who emphasize the role of the ego and consider it more independent

Self theorist

theorists who emphasize the healthy development of self-interest; greatest role to unified personality

objective relations theorist

theorists who emphasize that people are motivated mainly by a need to be in relationships

psychodynamic therapies

treatments that stress the importance of the unconscious mind, extensive interpretation by the therapist, and the role of early childhood experiences in the development of an individual's problems

Free association

in psychoanalysis, a method of exploring the unconscious in which the person relaxes and says whatever comes to mind, no matter how trivial or embarrassing

Therapist Interpretation

psychodynamic technique where the therapist listen and encourage the patient to talk; resistance, transference, and dreams


unconscious refusal to participate fully in therapy, when they suddenly cannot free associate or when they change a subject


In psychoanalysis, the patient's transfer to the analyst of emotions linked with other relationships (such as love or hatred for a parent)

manifest content

according to Freud, the remembered story line of a dream

latent content

(psychoanalysis) hidden meaning of a fantasy or dream


(psychoanalysis) purging of emotional tensions

short-term psychodynamic therapy

psychodynamic therapies that are limited in the number of sessions, for example 25 sessions; sessions are weekly for a fixed period of time unlike most psychodynamic therapies which meet 3x/week for years

relational psychoanalytic therapy

a form of psychodynamic therapy that considers therapists active participants in the formation of patients' feelings and reactions, and therefore calls for therapists to disclose their own experiences and feelings in discussions with patients


a learning process in which an organism's behavior becomes dependent on the occurrence of a stimulus in its environment

operant conditioning

behavior learned by means of receiving a reward


learning by imitating others; copying behavior

classical conditioning

learning occurs by temporal association; two events occur repeatedly and close together in time so that they become fused in the subject's mind

Systematic desensitization

A type of counterconditioning that associates a pleasant relaxed state with gradually increasing anxiety-triggering stimuli. Commonly used to treat phobias.


the belief that one can master a situation and produce positive outcomes

cognitive behavioral therapies

cognitions as learned behavior

cognitive therapy

developed by Aaron Beck, a form of therapy based on a collaborative effort between clients and therapists that helps clients recognize and correct distorted patterns of thinking believed to underlie their emotional problems


to fulfill one's potential for goodness and growth

client-centered therapy

A humanistic therapy based on Carl Roger's beliefs that an individual has an unlimited capacity for psychological growth and will continue to grow unless barriers are placed in the way.

Gestalt Therapy

An humanistic/existentialist approach to treatment with the goal of helping the client become aware of his or her thoughts, behaviors, experiences, and feelings and to "own" or take responsibility for them

existential therapy

a therapy that encourages clients to accept responsibility for their lives and to live with greater meaning and values

sociocultural perspective

A psychological approach that emphasizes social and cultural influences on behavior

family systems theory

a theory that views the family as a system of interacting parts whose interactions exhibit consistent patterns and unstated rules

group therapy

psychotherapy in which a small group of individuals meet with a therapist

self help group

a type of therapy group in which members share a common problem, such as alcoholism, with no therapist present

family therapy

group therapy with family members

multicultural perspective

A perspective that clearly recognizes the potential importance of gender; age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, religious orientation, and many other social and cultural dimensions.

biopsychosocial theories

explanations that attribute the cause of abnormality to an interaction of genetic, biological, developmental, emotional, behavioral, cognitive, social, and societal influences


collecting relevant information in an effort to reach a conclusion or diagnosis


consistency of assessment measures


accurately measure what it is supposed to measure

clinical interview

face to face encounter to observe reactions, what the patient says, to get a sense of who they are

Mental status exam

a set of questions and observations that systematically evaluate the client's awareness, orientation with regard to time and place, attention span, memory, judgment and insight, thought content and processes; mood and appearance


devices for gathering information about a few aspects of a person's psychological functioning, from which broader information about the person can be inferred

projective tests

test that requires clients interpret vague stimuli, such as ink blots or ambiguous pictures or follow open-ended instructions such as "draw a person"; clients project aspects of personality in vague settings (psychodynamic = access unconscious drives)

Rorschach Test

a projective tests using bilaterally symmetrical inkblots

Thematic apperception Test (TAT)

shown 30 black and white photos of people and asked to make up a dramatic story about each; "hero"

sentence-completion test

1920's; asks client to finish sentence such as "my father..."

Personality Inventory

asks respondents a wide range of questions about behavior, belief, and feelings


Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory; consists of more than 500 selt-statements: T/F/Cannot say

Response Inventories

ask people to give detailed information, but focus on one specific area of functioning; used by cognitive therapists

Psychophysiolgocial test

measure physiological responses as possible indicators of psychological problems ~ polygraph

Neurological tests

designed to measure brain structure and activity directly i.e. EEG (electro encephalogram); records brain waves


CAT, PET scan, MRI, fMRI

CT Scan

X rays of brains structure are taken at different angles and put together

PET Scan

Functioning of different areas of brain

Neuropsychological Tests

measure cognitive, perceptual, and motor performances

Intelligence Test

series of tasks requiring use of various verbal and nonverbal skills i.e. IQ tests

Naturalists observation

observe client in natural setting

Analogue Observation

aided by equipment: video camera or two-way mirror for a long period of time


people observe themselves and carefully record the frequency of certain behaviors, feelings, or cognitions; flawed as people may filter recording


determination that a person's psychological problems constitute a particular disorder


certain symptoms regularly occur together; cluster of symptoms


most widely used classification system in US

Anxiety: anxiety and worry, panic, OCD
Mood: extremely sad or extremely elated

Axis I

mental retardation: subaverage intellect
Personality: rigid maladaptive pattern of inner experience and outer behavior

Axis II

General Medical Information

Axis III

psychosocial/environmental problems

Axis IV

Global Assessment of functioning; GAF: 100 pt scale

Axis V

evidence based treatment

treatments that are dependent on critically evaluated research and are essentially empirically tested


vague sense of being in danger

anxiety disorder

most common mental disorder in the US; plagued by anxiety

generalized anxiety disorder

experience excessive anxiety under most circumstance and worry about practically anything; last 6 months

client-centered therapy

unconditional positive regard for clients; empathize - Humanist approach

Albert Ellis

basic irrational assumption theorist

Aaron Beck

silent assumptions that they are in eminent danger


(Adrian Wells); suggests that people with general anxiety disorder implicitly hold both positive and negative beliefs about worrying

rational-emotive therapy

therapist points out the irrational assumptions of the client, suggest more appropriate assumptions, and assign homework that gives the individual practice at challenging old assumptions and apply new ones

family pedigree studies

Studies designed to investigate whether a disorder runs in families


an anxiety disorder characterized by extreme and irrational fear of simple things or social situations

social phobia

any phobia (other than agoraphobia) associated with situations in which you are subject to criticism by others (as fear of eating in public or public speaking etc)

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