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A Level Psychology Abnormality CIE
Study cards for A level psychology, following the Cambridge International Examinations syllabus as part of the AICE program. Specialist choices: abnormality and education.
Terms in this set (100)
Rosenhan and Seligman (1989)
Abnormal behavior is seen as vivid and unpredictable, causes observer discomfort and violates moral or ideal standards because it differs from most other people's behavior and standards. Part of the "Deviation from Social Norms" definition of abnormality.
Another supporter of the "Deviation from Social Norms" definition of abnormality. Argues that abnormality, especially relating to certain mental disorders, is a socially constructed concept. This construction then allows for labeling of psychological patients. Szasz is also a big critic of the classification system utilized in diagnosis of mental disorders, based on the ethical implications associated with labeling.
Part of the "deviation from ideal mental health" definition of abnormality. Describes several characteristics that mentally healthy people should possess, such as the ability to introspect, integration and balance of personality, self-actualization, autonomy, ability to cope with stress and see the world as it really is, and environmental mastery. However, even "sane" people do not achieve all of these characteristics.
Argues that very few people actually achieve self-actualization.
Psychoanalytic Approach to Abnormality
Popularized by Freud. Notion of normality is a balance between id impulses, the conscience of the ego, and the values of the superego. Abnormality is the result of thwarted id impulses, repression of traumatic events, or unresolved unconscious conflicts. The difference between the "normal" and "abnormal" is in degree of expression of abnormal tendencies. Utilizes directive therapy.
Behavioral Approach to Abnormality
Behaviorism centers around the belief that all behavior is resulting from learned causes. Processes of learning include classical conditioning and reinforcement. A notion of normality centers around a "learning history" (i.e. a network of behavioral causes within an individual) that has provided an adequately large selection of adaptive responses (i.e. good/normal behavior). Important behaviorists included Pavlov, Watson, and B. F. Skinner. Utilizes directive therapy.
Cognitive Approach to Abnormality
You are normal if: you're cognitive thought processes are rational and properly functioning and sufficiently used to accurately perceive the world and control behavior. Basically, you're normal if you can think soundly. You ain't right if: you have unrealistic, distorted, or irrational understanding and thoughts about the self, others, or the environment. Also cannot use conscious thought processes to sufficiently dictate actions. Involves semi-directive therapy.
Humanistic Approach to Abnormality
You're normal if: you have a positive self-regard, the ability to self-actualize, healthy interpersonal relationships, and responsibility and control over life. You ain't right if: oh wait, no. Humanists believe that everyone is special and unique and rejects psychological labels, for they view them as "stigmatizing." However, humanists recognize "problems with living" that often result from interpersonal relationships, and undesirable environmental circumstances. Involves non-directive therapy.
Refers to a debate in psychology. This branch, as opposed to idiographic, involves the studying of similarities between individuals and generalization.
Refers to a debate in psychology. This branch, as opposed to nomothetic, recognizes individual differences more and proposes that psychologists/psychiatrists should treat and/or study people with regards to the subject/patient's own background and personality, isolated from the phenomena observed in others.
A definition of abnormality that states that a behavior is abnormal if it is statistically infrequent. Imagine a bell curve. This definition is lacking in that there is subjectivity in defining the degree of infrequency for one to be considered "abnormal." Other criticisms are that some disorders are not statistically infrequent, that infrequency does not designate desirability, and that depending on the sample used for statistical comparison, there may be cultural/regional discrepancies.
Deviation from Social Norms
Social norms can be defined as generally accepted rules governing society. They are established through perception and the formation of social complexes within individuals. Examples include wearing clothes, and not acting "crazy." This definition of abnormality considers one abnormal if they violate these accepted standards. This definition is very subjective. For example, depression may be perceived as normal in certain circumstances.
Failure to Function Adequately
This definition of abnormality is fairly self-explanatory. According to this definition, abnormality results from maladaptive behaviors that may adversely affect the individual.
Deviation from Ideal Mental Health
This definition of abnormality involves the inability to meet a set of characteristics (or an adequate portion of them) that have been deemed typical of a "sane" individual. This definition is often seen as too idealistic.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder
The major diagnostic classification system in psychology.
Beck et al. (1962)
Demonstrated the failure and inconsistency of early diagnostic classification systems. Multiple psychologists diagnosed the same 153 patients, and researchers found that agreement was only 54%.
See core studies for more info. Demonstrated the failures of mental hospitals in actively diagnosing and assessing the state of patients.
Criticizes the classification system. Suggests that labeling people as "abnormal" helps society overcome its anxiety and establish clear norms of reality and appropriate behavior.
A subtype of schizophrenia. Symptoms: incoherent thoughts and speech (crazy talk), bizarre delusions and hallucinations (hearing voices), and inappropriate emotions and behaviors.
A subtype of schizophrenia. Involves switching from states of catatonic stupor (keeping the same position for long periods of time) and negativism (refusing all instructions for seemingly no reason), and states of catatonic excitement (prolonged, frenzied, even violent behavior).
A subtype of schizophrenia. Involves organized and complex delusions (often of persecution), mostly auditory hallucinations (hearing voices), and relatively few other symptoms.
A subtype of schizophrenia. Involves the gradual development of many minor problems, e.g. unusual behavior, social withdrawal, emotional blunting (lack of emotion), and apathy.
A subtype of schizophrenia. Patients with this diagnosis do not fit into the any of the other subtypes of schizophrenia. Therefore, there is much variation between individuals with this diagnosis. This makes standardized study and treatment relatively impossible for individuals with this subtype.
Provided data in support of a genetic cause of schizophrenia. Showed that identical twins (with the same DNA) have higher concordance rates (both twins have the disorder) for schizophrenia than dizygotic/fraternal twins.
A possible explanation for the causes of schizophrenia. Stated that overactivity of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the synapses (regions between neurons) of the brain caused positive symptoms of schizophrenia.
A type of symptom where a behavior or thought is present that should not be there (e.g. hearing voices, disorganized speech).
A type of symptom that are due to the absence of a behavior that should be present (e.g. a catatonic state).
Psychoanalytic Theory of Schizophrenia
Freud proposed this psychological cause of schizophrenia. He suggests that an ego is not developed in schizophrenics and therefore, there is no facilitator for learning through the testing of reality. Symptoms of schizophrenia are representative of the nature of the id and its impulses. Freud believed that schizophrenia was untreatable through psychoanalysis because the patient has no attachment to the outside world.
Labelling Theory of Schizophrenia
A theory about the causes of schizophrenia, adamantly supported by Scheff and Szasz. This theory states that schizophrenia is a social role that is internalized and molded into the symptoms that psychiatrists perceive. Scheff (1966) supports this notion and states the prevalence of self-fulfilling prophecies with schizophrenia diagnoses. Szasz adopts a more radical version of this theory, for he states that schizophrenia is a societal myth.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Type of psychotherapeutic treatment that helps patients understand the thoughts and feelings that influence behaviors. This is commonly used to treat a wide range of disorders including phobias, addictions, depression and anxiety. Developed through a synthesis of behavioral therapy (Thorndike) and cognitive therapy (Beck and Ellis).
Cognitive Theory of Schizophrenia
A complex explanation for the causes of schizophrenia. Centers around mental and perceptual defects that are assumed as the causes of symptoms such as thought-insertion and auditory hallucinations (hearing voices). These defects represent a failure to monitor one's own cognitive process, and a failure of the brain to integrate sensory information. The defects then lead to undesirable life experiences which compound the symptoms of the disorder.
Provided support for the cognitive theory of schizophrenia. Proposed that impairment of an "attentional filter mechanism" (a mental device for processing sensory information) could cause the thought-disturbance (crazy thinking) of schizophrenia. Other studies have supported the fact that schizophrenics possess attentional deficits.
A mood disorder. One of the most common psychopathologies. Can exhibit 4 types of symptoms: cognitive, emotional, motivational, and somatic. Emotional symptoms include intense feelings of sadness or guilt along with lack of pleasure. Motivational symptoms include passivity and difficulty in making decisions. Cognitive symptoms: pessimism, faulty attribution of blame, and low self esteem. Somatic symptoms: loss of energy, disturbance of appetite, weight, and sleep. Around a 5% lifetime risk of developing the disorder.
Bipolar (Manic) Depression
A mood disorder. Involves the symptoms of depression followed by periods of mania (a distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood, lasting at least a week). Around a 1% lifetime risk for developing this disorder.
A disorder that involves periods of mania without corresponding periods of depression. The symptoms must last at least a week and must be severe enough to interfere with normal functioning.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
A classification given to someone that suffers a mood disorder that systematically varies with seasonal changes.
Neurochemical Theory of Depression
A popular theory for the explanation of depression is the lack of the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin. These are involved in emotional areas of the brain. The theory is evidenced by effectiveness of anti-depressant drugs (which increase their activity) and the drug reserpine, which causes depression.
Seligman and Maier (1967)
Supported the learning theory of mood disorders. Found that dogs repeatedly subjected to unavoidable punishment would no longer initiate any action to avoid electric shock when it was made possible to do so. Stressed the prevalence of learned helplessness in the cycle of depression.
Seligman's Cognitive Theory of Depression
An explanation of depression. Suggests that people become depressed when they achieve learned helplessness. States that learned helplessness makes depressives see causes as internal, situations as stable, and failure as global.
Beck's Cognitive Theory of Depression
An explanation of depression. Proposed a cognitive triad of negative thoughts (about the self, present experience, and the future). Examines the patient's errors of logic.
Freudian Theory of Depression
An explanation of depression. States that patients turn their inherent aggressive drive and anger unconsciously upon themselves, and are therefore punishing themselves.
An irrational fear, sometimes referred to as abnormal avoidance.
Fear of crowds and open spaces. Most common phobia and most prevalent among women in early adulthood. Shown to have a genetic transmission.
Fear of doing something humiliating.
The 3 Categories of Specific Phobias
(1) animals, (2) inanimate objects, (3) illness
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
An anxiety disorder. It is a psychotic disorder, rather than neurotic. Involves recurrent and persistent thoughts that are anxiety provoking. These thoughts are recognized as excessive or unreasonable and are attempted to be suppressed. These thoughts often cause repetitive rule following behaviors to reduce distress.
An anxiety disorder. Involves (according to the DSM-IV) a discrete period of intense fear or discomfort, with somatic symptoms such as sweating, trembling, palpitations, etc. and emotional symptoms such as derealization, depersonalization, etc. Shown to have a genetic transmission.
Seligman's Theory of Phobias
An explanation for phobias that centers around evolution and "biological preparedness." In other words, this theory states that certain phobias are intended to help us survive. This is evidenced through the survival functions of common phobias (like snakes, spiders, heights, etc.) and through conditioning experiments.
Watson & Rayner (1920)
Provides an explanation for phobias through learning theory. Through the study of "Little Albert," it was determined that phobias are a conditioned response to an originally neutral stimulus that had been associated with a traumatic experience.
Also provides an explanation for phobias centered around learning theory. Proposed a "two-factor" theory that explained the causes and persistence of phobias. This theory states that phobias are acquired through classical conditioning and maintained through negative reinforcement.
Provides a cognitive explanation for panic attacks. Blames faulty cognitive processes. Patients are likely to misinterpret bodily sensations (e.g. increased heart rate) as catastrophic, causing panic and anxiety.
DiNardo et al. (1988)
Provides a cognitive explanation for phobias. Assumes that anxiety is linked to being more likely to notice negative stimuli and to believe that negative events are more likely to occur in the future (i.e. pessimism). Showed that some people who have had a traumatic experience with a dog, did not develop a dog phobia, whereas others did develop a phobia. This is because people that developed a phobia focus more on the possible appearance of the fearful situation and become scared.
Supports a genetic explanation for phobias. Found that the fear of blood is 64% more probable among relatives than it is among non-related individuals in the general population.
Proposed a treatment for phobias called systematic desensitization
A treatment for phobias in which the patient is exposed to the anxiety producing stimulus at a low level and once no anxiety is present a stronger version of the anxiety producing stimulus is given. This continues until the individual client no longer feels any anxiety towards the stimulus. There are 3 steps: (1) relaxation techniques, (2) create a hierarchy of anxieties, and (3) forming a mental image of stimulus
A treatment for phobias invented by Stampfl in 1967. It is a type of behavior therapy. It works by exposing the patient to their painful memories, with the goal of reintegrating their repressed emotions with their current awareness. The worst possible situation (as determined by the patient) is physically and continuously presented.
Ost et al. (1989)
Tested the "applied tension" and "applied relaxation" techniques in treating blood phobias. Saw high success rates.
A treatment for phobias developed by Ost et al (1989). It is a coping technique involving learning to tense major muscle groups at the first sign of faintness.
Ost and Westling (1995)
Supports the use of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) in the treatment of anxiety disorders, specifically phobias.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
A treatment for mental disorders that involves applying an electric shock of approximately 100 volts to one side of the brain (unilateral) or both sides (bilateral) to induce a seizure. When the patient recovers, the procedure is forgotten and they sometimes report relief of symptoms.
A treatment for mental disorders that involves the use of biochemical drugs to alleviate symptoms.
A class of drugs that work (supposedly) by controlling the activity of the brain neurotransmitters at the synapse.
A neuroleptic drug that decreases serotonin activity by blocking receptors. Used to treat both positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Proved effective in 50% of those who had demonstrated resistance to previous drugs (such as chlorpromazine). One side effect is a lethal blood condition in around 1% of patients.
Neuroleptic drugs such as imipramine that increase the activity of norepinephrine by blocking its re-uptake, thus making more of it available. Used to treat depression. Provides symptom relief in 75% of patients in about 2 - 3 weeks. Side effects include weight-gain, drowsiness, and constipation.
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOs)
Neuroleptic drugs that increase the activity of norepinephrine by inhibiting the enzyme that breaks down the neurotransmitter. Less effective than tricyclics and SSRIs. Can be lethal if combined with certain foods such as cheese.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
Neuroleptic drugs like Prozac that increase serotonin activity by increasing its amount in the synaptic cleft. Similar effectiveness to tricyclics, but are easier to administer and have less side-effects. Sometimes used in the treatment of OCD.
A substance that has shown to effectively reduce the effects of mania and depression in bipolar (manic) depression. Requires close medical supervision.
Anti-anxiety drugs such as valium that have proved beneficial in treating generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), but not those suffering from panic attacks or OCD.
Maudsley Obsessive Compulsive Inventory (MOCI)
An assessor of OCD behaviors. It is a true/false questionnaire involving 30 statements divided into 4 categories: checking compulsions, washing compulsions, slowness, and doubting.
Cognitive-Behavioral Theory of OCD
Explanation for OCD that proposes that patients appear to use their obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions as a way of suppressing or controlling some underlying anxiety or worry. These thoughts and actions are then negatively reinforced by providing momentary escape from the underlying anxiety.
Biomedical Theory of OCD
An explanation for OCD. Focuses on a circuit connecting the orbitofrontal cortex and the thalamus. This circuit regulates aggression, sexuality, and bodily excretions, and other impulses. When the circuit is activated, impulses are brought to one's attention. OCD is defined by this explanation as a deficiency in this system possibly related to a malfunction in the serotonin system. Evidenced by brain imaging and effectiveness of SSRIs in treatment.
Psychodynamic Theory of OCD
An explanation for OCD. Stresses a suppressed and intense unconscious conflict between the id and the ego. The ego defends itself against id impulses by reaction formation. For example, a desire to be messy is responded to by obsessive cleanliness.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP)
A type of cognitive behavioral therapy for OCD. Involves the presentation and confrontation of anxiety-provoking thoughts in OCD patients. This is followed by conditioning the patient to the anxiety in order to prevent compulsive actions.
Proposed a definition for addictive behaviors that highlighted 6 components: salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, conflict, and relapse. Stressed that these components can be applied to both drug abuse AND activities other than drug abuse.
Types of Addiction
Alcoholism, addiction to: tobacco, opiates, prescription drugs, cocaine, marijuana, amphetamines, hallucinogens, inhalants, PCP, and other substances.
An impulse control disorder that involves compulsive stealing.
An impulse control disorder that involves the compulsive setting of fires.
Intermittent Explosive Disorder
An impulse control disorder that involves compulsive aggressiveness and acts of assault.
An impulse control disorder that involves the habitual borrowing of money and risking it for purposes of windfall/profit.
When the body adapts to a drug to the extent that it shows tolerance and withdrawal.
Occurs when the user feels and behaves as if the substance is necessary for their well-being. This provokes relapse.
Discussed support for a genetic basis of alcoholism. Cited high concordance rates among identical twins as compared with fraternal twins. Also cited the fourfold greater risk of alcoholism in children of alcoholics, even in adopted children.
Aims to eliminate an undesirable behavior by associating that behavior with a stimulus that causes an unpleasant effect, thus conditioning a "phobia" or aversion to the undesirable behavior. Sometimes used in alcoholics.
Meyer and Chesser (1970)
Somewhat supports the use of aversion therapy. Found that their alcoholic patients abstained for at least one year following treatment.
A treatment utilizing operant conditioning that works by positively reinforcing successive approximations to the desired behavior step by step (i.e. giving you stuff each time you show progressively better behavior).
A treatment utilizing operant conditioning. Secondary reinforcers (usually artificial currency) are provided to patients when desirable behavior is shown. The reinforcer can then be exchanged for primary reinforcers at a later time. This treatment often creates dependency.
Allyon and Azrin (1968)
Supports the use of token economies in long-term mental institutions.
Paul and Lentz (1977)
Found token economies more effective than other hospital management methods in the treatment of schizophrenia.
Noted freudian psychologist that stressed the importance of balance. He notably though Freud's idea of schizophrenia too incomplete.
Found that psychoanalytic therapy has lower success rates than other psychotherapies and even spontaneous remission (getting better on your own). Criticized for its inflated (too high) measure of spontaneous remission.
Cognitive Restructuring Therapy
A type of CBT that involves the therapist gently challenging the notions of patients by pointing out errors in logic and letting the client decide whether their thinking is accurate. Developed by Aaron Beck.
Beck et al. (1979)
Supports the use of cognitive restructuring therapy in the treatment of depression. Aimed to correct the cognitive triad of negative thoughts.
Developed rational emotive behavior therapy.
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy
A type of CBT that involves identifying generalized and irrational and false beliefs/assumptions and forcibly persuading the client to change them, often through reality testing, to more rational beliefs. In short, teaching you common sense.
Developed self-instructional training
A type of CBT. Assumes many problems are caused by negative and irrational inner-dialogues (conversations in your head). This therapy identifies these maladaptive inner dialogues and gets the patient to replace them with positive statements through verbal repetition.
Personal Construct Therapy
A type of CBT. The patient's ways of seeing the world are identified and then altered so they become more accurate and functional.
Proposes the ABC model of cognitive abnormality.
A = activating event, or factor that triggers a disorder.
B = intervening belief, or cognition. This causes an emotional effect.
C = emotional consequence
States that gamblers have convinced themselves of a "skill" they possess, whereas they are merely games of chance.
Sensky et al. (2000)
Supports the use of cognitive behavioral therapy on schizophrenics.
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