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Chapter 3 Notes

by: Margaret Bloder

Chapter 3 Notes PSYCH 3830

Margaret Bloder

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These notes cover the biological theories of abnormality including structural, biochemical and genetic theories. These notes cover the psychosocial theories of abnormality including the different p...
Abnormal Psychology
Pam Alley
Class Notes
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This 11 page Class Notes was uploaded by Margaret Bloder on Tuesday January 26, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSYCH 3830 at Clemson University taught by Pam Alley in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 48 views. For similar materials see Abnormal Psychology in Psychlogy at Clemson University.


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Date Created: 01/26/16
Abnormal Psychology: Chapter 3 I. Biological Theories of Abnormality  Structural theories: abnormalities in the structure of the brain cause mental disorders  Biochemical theories: imbalances in neurotransmitters and hormones cause mental disorders  Genetic theories: an accumulation of disordered genes leads to mental disorders Structural theories: location of lesion on brain has an impact on the kind of psychological problem 1) Cerebral cortex (more advanced processes): If this part of the brain is impacted, person may have difficulty reasoning, solving problems, judgment 2) Hypothalamus: plays a role in eating, drinking and sexual behavior. Mediator between nervous system and endocrine system 3) Limbic system (collection of structures closely associated with the hypothalamus): plays a role in stressful situations Biochemical theories: biochemical imbalance can contribute to a psychological disorder  2 communication systems (The nervous system and the endocrine system)  Nervous system: an electrochemical system in the body that enables us to think, feel and behave  Neurotransmitters: neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers of the nervous system Endocrine system: a communication system in the body that is comprised of glands and hormones  Hormones: hormones are the chemical messengers of the endocrine system Nervous System Neurons and Their Messages  Dendrites: fibers that receive information either directly from sensory receptors (eyes, ears, etc.) or receive information from other neurons  Cell Body: receives and stores information from the dendrites  Action Potential: when the information reaches a critical point it fires an electrical impulse  Axon: the electrical impulse travels down the axon  Terminal Fibers (or axonal endings): small swellings at the end of axon, stimulate release of neurotransmitters  synapse  Synapse (synaptic gap): separates 2 neurons, neurotransmitters attach themselves via the synapse to an adjacent neuron  Receptor Site: region on the surface of a cell (receives neurotransmitters) Reuptake and Degradation Reuptake  sending neuron reabsorbs the neurotransmitter originally released into the synapse  decreases the amount of the neurotransmitter in the synapse (potential to attach to receiving neuron) Degradation  receiving neuron sends enzyme into the synapses, breaking down the neurotransmitters  decreases the amount of the neurotransmitter in the synapse (Might end up with too much or too little of a neurotransmitter which results in psychological problems) Neurotransmitter: Serotonin: plays a role in anxiety, depression, regulating aggression Dopamine: plays a role in schizophrenia, alcoholism, addictive disorders, muscle systems Norepinephrine (Noradrenaline): affects mood, part in fight or flight response, moderates stress level GABA: anxiety, inhibiting action of other neurotransmitters Endocrine System HPA Axis: helps manage stressful situations H-Hypothalamus  Intermediary  Functions at the end of nervous/endocrine P-Pituitary Gland  Master gland of endocrine system  Produces greatest number of different hormones  Affects other parts of the body A-Adrenal Gland  Hormones active in arousal and sleep and ability to deal with stressful situations *In response to stress the hypothalamus secretes a hormone  which stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete a hormone  which induces the adrenal gland to secrete a hormone called cortisol *In the short term, cortisol production is highly adaptive and mobilizes the body to deal with stress. In the long term, excess cortisol may result in symptoms of anxiety and depression Genetic theories: an accumulation of disordered genes leads to mental disorders  Genetics: the study of inheritability of a disorder  Polygenic process: combination of many faulty genetic abnormalities that all come together in the individuals  Genetic predisposition in kids of parents who have a certain disorder are more likely to develop the disorder Family History (or Pedigree) Studies: studying people who have or are related to the disorder  A family history (or pedigree) study is a genetic research strategy that examines the likelihood of a disorder in relatives of the probands (people who clearly have the disorder)  If there is a genetic component to the disorder, the risk of inheriting the genes for a disorder will increase as the relationship between an individual and the relatives with the disorder become closer Twin Studies 1) Monozygotic Twins: same egg and sperm, identical (almost exactly the same genetic makeup 2) Dizygotic Twins: fraternal (different egg and sperm)  Twin study: genetic research strategy that uses monozygotic (identical) and dizygotic (fraternal) twins to determine the genetic influence on a disorder. More likely that identical twins develop the same disorder because they have the same genetic makeup  Concordance rate: the probability that both twins have a disorder if one twin has the disorder  There are relatively high concordance rates for identical twins in some common and severe forms of psychopathology. These concordance rates are particularly meaningful when they differ from those found for dizygotic twins (No psychological disorder that is purely genetic) Adoption Studies If there is a genetic influence, one expects to find a higher concordance rate between the biological mother and the child for the disorder than between the adoptive mother and the child Schizophrenia: a psychotic disorder marked by a loss of contact with reality and by symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations  Delusion: an erroneous belief that is fixed and firmly held despite clear contradictory evidence (ex: feel like they are being followed by secret service)  Hallucination: a sensory experience that occurs in the absence of any external perceptual stimulus (ex: hear voices, see things that don’t exist) Casual Factors of Schizophrenia  Most researches believes that schizophrenia is caused by an interaction between genetic and environmental factors  Strong genetic component Your chances of developing schizophrenia are: 1/100 if you are a member of a random group of 100 people 1/10 if you have an afflicted first degree biologic relative (parent or sibling) ½ if you have an afflicted monozygotic (identical) twin *Possible environment factors include prenatal viral factors, early nutritional deficiency, and birth complications II. Psychosocial Theories of Abnormality: focuses on the maladaptive thoughts, feelings and perceptions that individuals have and how they both influence and are influenced by the individual’s experiences with family members, peers, and other individuals and situations A. Psychoanalytic perspective (Freud) Tried to tap into the unconscious; According to Freud, the mind functions at 3 distinct levels, each of which contains our thoughts, feelings, perceptions, impulses, and other aspects of mental life. The difference between the conscious, preconscious, and unconscious is our level of awareness of the information they each contain.  Unconscious: not readily accessible  Preconscious: not part of our current awareness but can be readily brought to mind  Conscious: currently present in our awareness Dream Analysis: convince patients to write down their dreams right when they wake up and discuss them and try to find meaning behind them Structure of Personality and Abnormality  Id (pleasure principle): reservoir of unconscious psychic energy, wants what it wants and wants it right away, need to survive, reproduce and be aggressive  Superego: moral and ethical behavior  Ego (reality principle): the mediator, wants to maximize long term pleasure and minimize long term pain Freud’s Psychosexual Stages  Oral (birth-18 months): babies bite, chew, and suck everything  Anal (18-36 months): focus is on bowel and bladder elimination, trying to control physiological functions (ex: potty training)  Phallic (3-6 years): Focus on genital regions; feelings toward parent of opposite sex -Oedipus complex: little boy has feelings towards his mom -Electra complex: little girl has feelings towards her dad -In order to repress these feelings they identify with the same sex parents  Latency (6-puberty): “calm before the storm”, personality is pretty much fixed  Genital (puberty on): sexual feelings toward others, resolved by getting married and raising a family *According to Freud, abnormal behavior may develop if an individual becomes fixated, that is, stuck at one of the earlier stages of psychosexual development Freud’s Defense Mechanisms: tactics used to protect the person from unpleasant emotions such as anxiety and guilt  Repression: keeping unpleasant memories out of conscious awareness  Projection: placing one’s unpleasant impulses or feelings onto others  Reaction Formation: unknowingly acting the opposite of one’s true feelings  Displacement: venting one’s anger on a source that is less threatening than the actual cause of the anger  Sublimation: transforming unacceptable impulses into more socially valued activities *Can be helpful and adaptive when used sparingly, but when they become the primary way of responding to problems, they can be maladaptive B. Behavioral Perspective (learning theory) Focuses on what we can directly observe and measure; underlying assumption: have the ability to learn from experiences 1. Classical Conditioning (Pavlov)  UCS: a stimulus that naturally and automatically triggers a response without conditioning  UCR: an unlearned, automatic response to the UCS  N: a stimulus that does not naturally and automatically trigger the UCR  CS: an originally neutral stimulus that, after association with a UCS, comes to trigger a CR  CR: a learned response to a CS Pavlov’s Classic Experiment Before Conditioning: UCS (food)  UCR (salivation) N (tone)  No response (no salivation) During Conditioning: N (tone) + UCS (food)  UCR (salivation) After Conditioning: CS (tone)  CR (salivation) *The dog learned through experience and eventually salivated at the tone, without the food being there 2. Instrumental/Operant Conditioning: (Skinner) Reinforcement: Any event that strengthens or increases the response that it follows  Positive reinforcement: a pleasant stimulus that strengthens or increases the response that it follows (intended to increase the likelihood of that behavior)  Negative reinforcement: the termination of an aversive (unpleasant) stimulus that strengthens or increases the response that it follows  Primary reinforcement: an innately reinforcing stimulus (satisfying a basic need without having to be learned) that strengthens or increases the response that it follows  Secondary reinforcement: a conditioned stimulus (which gets its power through association with primary reinforcement) that strengthens or increases the response that it follow Positive Negative Primary Ex: food (satisfies a Ex: terminating basic need) shocking (has to do with one’s overall survival) Secondary Ex: money, getting a Ex: stop nagging good grade somebody Punishment: any consequence that decreases or weakens the recurrence of the behavior it follows Disadvantages of punishment:  Increases the chance of lying  Makes people angry  Tends to make people afraid of the punisher Guidelines:  Punishment always followed by an explanation  Consistency  Relationship that exist between the individuals  Timing-sooner is better than later 3. Observational learning: (Bandura) Learn by observing and imitating others (modeling)  Prosocial behavior  Antisocial behavior (ex: little Johnny’s dad always smokes cigarettes around Johnny as he was growing up) Summary of the 3 learning processes 1) Classical Conditioning (Pavlov): learn by pairing initially neutral stimulus with unconditioned stimulus 2) Operant Conditioning (Skinner): learn by reinforcement 3) Observational Learning (Bandura): learn by observation alone C. Cognitive Perspective (Beck) The way we think about ourselves and out world is central to psychological problems.  Schemas: a way of looking at the world that organizes all our past experiences and provides us with a way to understand future experiences  Maladaptive schemas: distorted and inaccurate ways of thinking about the world and about ourselves. o Assimilation: when we simply incorporate new experiences into existing maladaptive schemas, we maintain our distortions in thinking o Accommodation: when we adjust our maladaptive schemas to include the parameters of new experiences, we have the opportunity to correct our distortions in thinking *Adverse early learning experiences  Maladaptive schemas  Psychological disorders Attribution Theory: cognitive approach that assigns causes to events that occur o Internal attributional style: “I failed the test because I am stupid” o External attributional style: “I only did well on the test because it was easy” *Attribution theorists would argue that depressed people tend to attribute bad events to internal causes and good events to external causes D. Humanistic Perspective Humanistic Theory  Main emphasis is that people are responsible for their own successes and failures  Focuses on the present, not the past  Peak experiences: spiritual and ecstatic experiences Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs o Self-Actualization (self-realization): need to be the best possible person you can be; reach your full potential o Esteem: need to feel competent and independent; need to receive recognition from others for your achievements o Belongingness and Love: need to feel love and acceptance; need to feel connected to others o Safety: need to feel secure and safe in your environment o Physiological: need to fill basic survival needs such as hunger *Start at the bottom and work your way up E. Psychosocial causal factors 1. Early deprivations or trauma A. Institutionalization: increases the likelihood of having a psychological problem -Spitz did a study and looked at 3 groups of children  Group 1: home for delinquent young mothers (1 or 2 mothers take care of baby)  Group 2: children in an orphanage (multiple caretakers)  Group 3: controlled group; grew up in own home by parents (mom usually takes care of baby) -Spitz saw that the children from group 2 were smaller in height and weight, more likely to get sick, showed impairment in intellectual ability as they got older, more likely to develop a disorder -He argues that it is because of the frequent change in caretakers B. Neglect and Abuse in the Home: physical, emotional, sexual, neglect  In the 1980’s about 2 million experienced this  today it’s about 3 million  90% of abuse occurs at home  Kempe: coined the term battered child syndrome, children showing up at his practice with physical problems Misconceptions  Child abuse is rare and confined to poor and disadvantaged groups  All abusive parents are psychotic, criminal, or retarted (referred to as the psychiatric model of child abuse) Characteristics of Abusive Parents Experience abuse during their own childhood Have negative perception of the abused child (ex: birth defects) Experience stress and crisis in their own lives (ex: loss of job, divorce) Lack support network of family and friends Effects of Abuse on Children Short-term: more likely themselves to be aggressive, wide array of behavioral problems Long-term: more likely to be aggressive as adults (abuse their spouse and/or children) 2. Inadequate Parenting Styles A. Baumrind’s Parenting Styles  Authoritarian: imposes strict rules, expect absolute obedience, use harsh punishment  Permissive: submit to child’s desires, make few demands, use little punishments  Authoritative: exert control by establishing rules and consistently enforcing them, explain reasons for the rules, encourage open discussion  Rejecting/Neglecting: disengaged, expect little and invest little *Studies have found that children with the highest self-esteem, most self-reliance, and greatest sense of control over their own lives tend to have warm, concerned, authoritative parents 3. Divorce  Children who live in divorced families are more likely to have social, academic and behavioral problems than children in intact families  Adult children of divorced families are somewhat more likely to experience social, emotional or psychological problems than adult children of intact families (more likely to be in lower socioeconomic group, more likely for their own marriage to end in divorce)  Boys who live in stepfamilies are more likely to accept a stepfather and benefit from his presence than girls in stepfamilies Sociocultural Causal Factors: each of these five sociocultural factors results in the increased experience of stress and may contribute to the development of psychopathology  Lower socioeconomic status  Unemployment  Social change and uncertainty  Violence  Homelessness (1/3 of homeless individuals experience a disorder) *These factors are not mutually exclusive, they usually overlap and it’s a 2 way street. These factors can contribute to psychopathology as well as if you have a psychological disorder, these factors may occur to you


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