• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss Evolutionary Explanations of Two Mental Disorders

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Discuss Evolutionary Explanations of Two Mental Disorders The Genome lag explanation of Unipolar depression suggests that during the EEA, depression was an adaptive response to the environmental conditions of the time. In other words, depression was a useful survival aid - lower mood was an appropriate response to certain situations. Evidence for this explanation can be seen in research by Buss, Nesse and Williams and kin support/decline. Buss claimed that because of today's society technological advances we are constantly exposed to images of unattainable physical perfection, which can lead to loss of self-esteem and depression. In the EEA humans would have been exposed to very few extremely attractive people. Nesse and Williams suggest that development societies are highly competitive and so create greater stress and opportunities for loss. We are exposed to images of ideal lives and material possessions that can result in feelings of inferiority, dissatisfaction and consequently depression. ...read more.

Middle

For example, the impulse to hide under the bed covers may stem from our evolutionary ancestors hiding in caves, which could increase survival in times of bad weather. A similar theory that depression is adaptive has been proposed by Allen. Human social groups are hierarchical and so conflicts arise over position and authority. According to Allen's rank theory of depression this emotional response is adaptive when the individual has lost because accepting loss and the consequent withdrawal ends the conflict. The loser retreats and so is protected from further injury and the winner has a clear sense of victory. For an evolutionary explanation of depression to have any validity there must be evidence of a genetic base to the disorder and the illness must exist across al cultures. There is evidence of a genetic basis to unipolar depression as shown by twin studies where concordance rates of between 40% and 59% have been found, and adoptive studies which show that depression is common to biological relatives but not adoptive relatives. ...read more.

Conclusion

There is also evidence that a relationship seems to exist between bipolar depression and creativity and/or leadership. Creativity and leadership would be adaptive traits to have in the past as the creative person would be able to find novel solutions to problems and leadership quality may create a harmonious group. Evaluation of evolutionary theories of mental disorders would start with conjecture. Deciding what was dangerous in our evolutionary past is highly speculative. Such explanations are post hoc and do have little scientific basis. This theory is also deterministic and reductionist, as they suggest that the genes control behaviour, which ignores the free will of the individual and also because they focus on one factor only, the gene, when other factors such as emotion, society and behaviour are highly relevant to the aetiology of mental disorders. Evolutionary explanations need to be considered in combination with other explanations. Both biological and psychological factors interact in the aetiology of mental disorders as the compromise position of the diathesis-stress model suggest. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Cognitive Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Cognitive Psychology essays

  1. Memory: Rote Rhearsal and Mental Imagery.

    He called this theory the Working Memory. Information in the working memory is held until sense can be made. For example, when listening to a friend, we must hold information from the beginning of the sentence until the sentence has been completed so that we can make sense of the sentence as a whole.

  2. Memory: Rote Rehearsal and Mental Imagery.

    However it could be that rehearsal may actually be a better technique of memorisation, as some psychological research has found this to be correct. Some psychologists who found rehearsal is better technique for recall are Atkinson and Shiffrin, they found that rehearsal was a better technique for memorisation rather then imagery.

  1. Discuss biological and psychological explanations of depression

    These findings suggest that genetic factors are involved in both types of depression, and that their involvement is greater for bipolar than for major depression. However, it is not known whether the MZ and DZ twin pairs experienced equally similar environments.

  2. Cognitive Explanations of Addiction.

    They finally stated that people who conducted the behaviour had a positive view on a negative occurrence, hence faulty thinking. They said that initiation was a rational choice based on the utility of the drug, after weighing up the positives and negatives.

  1. Explain the Relationship Between Stress and Illness

    Typically, an individual is connected to a machine that gives information about Autonomic Nervous System activity. This might be presented visually (i.e. on a screen) or in auditory form, or both. An example of this is a change of blood pressure which is indicated by a constant sound whose pitch

  2. Memory and Mental Imagery

    This is clearly shown in Bower's experiment of 1972. Subjects were given a set of one hundred word cards with a pair of unrelated nouns, such as 'dog' - 'hat', written on them. The 'imagery' group was asked to form a mental image of the two words interacting with one another.

  1. In this assignment the Author intends to discuss, evaluate and research the reliability and ...

    considerably greater research and has led to many institutions improving their philosophy of care. Rosenhal, like other anti-psychiatrists is arguing that mental illness is a social phenomenon and merely a consequence of labelling although those who suffer from severe mental illness might disagree.

  2. 'Biological explanations of schizophrenia tell us all we need to know about this disorder.(TM)

    who found in a set of quadruplet girls, all four girls developed schizophrenia, and although the age of onset slightly differed, it does offer strength to the idea of a genetic component. A problem presented with genetic evidence is that the concordance rates are not 100% and therefore this data does not exclude environmental input i.e.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work