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How can we explain abnormality?

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Annabelle Dunford S12 Psychology How can we explain abnormality? A number of approaches are needed when trying to explain abnormality, as a simple definition saying that you deviate from what is socially acceptable or ?normal? is not enough to fully diagnose a person with it. It is also the failure to function adequately and a deviation from the desirable mental health state. Therefore, drawing the line to what is regarded ?normal? or ?abnormal? behaviour is not an easy task as it needs different views on how to say when a type of behaviour is going against whole societies shared values. There are four main approaches used when trying to understand the cause for abnormality. The first is the biological (medical) model, and the others are what Freud was the first to suggest, that psychological factors which includes the cognitive, the psychodynamic and the behavioural models were the cause to abnormal behaviour. The biological model of abnormality assumes that mental disorders should be treated with medication as they are regarded as physical illnesses which have come from physical problems. ...read more.


Is Daisy abnormal? Bella rarely talks to anyone because she has always found being with people and having to communicate with them very difficult. Is Bella abnormal? Case four: Raphael becomes aware of his loud heart beat and must grip the handle of his tennis racket very tightly when about to receive serve. Is Raphael abnormal? This is quite a common reaction and I would mostly associate this with the behavioural model as Raphael is becoming anxious and has developed a fear from the association of knowing the importance of receiving serve. This looks like classical conditioning as Raphael is not aware of his loud heart beat on just one serve, but on all he feels the need to grip the tennis rackets handle, so his response is generalised to other similar situations. Operant conditioning also comes into play here as if he misses the serve, his behaviour would result in him feeling let down and negative. Evaluation: evaluate the extent to which you agree with their perspective on abnormality and come to a personal conclusion. ...read more.


The behavioural approach: this approach claims that all behaviour, including abnormal behaviour, is learned. It?s believed that old behaviours can be ?unlearned? ? treatment of abnormal behaviour is based on this. This suggests that we are born with a ?blank canvas? and that any abnormal behaviour learnt is the consequence of the behaviour learned from the environment around us. This happens in three ways, through classical conditioning, social learning/ imitation and operant conditioning. The cognitive approach: this approach puts abnormality down to irrational and negative thoughts. So, as you can probably guess, treatment focuses on changing the way a person thinks about things. 1. Deviation from social norms ? limitations = changes with time; who decides on the norm, role of context, culturally specific. 2. Failure to function adequately ? limitations = who decides on what is adequate; distinction between maladaptive and abnormal 3. Deviation from ideal mental health ? limitations = difficult to achieve many of the criteria; culturally specific e.g. personal autonomy. ...read more.

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