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Individual Differences

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Individual Differences People who behave in a socially deviant and apparently unintelligible way should be regarded as abnormal because they do not agree with social conventions and don't do what is normally expected in society. The 'deviation from social norms' definition of abnormality determines the mental state of an individual by studying how closely they follow the 'unspoken' rules of society. However, there are a few limitations to this approach. One problem is based on the idea that social norms change over time. What is acceptable in society now, may have been incomprehensible in the past. For example, single women who became pregnant (I.e. out of marriage), were seen as social deviants and some were hospitalised in psychiatric institutions. Nowadays, it is much more common for single women to have children outside of wedlock. The 'statistical infrequency' approach is based on the idea that certain behaviours are statistically rare in the larger population. ...read more.


Most of the learning takes the form of classical conditioning or operant conditioning. Therefore, an appropriate form of treatment involves further conditioning or observational learning which will help to remove the maladaptive behaviours that have been learnt. Put simply, the behaviour can be unlearned. Classical conditioning can be used in aversion therapy and systematic desensitisation. Aversion therapy treats patients by making them associate things that were previously enjoyed with unpleasant responses, causing undesirable behaviour to be discouraged. The treatment does require the co-operation of the patient. One example of this treatment is used with alcoholics. If they are given a drug that makes them feel ill every time they come into contact with alcohol, they will have to avoid the alcohol to prevent their nausea. Systematic desensitisation is a form of counter conditioning that attempts to replace the symptoms of a phobia with a new response that isn't compatible with the fear. ...read more.


Firstly, the Behavioural Model states that all behaviour, both normal and abnormal, is learned. It focuses largely on environmental factors and almost dismisses the role of genetics. According to the Medical Model, one of the four possible causes of mental abnormality is based on genetics and the idea that people will inherit abnormality via the genes of their parents. Another difference, is that the Medical Model tries to find and remove the cause of the symptoms of abnormality, whereas the Behavioural Model focuses entirely on the symptoms which could possibly lead to a development of another disorder because the cause of the initial disorder has not been dealt with. The 'style' of the cause of abnormal behaviour varies between the two models. The Medical Model indicates the cause to be of a physical nature and therefore treatable by medical methods such as surgery or medication/drugs. On the other hand, the Behavioural Model believes the cause to be emotional and treatable by working on the memories, fears etc of the patient. Ruth Prosser 12EOJB Page ...read more.

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